Crown Leadership Academy's best in the classroom have been rightfully recognized. Curious as to what makes these scholars stand out? Valedictorian Terence Carey and salutatorian Emma Johnston share their secrets to success and talk about the journey it's taken to get there.

Terence Carey  —  Valedictorian

1. How old are you?

17

2. What are your post-graduation plans?

I will be going into the College of Charleston Honors College as a triple major in computer science, data science, and mathematics.

3. What is the secret to being at the top of your class?

Take a lot of college classes and do well in them.

4. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An inventor, but I guess more realistically that would translate to being an engineer.

5. Now what do you hope to do?

I currently hope to one day get a Ph.D. in mathematics and do research at a university.

6. What do you like to do outside of school?

Play video games and go to church events.

7. What has been your favorite thing about high school?

Every morning we'll start with worship and I think that it has been wonderful to always have the opportunity to have that time to start my day by being in the Lord's presence.

8. What is one thing you would like to change about your high school?

I wish that there were more advanced courses being offered at the school, but our guidance counselor helped connect me with challenging college-level computer and math classes that were a lot of fun and allowed me to earn dual enrollment credits in classes that were the right fit for me.

9. What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

I'm going to be a part of the Entrepreneurship Living and Learning Community at College of Charleston in the fall. Having seen what other students that have been a part of the living and learning community have gone on to do on campus, I'm very excited for that experience.

10. What personal quality has been most helpful in achieving your success?

A desire to learn more about things I'm passionate about.

Emma Johnston  —  Salutatorian

1. How old are you?

I'm 17 years old.

2. What are your post-graduation plans?

After graduation, I'm attending Furman University. I also plan on applying for the Disney College Program during my sophomore year.

3. What is the secret to being at the top of your class?

Honestly, turning in assignments on time is key. It seems pretty simple, but time management can be a difficult thing to get the hang of. It also ensures you won't fall behind on upcoming assignments, too.

4. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I don't think there was ever an obvious answer for this when I was little; my answer would change on a day to day basis. One day I would want to be a veternarian, another day I'd want to be a dancer.

5. Now what do you hope to do?

I'm still not exactly sure what I want to do or major in yet, but I am pretty interested in psychology right now.

6. What do you like to do outside of school?

I love to dance and have been a part of Peace Love Hip Hop for nine years. I was also an apprentice with Charleston Stage’s theater apprenticeship program TheatreWings and worked backstage for several shows, and also performed onstage a few times, too. I participate in Crossfit as well, which I really have to push myself to do at 7 a.m. I also love creating things; I love sewing/upcycling, making jewelry, and sometimes writing.

7. What has been your favorite thing about high school?

My high school experience had a rough start, but I'm so happy to say now that overall, I've had a wonderful experience in high school. My favorite part of high school was probably all of the wonderful people I've met, from my now-best friends, to the most caring teachers I've ever had.

8. What is one thing you would like to change about your high school?

I honestly wouldn't change anything about my high school. Crown was such an amazing fit for me, and although there were a few downsides (just like any other high school), I know everyone at Crown always had good intentions. And I learned from every experience during high school, so there's nothing I would change.

9. What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

I would say what I'm most looking forward to after graduation is the complete freedom and independence I'll have once I start college and turn 18. I feel like I'm definitely ready for it and I'm excited for the opportunities that will come with it.

10. What personal quality has been most helpful in achieving your success?

I feel that my determination has been most helpful in achieving my success. If I hadn't been so motivated to get things done on time and at the best of my ability, I wouldn't be where I am. Of course, sometimes it's hard to be determined when you're not a huge fan of an assignment or project (and trust me, as a huge procrastinator, many things came down to the wire because of this), but you just have to remember that you're still learning and growing from everything you do and everything you have to do; even though you may not want to do it.