Ivy League bound student ranks Harvard acceptance among his accomplisments


Many students aspire to achieve their goals during this four-year experience we call high school. Standing valedictorian, senior Jeffery “JJ” Andrade, has recently reached what he claims to be his biggest accomplishment, acceptance into Harvard University.

Andrade has worked towards achieving this goal since freshman year.

“I took the most difficult classes I could.” He continues, “But then I realized that it’s not just [taking difficult courses] that gets you in, you have to have something that really sets you apart.

He explains, “I started doing research at the biotechnology lab at ASU, working on a sensor that detects pressure.”

Honors and AP Physics teacher Andrea Strock comments on Andrade’s ambition.

“I’m very impressed by his intellect and his drive to learn even more even though it seems like he already knows so much.”

Andrade has since been working on an aquaponics system with his good friend and co-valedictorian Austin Garrett. “It’s a system that uses fish and recycled water to produce food,” Andrade explains.

Apart from being accepted into his ideal university, Andrade values this experience.

“Making the aquaponic system is probably one of [my greatest accomplishments],” states Andrade. He continues, “That took a lot of revised planning for when we realized we made mistakes.” Beyond this and his academic endeavors, Andrade takes pride in his title of black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Andrade‘s has had a long-time desire to attend Harvard.

“I’ve always wanted to go to a really prestigious school,” he says, “but it wasn’t until Junior year, which is when I went to Boston and I toured Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), that I really decided that Harvard was definitely the school I wanted to go to.”

While on the university campus, Andrade was intrigued by the many historical figures, including many of our Founding Fathers, who studied at Harvard. Another aspect that set Harvard apart from MIT for Andrade is the teaching environment.

Strock comments on Andrade’s achievement, “I think [his Harvard acceptance] is huge, and I’m not surprised; I think he deserves it.” Strock says, “I hope he chooses to go there because I think that he’s going to benefit from it, and so is Harvard.”

Andrade will be able to look back on his days as co-valedictorian at Perry High School while graduating with the number one ranking in the class of 2015.

Garrett comments on his opportunity to share the position of valedictorian with his good friend.

He says, “We both thought that it didn’t seem like a very fair thing to have one of us be on top while the other is not. There just doesn’t seem to be a real reason for giving one person an award over the other.”