Celia Jenkins: Class of 2022 Valedictorian


Sarah Bouvier

Jenkins works diligently on school work during a study. Jenkins dedicated so much time to meticulously complete her assignments throughout her high school career. “I would spend hours and hours doing everything with full effort and concentration, and I would dedicate days to studying,” Jenkins said.

On February 3, Celia Jenkins was startled in her last-period psychology class when Mr. Hamilton answered the classroom phone and promptly asked her to go to the main office. Jenkins had never been called to the office during class before and began wondering why as she made her way down the main hallway.

Upon entering Principal Bishop’s office, Jenkins asked, “Did I do something wrong?”

She couldn’t have been farther off. It was at that moment Principal Bishop informed her that she was the Class of 2022 valedictorian.

Jenkins earned the title as a result of her academic performance throughout her four years of high school, where she earned the highest grade point average.

Jenkins ties her academic success to her perfectionism. Throughout high school, she has held herself to a high standard and committed herself to her studies.

“In the hybrid year especially, I would spend days and nights excessively studying and spend hours doing all of my assignments with full effort and concentration,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins has been proud to see her hard work reflected in her grades and school, although she hopes to spend a little less time worrying about grades in college.

Jenkins has accomplished so much more in her time at the high school than outstanding grades. Although school was a priority, she was sure to keep herself involved in many activities outside of school.

Photo: Celia Jenkins Trombone
Celia poses with her trombone at the annual MICCA competition. She began playing the trombone in the fifth grade. “Music has been a big part of my life for so long and I have made sure that I consistently give it the time it deserves,” she said. 

“I try to stay pretty well-rounded and keep myself busy. There are things that I am really interested in, like music, that I make sure I leave time for myself to do,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins has been an avid member of the school’s music program since fifth grade. She plays trombone in the concert band, as well as the jazz ensemble.

“Not only is Celia a kind and inquisitive leader, but she is a talented musician. I am so grateful for students like her who have kept the music program alive when there were so many uncertainties with COVID,” band teacher Craig Hay said.

Along with her involvement in band, Jenkins is President of the STEM Club, a volunteer at a warming shelter, an intern at the middle school, and works at Muffin House.

Photo: Celia Jenkins Friends
Jenkins poses with friends on the first day of their senior year. Family and friends always came first throughout her academic journey. “Even when I had to juggle school with my activities and volunteering, I always prioritized my loved ones,” Jenkins said. 

Jenkins has worked to find a balance between her schoolwork, activities, and volunteer work, but often finds that school has to come first because it is so demanding. Most of all, however, Jenkins always puts her friends and family first.

“Celia is family to me. She is a witty, hilarious person that anyone would be lucky to know. She will always stand up for and take care of the people she loves no matter what,” friend Fiona Medeiros said.

Medeiros has known Jenkins since fourth grade and has watched Celia grow as an accomplished and motivated student and person.

Even with her academic success, Jenkins was not expecting to receive the title of valedictorian. It was only within the past year that it occurred to her that she may be in the running for the honor.

“I was freaked out when my psychology teacher, Mr. Hamilton, told me to go to the office. When I got there, I actually asked Mr. Bishop if I did something wrong,” Jenkins recalled.

Although she was initially surprised and confused, Jenkins was excited to share the news of her achievement with her friends and family, but most especially, her teachers. One of the teachers she went to was her AP Calculus BC teacher Mike Greco.

“I was initially surprised to hear that Celia was valedictorian, but upon thinking about her as a student, it makes perfect sense. If she works in her other classes the same way she works in mine it’s not a surprise at all. She’s earned it,” Greco said.

Jenkins has known Mr. Greco for only her senior year, but he quickly recognized her smart wit and strengths as both a student and person.

“Not only is Celia incredibly bright, but she works hard to get the most out of every assignment. Most of all, she is humble, kind, and unassuming,” Greco said.

Although grades are the only factor in who receives the title, there is a common trend in valedictorians that continues with Jenkins.

“While every student is unique, I think the common thread between valedictorians is their incredible work ethic, commitment to their studies, and willingness to go above and beyond,” Principal Bishop said.

Bishop is confident that Jenkins is deserving of the title of valedictorian. In his experiences with her, he has found her to be a tremendous student and an even better person. He hopes that she can recognize the significance of her achievement.

“I feel being named valedictorian is a great honor, especially at a high-performing school like HHS. It is a recognition of 4 years of outstanding performance in the classroom,” Principal Bishop said.

While Jenkins recognizes the magnitude of the honor and is proud of her achievement, she admits it is something she puts into some perspective. Although she sees the title as a representation of her academic journey, she does not believe it does the same for others.

“I think the way we learn and education doesn’t work for everyone equally. I was lucky enough to be able to focus so much on school this whole time. So, it doesn’t really define my abilities compared to others’ in my eyes,” Jenkins said.

Photo: Fiona Medeiros and Celia Jenkins
Jenkins (left), and Medeiros (right), hug and smile on Senior Halloween. They met over eight years ago and have been inseparable since. “I have complete confidence in Celia. She always finds a way to succeed and I am so proud of her,” Medeiros said. 

With the title of valedictorian, Jenkins has the opportunity to give a speech at her class’s graduation this June.

“I am slightly scared to give a speech. I don’t really have any experience with public speaking, and I want to make sure that my speech is perfect! I hope that people will like it and feel connected to what I say,” Jenkins said.

Although she is nervous about her public speaking abilities, many are confident that she will represent her class well at the ceremony.

“Celia is both an amazing leader and humble. She is great at taking initiative and inspiring those around her to work hard and be proud of their accomplishments. Whatever speech she gives will be amazing,” Medeiros said.

Although she is still deciding where she will attend college next year, Jenkins intends to study math, with a possible double major in education or social work.

If she continues to demonstrate the ability that helped her become valedictorian, her grit and determination will have great success in her future pursuits, whatever they may be.