Though Duncan Biggin, 18, of Breckenridge, was No. 1 in his class all four years of high school, he said the valedictorian title wasn’t a goal. He didn’t strategize about how to achieve the top GPA.
“I just try to do my best. I don’t really like competing against others,” he said. “I like to compete against myself.”
His favorite classes were biology and math, he said, and he decided not to complete the International Baccalaureate diploma program so he could continue taking orchestra classes. Biggin also played on the school baseball team.
He said his friends don’t think he deserves the title because he often has lapses in common sense, and he downplayed his new official status.
“I think it’s just a title. I don’t really like titles to be honest,” he said. “I did my best.”
His proudest moment was “becoming friends with Anton Barlow,” he said. “He’s been like my rock throughout high school.”
Biggin plans to study bioengineering at the University of California in San Diego, pursue a doctorate and one day work for a California biotech company.
But he said, “My main goal for college is to learn how to surf.”
Surfing, combined with Disneyland and Seaworld, gives San Diego the “trifecta of cool,” he said.
Nick Cousino, 18, of Silverthorne, worked hard and took honors classes because he knew he wanted to attend the United States Air Force Academy. His salutatorian title was a side effect, he said, an added bonus.
He was accepted to the academy and plans to study aerospace engineering and flying. Cousino will move to Colorado Springs on June 25. Before that, he said he’ll go on a few backpacking trips locally with friends.
Cousino said his biggest challenge during school was finding balance.
“I had to choose between sports, school, friends and community service,” he said. He played football and baseball, competed in weight lifting, was involved with his church youth group and played piano. Summers were his busiest times, he said, when he went to camps and volunteered more.
He was partly homeschooled his first two years, he said, and he didn’t get to know people in his class until he was a senior.
“During school my mission was always very clear. It was to get high grades and everything else was after that,” he said. “My No. 1 priority was academics.”
His proudest moments were being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington, D.C., and becoming an Eagle Scout.
He offered this advice for students: “It’s really all about work ethic. Know what you want to do, and make sure to make the choices that get you there.”