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May 31, 2020

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15 minutes with Tatyana Shekochikhin

"Looking back, I don't care about perfect attendance or whatever. What is important is something that I didn't do enough of - be a nice person." 

As this year's graduation fast approaches, the Icon looks to past valedictorians of Bluffton High School to inspire this year's graduates as they set sail on adventures unknown.

The Icon interviewed Tatyana Shekochikhin, a valedictorian of the class of 2003.

What activities were you involved in as a BHS student? Feel free to include all your extra-curricular activities, even if they're from church or other organizations, not just school.

I was at Apollo Career Center for my junior and senior years and in Russia for half of sophomore year. (I went to Russia to visit family. Missing half of the school year was not ideal, but I did get to study at a small Russian country school, which was nice. I had seven classmates - our class was large - and all but one were female. Four of us were named Tatyana. Homework was minimal - the algebra teacher would give only 1 or 2 problems to solve. School finished an hour earlier, and the breaks between classes were 15 minutes long.) 

... so most of my activities weren't at Bluffton. They were: the National Technical Honor Society, FFA (Future Farmers of America), Renaissance committee. There was an environmental biology program called Envirothon where I remember going to Bowling Green to compete against other schools.

As I read these questions, I realize how much I've forgotten. Mostly I went to school, worked, and read way too many books.

What was your least favorite class from high school?

My least favorite class was Latin II. I didn't learn much, though it was an easy A. 

Mrs. Goode was one of my favorites. Although I almost never remember that "Chicken is done, you are finished" until after I've said "done." I also liked Mr. Lemley. 

What achievement(s), if anything, are you most proud of from your high school career? Did you get the academic award for any classes? Were you part of a winning sports team? Did you just survive gym class or did you thrive there?

I can't think of any achievement that I'm proud of. Not that I'm ashamed of my achievements, just that, looking back, I don't care about perfect attendance or whatever. What is important is something that I didn't do enough of - be a nice person. 

Where are you now? Did you go to college, what did you study, what do you do for a living, etc? Married? Kids?

I didn't go to college. I've been working at the Bluffton Public Library for the past twelve years.

What advice do you have for the BHS graduates of 2019? What would you tell your newly-graduated self, as you left the high school building after graduation day?

"It's okay if you don't know what you want to be when you grow up."

Please note, Tatyana Shekochikhin is one of nine valedictorians from the class of 2003.

This is the fourth interview in a series; to read previous interviews, click here

If you were a BHS valedictorian (or equivalent), the Icon would love to interview you. Please contact info@blufftonicon.com.