One on One with…Lake Region’s Class of 2017 Top 3

Valedictorian Heidi Fox

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

When looking for a word or words to describe the three highest scoring students in the Class of 2017 at Lake Region High School — Heidi Fox, Meghan Boos and Douglas Mayo — one could easily choose: intelligent, hard-working, determined or focused.

Yet, one word seems to define each one — perseverance.

Heidi conquered the challenges posed by a rare medical condition to become class valedictorian.

Meghan discovered the need for balance in one’s life, as well as overcoming shyness to be able to ask important questions.

Douglas set a strong example among the male population at his school that succeeding academically can be had while striving to shine athletically.

The News recently posed the following questions to Lake Region’s Class of 2017 Top 3:

BN. People often wonder, how does a student become the tops in their class? What has it taken for you to achieve this incredible honor?

Heidi: I have taken advanced classes since freshman year and have always stayed on top of my work. I always try to get my work done ahead of time so I can revise it before I pass it in.

Meghan: For the first three years of high school, I spent every free moment that I wasn’t playing sports doing homework. I’ve gotten where I am today by putting school above almost everything in my life.

Douglas: I was motivated to do well, so I always made sure school was my top priority.

Salutatorian Meghan Boos

BN. Young people often have a difficult time balancing schoolwork and other things such as sports, music and social events. How were you able to be involved yet also maintain such high marks?

Heidi: I make sure to use every possible moment of free time I have during the school day to get my work done so I have time for my after-school activities.

Meghan: I was able to stay involved, while keeping my grades up by time managing and getting my work done before any big events I had.

Douglas: I focused on one thing at a time. When it was time for sports, it was time for sports. When it was time for schoolwork, it was time for schoolwork. I did what it took in order to make sure my schoolwork was done, even if it meant staying up late or going to school early to get the work done.

BN. What advice would you give incoming freshmen in regards to finding a good balance?

Heidi: I have taken advanced classes since freshman year and have always stayed on top of my work. I always try to get my work done ahead of time so I can revise it before I pass it in.

Meghan: I would tell them to make sure they join sports and other clubs, but to make sure you take the time to do your homework and study before practices, and during any study halls you might have.

Douglas: Be involved and keep busy because it keeps you focused and forces you to manage your time well.

BN. Speaking of freshmen, what were your goals as you entered high school; how did you make it happen; and any regrets?

Heidi: When I entered the school as a freshman, my goal was to make honor roll every semester. It has always been a goal of mine to be valedictorian of my class!

Meghan: My goals were to keep high honors all throughout high school. I kept this up until junior year when my classes started to get more difficult. My only regret was stressing so much about grades when I could have relaxed a little more and spent time with friends.

Honor Essayist Douglas Mayo

Douglas: My goal was to take advantage of as many opportunities as I could and do well academically. To make this happen, I didn’t worry what other people were doing. If I wanted to get involved in something, I just went and did it.

BN. We live in such a changing world. What were the three biggest changes you experienced over your high school days and what impact did they have on you?

Heidi: One of the biggest changes I faced in high school was the amount of work. In middle school, there was virtually no homework and getting to high school that quickly changed. Another change in high school is that classes are longer, and you have to adapt to the longer periods.

Meghan: My friend group, priorities and future goals all changed throughout high school. As I started to realize that school shouldn’t always be my number one priority, many things changed, all for the better. I was less stressed and spent more time focusing on friends and sports. I also realized that I wanted to go into mechanical engineering instead of biomedical engineering.

Douglas: First, there are more and more online expectations. Students have to access assignments and grades online and are expected to be more independent because of it. Second, there are also a number of online opportunities for students. For example, I was able to earn dual credit by taking online college classes that also counted for high school credit. The final change was that my class was on the cusp of proficiency-based learning and grading and because it is new, we had to adjust to the trial and error of the implementation of a new education system, part way through our high school experience.

BN. What were three most difficult things you had to overcome during your high school days?

