By: Mr. Willy Fluharty, Director of Nexus Global Studies Program
Have you ever wondered what the high school career of a valedictorian heading to Stanford looks like?
The class of 2019 valedictorian Fiona Clunan has had an extraordinary 4 years at Cape Henry. As valedictorian, her academic accomplishments are self-evident. To top off the high GPA needed for that distinction, Fiona had the most AP courses in her class at 21 and she received 5’s on all six AP’s her senior year! But it wasn’t just in the class where she excelled. The list of activities and clubs she participated in is extraordinary. She played on the tennis team 9th-12th grades, was captain her junior and senior year, made second all conference team twice, second all state team twice and was MVP junior and senior seasons. She participated in the Global Scholars program which involved her leadership in Compass Rose Coffee as the Chief Financial Officer her junior year and Chief Executive Officer her senior year. She participated in several Model UN’s around the country honing her global education and debating techniques. She was in the math club 9th-12th grades and placed 3rd in the AMC Math Competition her junior year and 2nd in the Virginia Math League competition her sophomore year. Fiona was voted best lawyer for the Cape Henry Mock Supreme Court her junior year and she co-founded the Young Progressives Club her sophomore year. Politically attuned and passionate about progressive politics, she canvassed for Hillary Clinton the 2016 and attended the national Families Belong Together march in Washington. Her activism and compassion was evident at Cape Henry where she worked as writing coach tutoring younger students. She traveled to Peru on a Nexus program focused on service work with Quechua families last summer to help improve their living conditions becoming more fluent in Spanish while doing so. She has a clear love of languages. She has actively studied Spanish, French, German and Dutch and attended the Governor’s school Spanish Academy immersing herself in 100% Spanish for three weeks. And to top it all off, she’s a Sunday school teacher at Galilee Episcopal.
This amazing tenure at Cape Henry helped Fiona gain admission to Princeton, Brown and Stanford of which she chose Stanford to attend in 2021. She has decided to take a gap year and study and work in the Netherlands and South America for a year. While perfecting her Dutch in the Netherlands, she hopes to intern at NATO, tutor English at local schools and take Latin on the side. And then on to South America to fine tune her Spanish.
Her advice to younger students is to pursue your passion and take advantage of Cape Henry’s academic flexibility by taking independent studies and advanced classes. Her favorite courses at Cape Henry were “all history courses” and she’d like to thank the entire history department for helping nurture her passion for politics and humanities. She is thankful for senor Willis for helping with her independent study and Mr. Rudolph for his math tutelage.
At Stanford, she’d like to pursue a degree in a humanities related field, possibly classics, political science or linguistics.
To repeat what’s clearly obvious, Fiona has had an amazing four years at Cape Henry and we look forward to following her great accomplishments at Stanford and beyond.