Taylorsville - Janet Tran of Taylorsville High School, valedictorian of her 2015 class, has many achievements behind her but is looking forward to many more in her future.
Tran has always lived in Utah. Her dad came to the United States to California as a refugee in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Her dad’s entire family then moved to Utah throughout this time period. She has three other siblings.
School was not always a top priority for Tran, who admitted that in elementary school she went through an adventurous stage.
“I did my homework because I knew it was the law, but it was not a top priority of mine,” she said.
Things changed in junior high when her sister set the standard by graduating as the valedictorian from Taylorsville. The next year her brother graduated as a valedictorian as well.
“That just reinforced a goal for me to accomplish,” she said. “In the seventh grade I started in the honors program and by the ninth grade I was coming to the high school for some AP courses.” It was at high school that she started finding her passions and achieving goals.
There is a stigma that goes along with being intellectually gifted, however. “The stigma of Asians doing well in school, I really do live that one well,” Tran said. She noticed that some people compare themselves to her and doesn’t mind if it is done in the right way.
“If they understand that if they challenge themselves they can achieve as much as I do, then it is a positive,” she added.
Tran has been awarded a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Utah in business, which she hopes to use toward a business administration degree.
Jordan Etherngton, salutatorian of Taylorsville High’s 2015 class, juggled academics, sports and two part-time jobs.
Jordan Etherington, salutatorian of his 2015 class at Taylorsville, has many achievements behind him as well and is also looking forward to many more while reaching his career goals.
When Etherington was in elementary school he had one older brother, “about three years older, and for a while everyone knew me as Cameron’s little brother,” he said.
His brother was a smart kid and everyone expected him to get good grades and to work hard. “They knew who he was and they knew who I was, but I wasn’t expected to live up to any big potential,” he said. “I could pretty much make out what I wanted out of myself, and by high school a lot of my brother’s teachers had moved on anyway and I had like a clean slate.”
Etherington lettered in swimming all three years. Juggling academics and sports and two part-time jobs helped him learn how to deal with a rigorous schedule and prioritize. “That helped keep me motivated and I would just take my textbooks to work and when I had a break I would do my homework.”
Etherington will be going on a mission in July. When he gets back he will decide on what to major in — mechanical engineering or physiology.
“I feel like being a physiologist would be really fun, to help people. I think I could do either one. I will figure it out,” he said.
Etherington has been awarded a four-year scholarship to Utah State in the major of his choice.
Taylorsville High has achieved much academically this year. The total number of graduates in the 2015 class is 463 students. The number of scholarships awarded is 230; the total number of students receiving scholarships is 96.
The scholarship dollar amount awarded to Taylorsville High was $4,962,752.