Heidi: When I was a freshman, I had to wear a back brace for the 17 hours I wasn’t in school every day. This definitely was a challenge and could make sitting down to do homework for extended periods of time difficult. Another challenge I faced is that I have a neurological condition called Chiari Malformation, which makes it so I cannot participate in any sports involving running or jumping without getting severe headaches. This greatly limited the activities I was able to be involved in during high school. Another effect of my condition is that it limits the amount of time I can hold focus, which meant that I had to work extra hard to keep myself in line and plan out how much work I could manage at once.

Meghan: The three most difficult things I had to overcome during my high school days were time management of schoolwork, learning to make time for friends, and learning to ask questions in class.

Douglas: Having speeches be such a large focus in many classes, overcoming the stigma of being the only boy near the top of my class, and managing my time between athletics and academics.

BN. What were the three things you were most proud of?

Heidi: I am proud of becoming valedictorian. I know I didn’t take the easy way out and with my condition I had to work extra hard to get here. I am also proud of holding office in both Student Council and National Honor Society.  The third thing I am proud of is keeping the same group of friends throughout my years at this school.

Meghan: The three things I am most proud of are making states in track, keeping honors throughout high school, and taking multiple college classes while still in high school.

Douglas: Being in the Top 10 of my class, being on the 2016 state championship basketball team, and being involved in my school.

BN. What three things would you change at Lake Region High School, and why?

Heidi: I would change how the students treat each other. There is a lack of respect among students. I would also like to see students held accountable academically. I think the school should have a stricter policy regarding cheating. Lastly, I think the school could do more to accommodate people with disabilities because there are times when students with disabilities cannot participate in certain activities and the alternatives provided are usually just to watch the other students do what they can’t.

Meghan: Three things I would change or improve at LRHS would be offering more honors/AP classes, making extra help be more readily accessible, and showing the process of applying to college better.

Douglas: Recognize accomplishment more often because it is important to emphasize success. Have a greater number options for honors English and Social Studies classes. Have more students appreciate the opportunities they are given at Lake Region.

BN. What was the greatest lesson you learned during your high school days, and how will it help you in the future?

Heidi: The greatest lesson I learned at Lake Region High School is to always persevere. Whether it is retaking a test or revising an essay, the best thing you can do is to put your best effort into making your work the best it possibly can. This will be very important for me to remember as I enter college and beyond.

Meghan: The greatest lesson I have learned is to not be shy and to ask questions. The teachers are there to help you so take advantage of it when you can.

Douglas: It is importing to keep working even when things are hard and to push yourself to do more than the minimum. I plan to major in mechanical engineering and I know it is going to be hard. I hope that by learning this I have prepared myself to be successful in this program of study.

BN. Speaking of the future, what is next for you? Where are you headed; have you decided on a career path, and if so, what lead you in this direction?

Heidi: I will be attending the University of New England majoring in Medical Biology and I hope to minor in Women & Gender Studies. In eighth grade when I was diagnosed with Chiari and had surgery, I was exposed to many areas of the medical field. I love working with kids so I believe pediatrics is a great fit for me. This past semester, I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to job shadow at Bridgton Pediatrics once a week, which has also helped lead me to this path.

Meghan: I am attending the University of Maine and majoring in mechanical engineering. I have always loved math and science so this was the perfect fit for me.

Douglas: I have decided to go to the University of Maine to major in mechanical engineering. I have decided to do this because I like to problem solve and I think that this career path will also allow me to help people.

BN. Finally, give me three people who have been a major influence during your high school days and how have they impacted you developing into the person you are today?

Heidi: I have always looked up to my parents and my grandmother. I could not be here without their encouragement and all of their help. Another role model of mine ever since I was young is Beyoncé. She is always strong and confident, is not afraid of being herself and standing up for her beliefs, which I have always admired.

Meghan: Three people who have been a major influence on me during my high school days have been my coaches. Coach Dors, Coach Snow and Coach Webb have all taught me the importance of teamwork and pushing myself to be the greatest that I can be.

Douglas: Both of my parents for pushing me to always do my best and not allowing me to give up. All my coaches also had a major impact on me. They not only taught me how to be successful in sports, but they also had high expectations for me as a person, so it helped me build better character and be a better person.

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