Mystique Quade: Gaither’s Class of 2021’s Valedictorian

Mystique Quade: Gaither's Class of 2021's Valedictorian

Emilee Namphengsone, Staff Writer

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Gaither High School’s Class of 2021 Valedictorian Mystique Quade spoke about her journey to the top rank as she learned to overcome new obstacles through hard work and dedication. 

Quade has been a member of the National Honor Society since her junior year and has been a part of many more organizations and clubs such as Math Club, Science Honor Society and flag football. 

“I think I started high school less school-oriented,” said Quade. “[However], since the class placements, I’ve kind of pushed harder to try and become more school-oriented as the years went by.”

From sleepless nights to sixteen classes at once, Quade’s journey to valedictorian was a difficult one. 

“I think that it gets less difficult overtime as you get used to the [busy] schedule,” said Quade. “But it was really hard during my sophomore to junior year because that’s when I took the most classes.” 

Quade admits that although COVID has had its impacts, she decided that online learning was not for her. “It was weird starting online. I’ve been quarantined once [already] and I think it was harder [to learn] online.”

COVID has also impacted Quade’s post-grad plans as colleges are still unsure whether or not they will teach on an in-person or virtual platform.

Despite these challenges, Quade still wishes to pursue her college career up North studying medicine and majoring in Biology. She plans to make a final decision after April college announcements.

To the senior class of 2021, Quade acknowledges the difficulties that everyone had to not only endure but learn to overcome. 

“It wasn’t easy, but we’ve all worked hard to get here. We’re all graduating [on the same stage], no matter where [we] were before.” 

Quade thanked Teacher Patrick Geonconteri for being alongside her journey and provided support in every way. “He’s been there to listen to me and guide me through my toughest times,” said Quade. “He’s been a big part of my high school journey.” 

Quade also wished to thank her godmother, as she has been there for Quade to fall on and climb back up. “She’s been there for me in ways I couldn’t be more thankful for. I am so grateful to have someone like her in my life.”