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High school perspectives: valedictorian vs. homecoming king

Despite the stereotypes surrounding their respective titles of valedictorian and homecoming king, seniors Chandler Payne and Joe Wages have grown to be close friends over the past four years spent together. The two soon-to-be graduates share their hard earned advice and thoughts with current and rising high school students.

What’s your advice to incoming freshmen?

Payne- “Apply yourself. I’ve talked to a lot of seniors lately, and one of the number one regrets is not applying yourself either in school or in extracurriculars. Get involved. It’s a lot of fun…You can have an impact on a lot of other people and find yourself impacted in the process”

Wages- “Don’t shrug off school… Make sure you turn all of your assignments in, but otherwise, have fun, hang out with your friends and have a good time.”

What’s your advice to a student feeling pressured to be perfect?

Payne- “Relax. It’s not the end of the world. There is so much to high school, so much to life, that you can see in the bigger picture. Don’t neglect relationships for academics… Make sure you’re definitely doing your best, but there’s so much more to life than schoolwork and grades, so I would encourage you to find out what that is for you… Don’t make your biggest regret neglecting important things and things that help you find out about yourself and others for striving for only good grades. There’s so much you can miss, so don’t forget to stop and smell the roses”

What’s your advice to a student who does not want to apply themself?

Wages- “Pick it up, kid. You’re not going to get anywhere in life if you don’t apply yourself just a little bit. These skills you’re going to learn now in high school, you’re going to use them later in college, so when you do get to college-if you get to college- it’ll be a problem.”

What’s your biggest regret?

Payne- “There’s a lot that I really enjoyed doing, but I think I would say I regret not spending as much time with my family. There’s just a lot that comes along with that, with really applying myself to them and being present and having a good time for that.”

What would you tell a student who wants the popularity you have had?

Wages- “You can’t strive for it because if you strive for something like popularity, all it will do is make you look like a selfish person. I never wanted popularity. All I just wanted was some friends, and it just came naturally, so if it comes naturally, good for you, but don’t strive for it.”

Do you have any last words for the student body?

Payne- “Enjoy high school. It’s a good time if you make it.”

Wages- “It was a good run. Never forget me. I will come back for you.”


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