WENDELL — Devin Williams has strong academics in his blood.
The valedictorian of East Wake’s School of Arts, Education and Global Studies is actually the second member of his family to earn the distinction at East Wake. He follows his sister, Jessica, who earned the top spot in 2011.
But Devin Williams is his own person. He eschewed many of the more traditional paths that valedictorians take. He turned down invitations to join the National Honor Society and other academic honor organizations. He chose not to spend his time with a lot of clubs and instead, kept his free time for himself.
“I play a lot of video games,” Williams said. “And I like to spend time walking in the woods.” He also likes playing puzzle games, which helps keep his mind sharp.
That contemplative approach is more serene for Williams than the everyday rush of many of his cohorts.
And, though he may take a different path with his spare time, he’s been right in line with the rigorous academic life that many valedictorians pursue. He took every science class East Wake offered and he took online courses, including German, which is not offered at East Wake. That focus on challenging academics earned Williams a 4.7 grade point average. He will begin the next phase of his academic career at N.C. State. Initially, he says he will study animal science, but he’s also considering a move into biomedical engineering.
The son of Willard and Karen Williams, Devin Williams says Environmental Science was his favorite class at East Wake. AP Chemistry, which has challenged more than one valedictorian, was his most difficult class. He cited Rachel Marchant as the teacher who influenced him the most. The AP English teacher taught students what Williams said is some of the most difficult and dry material they must learn, but she managed to make it interesting and keep her students engaged.
Devin Williams was a freshman when he watched his sister snag valedictorian honors. Though he said he never got any pressure to duplicate that feat from his family, Williams said having that as a goal was helpful.
“I think you always need to have a goal, whatever it is. You have to pay attention to it and you don’t want to get too far off course when you’re trying to reach it.” Williams stayed the course. And now he has the title that comes with finishing that race.
Whitfield: 919-829-4823; Twitter: @easternwakenews