By Andy Lawell
For many students, a 4.0 GPA is the absolute peak of academic performance or the pinnacle of a person’s abilities as a scholar. Eric Lujan, senior, went the extra mile for this achievement. He has a GPA of 4.8 unweighted and will be graduating as valedictorian.
“There’s not really a big secret or anything,” Lujan said. “I guess the thing is to not let yourself get overwhelmed. Keep your head above water, use graduation as a motivation.”
Lujan has been taking high-level classes his entire high school career, starting with Chemistry Honors as a freshman and taking AP Chemistry as a sophomore.
“I’m passionate about what I do,” Lujan said.
After high school, Lujan wishes to continue growing academically.
“I am enrolled in MIT, which is a big technical university. I’m very excited because MIT is one of the best schools in the country, if not the world, for the field I want to pursue,” said Lujan.
Lujan mentioned he is lucky because MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is very prestigious with a 7.7% acceptance rate.
“I want to go into the field of computer science and electrical engineering. When I was younger, I enjoyed building things and writing programs and seeing how they worked. One day, I guess I realized I could turn this hobby into a job and actually help people with tools or apps I make,” Lujan said.
While his grade point average is impressive, Lujan is also involved in the community. He is currently captain of the Varsity Quiz team, captain of the Science Bowl, president of Mu Alpha Theta, and is very active in Leo Club. In addition, Lujan is an eagle scout, a first year guitar student, and has two jobs: private tutor and IT systems administrator.
“I like being involved. All the stuff I do is kinda fun. I take joy in doing it,” Lujan said.
Lujan was awarded the Harvey Dondero scholarship, a $1,000 grant for his achievements and essay application in Varsity Quiz.
While many students might have trouble maintaining a passing grade with so many academic responsibilities, Lujan manages to excel, due in part to the unique way he manages his work.
“I typically have a lot of homework because I’m taking four AP classes right now, and they can get kind of work-intensive. I’m definitely in the ‘do it at school’ crowd, but I like to get ahead, too. I’m actually prone to procrastination, so I like to do what I can at school in my classes and at lunch to try to counteract that. Plus, getting things done ahead of time, particularly big projects not due for a while, seriously reduces my stress and makes it seem like I have less work than I actually do,” Lujan said.
Despite all of his academic obligations and extracurricular activities, Lujan finds time to entertain himself with things unrelated to school. He particularly enjoys finding and completing tutorials on things he knows nothing about because he enjoys being a beginner and having things taught to him. Currently, Lujan is a beginning guitar student and is looking to begin learning a language in his free time.
“Valedictorians and students with crazy high GPAs are really not that different from other students,” Lujan said. “We get stressed out about tests and homework, too. We’re people, we’re not magical school robots that have everything figured out for ourselves. We still miss assignments and get confused, and we don’t spend all of our time doing only school stuff, either. We just like to be involved.”