Four seniors named CHS 2021 co-valedictorians

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Four Collierville High School seniors have been named co-valedictorians this year. 

On May 13, the Collierville High School Class of 2021 graduated in-person from the Landers Center in Desoto County.

Subhash Eedarapelli

Determination and the passion to excel are two great qualities that Subhash possesses. He moved to the United States from India in the first grade. Speaking no English at the time, his parents were fearful that his intelligence would be overlooked due to the language barrier.

Subhash took on this challenge just like he has so many others, with a laser focus and a cheerful attitude. He quickly learned the fundamentals of the English language and became an avid reader, devouring book after book. He credits this time of his life and the numerous books he read with helping him to develop a natural curiosity and obtain a wide variety of interests. The myriad ways that Subhash has extended himself through school activities is truly impressive. He was co-captain of the Math Club & Physics Olympiad. An active member of the Knowledge Bowl and Science Olympiad, and a member of Cum Laude Society. With his free time, Subhash enjoys playing chess & tennis, as well as tutoring other students.

Intelligent and self-motivated, Subhash has continually challenged himself with the rigor that he desires, taking 9 honors, Dual Enrollment Linear Algebra, and 18 AP courses all while maintaining a 4.77 weighted GPA. Subhash has been recognized as a National AP Scholar & AP Scholar with Distinction. Subhash was a nominee in the 2021 U.S Presidential Scholar Program & has been named a 2021 National Merit Finalist. Subhash has scored a 36 on the ACT and 1600 on the SAT.

In college, Subhash will study pre-med.  He will matriculate to The University of Texas at Dallas, where he has been offered a full ride scholarship.

Brandon Gong

Brandon Gong has excelled by taking the most rigorous courses Collierville High School offers. He holds a 4.77 weighted GPA and scored a perfect 36 on the ACT. Brandon has scored a 5 on all 10 AP exams taken before his senior year. He has been awarded National AP Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction by College Board. Brandon has advanced to finalist in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program and most recently was named a semifinalist in the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

Outside of the classroom you can find Brandon on the tennis courts as member of the CHS Dragons tennis team or playing the piano or the violin. Brandon is a mentor to middle school robotic students. He is a member of Mu Alpha Theta & enjoys competing in math and science Olympiads. Brandon’s broad interests are demonstrated in the various clubs he belongs to, including the Latin Club, Upcycle Club, and Cum Laude Society.

Brandon looks for opportunities of growth and takes challenges as welcome opportunities to give back. Last year in the early days of the COVID pandemic, when there was a shortage of personal protective equipment readily available for local police and first responders, Brandon rallied and helped lead a fundraising project named 901PPE.

He built a fundraising website and together with two of his classmates raised money to purchase masks for the First Responders Unit in our local area. His dedication to service in his community and amongst peers, stands as a testament to his devotion to the betterment of the world. In the Fall, Brandon will matriculate to Brown University, where he will pursue a major in computer science.

Yao He

Jessica’s academic excellence has enabled her to become a National Merit Finalist, an AP distinguished scholar, a Cum Laude Society member, as well as a member of several other scholastic honor societies.  Jessica is also a ranked & competing member of the Math Club, the Science Olympiad, and the Knowledge Bowl Team. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Jessica has taken just about every Advanced Placement course offered at Collierville High-17 to be exact, as well as 3 Dual Enrollment classes, and 9 honors classes. She has mastered numerous subjects with ease and grace. Jessica currently holds a 4.77 weighted GPA and scored a perfect 36 on the ACT.

Although Jessica’s academic achievements are worthy of a page alone, they are just a small piece of what makes her so special. Jessica brings enthusiasm & optimism to communities outside of the classroom as well. She spends her time volunteering with elementary & middle school students in science clubs that she helped create. You can also find Jessica tutoring higher level math students thru her service with Mu Alpha Theta. Jessica spreads joy all around – but especially to the patients at Page Robbins Adult Day Care Center, where Jessica is a regular volunteer & companion. Although Jessica’s free time is limited, her artistic and creative talents keep her drawing, painting, playing the piano, the violin, and engaging in the sport of fencing.

Next year Jessica plans to pursue a major in Quantitative Sciences and will matriculate to Emory University in Atlanta.

Alex Zhang

Alex has been a leader among his peers academically and socially through his many successes both in and outside of the classroom. Alex’s leadership style is one of humility and understanding. He leads through example and through service and has put his tremendous talents to use to the benefit of others. He has shown a deep commitment to his school and to his community in many ways. Alex is the Founder and the Executive Director of the Memphis Junior Science Association, a nonprofit science outreach program which helps make science education more accessible to students throughout the greater Memphis area. As many club activities were suspended, Alex continued to share his love for STEM by posting science lessons on his website.  When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Alex responded by organizing a campaign called 901PPE which raised over $1500 to buy thousands of face masks for local police officers.

Alex has proven himself as one of the top math students in the country through various competitions and national tests. During his sophomore year, Alex qualified for the United States of America Junior Mathematical Olympiad, making him the first qualifier that Collierville High School has had and the only qualifier from the state of Tennessee in 2019.  With a relentless desire for knowledge and an insatiable thirst for personal growth, his expertise extends far beyond this one subject.

Alex has excelled in biology, chemistry, and physics both in the classroom and in competitions. In Knowledge Bowl, Alex has displayed remarkable knowledge and understanding of astronomy, language, history, and geography, in addition to the above subject areas. 

He writes computer programs to help him study and assimilate knowledge. Having a gift for language, Alex has enjoyed the study of Latin and is fluent in Mandarin and Korean.  He has scored a top score of 5 on all of the numerous Advanced Placement exams he has taken and also has scored a perfect 36 on the ACT.

In the fall, Alex will matriculate to Yale University where he plans to continue his passion for mathematics.