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Posted: May 17, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Bright Futures

Eastside's Valedictorian and Salutatorian headed to Harvard, UGA

By Amber Pittman/

Ariel VanLeuven & Leaha Wynn

Eastside High School’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian have enjoyed a healthy dose of competition for the last few years. In many of the same classes, both Leaha Wynn and Ariel VanLeuven seem to be friends and not begrudge one another their successes proving they aren’t just exceptional students, but exceptional young ladies as well.

Leaha Wynn

The school’s STAR student, 17-year-old Wynn has her life pretty well mapped out for herself. Having been accepted to Georgetown, Stanford and Notre Dame, Wynn has elected to skip those and head straight to Harvard.

Wynn plans to study classics and voice and then attend law school. She has been singing since she was a small child and believes that classics are a good major that will transition to her law career well. As for the branch of law she plans to study, that’s a little less clear right now, she’s toyed with political, corporate or entertainment, but hasn’t quite decided just yet.

According to Wynn her favorite subjects in school were math and Latin and she has been involved in various activities while in school such as show choir, musical theatre, the Beta Club, Latin, the Literary Team and the Interact Club which is a community service based organization.

Wynn plans to attend the National Latin Convention and pre-orientation for college over the summer. When asked if she was surprised that she had been named valedictorian for the school Wynn said she was not, explaining that she had been keeping track with her guidance counselor of her rank.

As for her acceptance to the prestigious Harvard University, she bemoaned the fact that her mother was bragging.

"She’s telling everyone that I’m going to Harvard," she said, with a laugh. "She’s so excited."

Ariel VanLeuven

Eastside’s salutatorian, VanLeuven, age 18, is excited about heading to the University of Georgia in the fall to begin her studies in the science field.

VanLeuven is planning on majoring in genetics or pre-med, saying that she is very interested in that specific field.

"I think that science and the medical field are going to be extremely important in the coming years," she said.

Her favorite subjects in school have been chemistry and human anatomy and she has been involved in several different activities such as the junior service guild and a service and community involvement club that works hand-in-hand with the service guild of Covington.

According to VanLeuven, her mother is also very excited about her achievements and has "been telling everyone she knows."

She said she plans on just enjoying her time with family and friends over the summer before heading to UGA.

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