Meet the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of the Montgomery High School Class of 2023
By Barbara A. Preston | Posted June 22, 2023
Montgomery High School celebrated its 408 graduates in a ceremony in the gym last night before a standing-room-only crowd of hundreds of spectators.
Principal Heather Pino-Beattie said the class represents "scholars and scholarship winners, athletic record holders and state champions, gifted speakers, social activists, and change agents, award-winning artists, musicians, and amazing human beings who choose to do the right thing, especially when no one is looking."
Two standouts who rose to the top of this talented class are the traditional valedictorian and salutatorian — the two students with the the highest cumulative grade point average.
From left: Salutatorian George Cao and Valedictorian Miranda Qing.
First, the valedictorian.
Miranda Qing wants to be a pioneer on the next frontier of the healthcare industry—optimizing AI in surgical robotics.
She is on her way to Johns Hopkins to study biomedical engineering.
“The engineering part is what I’m passionate about. I like to build stuff,” she told The Montgomery News. “I chose bio because I want to work on something for human health, so I will be doing something good for society.”
Her resume includes a summer internship with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She also completed The Summer Science Program in Indiana, where she studied genomics. Her skills include bioinformatics, polymerase chain reaction, and flow cytometry (the measurement of number and characteristics of cells.)
She is captain of the MHS Science Olympiad team. Under her leadership, the team earned many accolades.
“Our biggest achievement,” she says, “was winning the state championship last year and going to nationals, which is a really big deal.”
It was the first time the MHS Science Olympiad team competed in nationals in 17 years. Hosted by Cal-Tech, the nationals were supposed to be in Pasadena, California. However, it was virtual because of COVID.
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Qing also plays violin, and sings with the Princeton Girl Choir. And, she earned the impressive NJ Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish.
Her weighted GPA is 101.64 and she earned a score of 1590 on her SAT. She completed nine AP classes and 14 honors courses.
Qing said that while grades are important, “If I could share one piece of advice that’s been most important to me these last four years is that, in life, you should prioritize your happiness.”
“A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini.
Baozi (steamed pork buns) made by her father.
Jason Sullivan (Science Supervisor and Olympiad Coach) and Mihaela Tingire (math teacher).
Parents: Shuping Qing (engineer) and Sara Xiao (pharma regulatory affairs). Sister: Michelle MHS’20 (Northeastern University). ■
Salutatorian George Cao.
George Cao is one of the nation’s most promising young scientists, according to the Society for Science.
Cao says his passion, though, is mathematics. He has authored papers with titles such as, “The Indecomposable Summands of the Tensor Products of Monomial Modules Over Finite 2-Groups.”
He delivered the paper at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology PRIMES Conference in 2022. He will attend MIT in the fall as a mathematics major — earning one of only 14 spots the university had to offer in his field of study.
During his high school career, Cao took nine AP and seven honors courses. He earned a perfect score of 1600 on the SAT on his first try, and a GPA of 101.
He is a National Merit Scholar, and he earned the USA Mathematics Olympiad bronze medal. He is captain of the golf team, and has led a clinic for elementary students to teach them about the game and sportsmanship. He enjoys fishing with his father in his spare time.
During his graduation speech, Cao commented that his generation is “facing a rapidly changing world.”
“Artificial intelligence has become part of our lives, from Siri to Alexa, from ChatGPT to self-driving cars. Yet, what will remain is our resilience and adaptability.”
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey.
Daniel Fishman (math teacher) and Joseph Bassford (golf coach).
Parents: Ying Wang (mom) and Lixin Cao (dad). Both are chemists.
Sister: Joy MHS’19 (Studying pharmacy at University of Pittsburgh).
Principal Pino-Beattie describes Cao as “personable, compassionate, and eternally optimistic.”
“Despite his accolades, George remains humble and one of the kindest students that I know,” she said during the graduation ceremony. “That is worth applauding.” ■