Q&A – Karli Sunnergren, Georgetown, Sussex Technical High School 2019 valedictorian
How would you describe your four years at Sussex Tech?
My four years at Tech have been challenging, surprising, enriching, and fun. I have met the most amazing people and been offered the most amazing opportunities, all while growing as a student, community member, and friend.
Why did you want to attend a career-technical high school? How has this experience made a difference in your trajectory or plans?
I wanted to attend Tech because I was seeking more diversity, and because I wanted to learn a trade and prove to the naysayers that learning a skill does not subtract from the value of academics – rather, it enhances it. This experience has solidified my desire to work in healthcare, but has also made me a more thoughtful and empathetic person. I’m so grateful to have CNA experience, as they are underappreciated but vital aspects of patient care. No matter where I work in healthcare, I will always be appreciative of all that CNAs do. I’m also so glad to have met so many students on so many different paths, as I have truly begun to appreciate the value in diversity and individuality.
What has been your best memory (or memories, if you can’t choose) from the last four years?
Some of my best memories have to be sitting in class and listening to Mrs. Massaro’s and Mrs. Forcucci’s amazing stories, but from making music videos for Health Pro to cheering with Tech Pack at football games, there have been too many amazing memories to pinpoint just one.
What advice would you give to incoming students to make the most of their high school experience and education?
My first bit of advice would be to remember that you’re going to get out what you put in – so work hard! We are incredibly fortunate to have amazing resources and opportunities, so make the most of them. There’s tons of access to technology and transportation, and teachers stay after school for Tech Coaching to help students- use all of these resources! If you look for the negative, you’ll find it. However, if you look for the positive and challenging and fun and enriching, you’ll find that as well!
My next little piece of advice would be not to worry about what others think, because pretty much everyone is thinking the same thing about themselves and not actually judging you. Also, you’re not alone – every embarrassing incident you face and insecurity you have is something you probably share with almost everyone else (just no one talks about it). Don’t worry about impressing others – just be kind and thoughtful and stay true to yourself.
My final bit of advice would be to enjoy yourself (safely and respectfully). High school isn’t the end-all-be-all, but it is a great place to meet people, make friends, learn, and have fun. It’s definitely not at scary as middle school teachers sometimes make it out to be, so work hard but also make time to relax and laugh. You should even learn to laugh at yourself sometimes (trust me – it helps!). You’re going to be fine.