Attaining the valedictorian title required more than pure intelligence; according to senior Sidney Matthew Roman, it entailed a personal drive to fulfill inner passion. Roman graduates at the top of his class with a 4.0 unweighted GPA.

“The portion of what it takes [to become a valedictorian] that’s just crystallized intelligence is much less than many people actually think; what it really takes is just an internal need to succeed,” Roman said. “Inspiration may come from the need to personally achieve for some or the need to get into a dream college for others, but either way, without it, everything else becomes impossible.”

A large part of Roman’s high school career included performing on stage with other members of Troupe 1139. Roman played a variety of roles, including Chad in All Shook Up and Gomez in The Addams Family. In March the troupe earned a Best Production award at the Southeastern Theater Conference in Kentucky for The Children’s Hour.

“My fondest memory probably has to be my entire senior year in theater,” Roman said. “Our thespian troupe has a really successful year, from bringing a full main stage musical to the state competition to winning Best Play in all of the Southeastern United States. It’s been truly an unforgettable year full of indescribable moments with unimaginably incredible people.”

In addition to theater, Roman also participated in multiple clubs including National Honor Society, Math Club, Mu Alpha Theta and Gay-Straight Alliance. Outside of his school activities, Roman worked on becoming an Eagle Scout (coming June 12).

“It’s been a journey that I’ve been on for almost 12 years, and to finally complete it will be more rewarding than I can say,” Roman said.

Along with Roman’s inner drive, getting accepted into Columbia University also motivated him to maintain his grades throughout high school.

“Keeping a 4.0 was important to me for two reasons: to help get into the college of my dreams and to simply prove that I could,” Roman said. “I’m pretty naturally an overachiever; what other option was there?”

Roman’s acceptance to Columbia qualifies him as one of the school’s four OCPS’s Super Scholars.  He plans to major in political science, biophysics or economics, with the end goal of becoming the President of the United States of America. He encourages incoming freshmen and underclassmen to push themselves towards their ambitions and to pursue passions.

“High school is all about getting a rough idea of who you are and what you’re passionate about,” Roman said. “The more you get to know yourself and how you work and what makes you inspired, the better prepared you’ll be in making decisions like where to go to college and what to study.”

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