When Washougal High School senior Paige Wilson was in sixth grade, she set a goal for herself: become class valedictorian.
Since then, Wilson has received an “A” grade in every class she’s taken.
“I have put every bit of effort I had into school for so many years,” Wilson, 18, one of Washougal High’s four valedictorians for the class of 2019, said. “So I was not too shocked to receive this accomplishment. I was actually more surprised that there were four of us. It’s awesome.”
That’s not to say that Wilson, the daughter of Jane and Bill Wilson, had an easy time climbing to the top of her class rankings.
“It required a lot of studying and absolutely no missing assignments or procrastination,” Wilson said, adding that, ironically, the classes that nearly ruined her perfect 4.0 grade point average (GPA) weren’t the things one might think of when they consider tough high school courses. No, it wasn’t calculus or chemistry that nearly wrecked Wilson’s shot at valedictorian. It was cooking and art classes.
“Which says a lot about me,” Wilson said, jokingly. “I can solve equations and write eight-page essays, but making salsa is definitely not my strong suit.”
Another thing that doesn’t come easy for Wilson, who was a member of Washougal’s volleyball, basketball and tennis teams, treasurer of her student body, a trumpet player in the school band and active in the American Sign Language (ASL) club, is relaxing.
“I am such a busy person (that) having time to unwind is basically impossible,” Wilson said. “Any free time I have I spend with my friends, who are my best supporters ever. Driving around town at night, watching movies and laughing until my stomach hurts is the best form of stress relief for me. I love the people I have surrounded myself with more than anything. I am so fortunate.”
For younger students who would like to someday see themselves as their class valedictorian, Wilson said she recommends believing in yourself and working hard.
“Everyone has subjects that they struggle wil more than others,” she said, “but that just means you have to put your mind to studying and put school first. Anything is possible if you want it bad enough.”
The eldest of two children in her family, Wilson lives in Washougal with her parents and younger sister, Jaisa.
“When my parents found out they were pregnant with me they built us a house in Washougal and we have lived here, in the same house, for 18 years,” Wilson said.
In the fall, Wilson will leave her family’s home and head to eastern Washington, where she plans to study psychology at Washington State University in Pullman.
“I will miss the constant support from people in this community,” Wilson said of her hometown, “and all the love that my peers and I have for one another. Washougal is a community that is one of a kind and although I will be leaving for a while, I would love to start my own family here someday.”