The definition of success

Success can mean a lot of different things for different people on campus. Principal Brandon Dade, Ms. Jenny Herzog and junior Bernard Yu share their definitions of success for a student at Walnut High School. 

“My definition for success for a student at Walnut is three products. For example, academic success is one thing, social success is another thing, but also extracurricular success. And so academically, that’s a good barometer for: how are you going to do in regards to instruction? Socially is a good barometer if you have a lot of success in regards to getting out there and networking with your peers and networking with people that may not be your peers to accomplish or overcome challenges — that’s going to be optimal for college and career.”

“I believe that my definition of success is very common amongst my peers who are superintendents and business owners. It continues to evolve, so I think a freshman may think differently from a twelfth grader, so I definitely don’t mind if there’s a difference. That’s why we have different pathways here. That’s why we encourage joining clubs or playing sports. And that’s why we encourage students to collaborate and work after hours to compute projects, because when you get to college it’s going to be the exact same thing. When you get to your future careers, you will never be able to sit in a room and be successful by yourself. You’re going to have to do some research and you’re going to have to reach out to others. You’re going to have to get out there and spend a little more time than average to accomplish certain goals.”

Mr. Dade, principal

“Success for a student at Walnut High School? I would say progression.  Success involves failure,  having incorrect answers, or incorrect process, and then learning from that. I have students that maybe start with a D and they end up with a B, and that’s an amazing success. It should be equated to what you earn, not necessarily a letter you get. I think students definitely see their success as a letter grade or percentage. For some students success is an A and for other students, success is getting over a hundred percent.”

Ms Herzog, math teacher

“To me, my definition of success isn’t what I think people or society think is success, like money, going to a good school [or] a good college.  I think it’s more of what you’re able to find [in] yourself. When you’re able to follow what you love and not care what other people think, [you] accept yourself and become a better person in general. That’s what being successful means to me. I think that a lot of students right now especially in Walnut are measuring their success by GPA, what college you’re getting into; there’s a lot of pressure on that. I know it’s hard because parents can put a lot of pressure onto their children and the I think the best thing you can do is just keep your head up. Even though school is important, you still need to focus on yourself. Don’t forget about yourself and what you love doing.”

Bernard Yu, 11

Interviews conducted by Brian Chen and Phillip Leung, Opinion editors
Video filmed and edited by Eunice Lin, Video manager