Koltin Burnam is the Rio Rancho Cyber Academy Class of 2022 valedictorian.
He filled out an Observer questionnaire sharing some of his thoughts on high school and his future.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I have yet to make my mind up, but I have a few options in mind including attending the University of New Mexico and taking a gap year. Most likely, I will be studying either astrophysics or history at UNM.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: I find little value in predicting the future, but however it may look, I hope I am happy.
Q: What has remained the best incentive/program to keep you interested in school and graduating?
A: As cliché as it sounds, I continued through school to make my parents proud. With that being said, I was very uninterested in academics during my high school career; I just wanted to graduate.
Q: In what class did you learn the most, as you envision your career?
A: My experience with AP US History was the most beneficial for me, as I was able to learn how to approach challenges that came with falling behind in my classes. Educationally, though, I gained the most knowledge from AP World History with Mr. Dan Eberhardt.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it to you?
A: It may be recency bias, but not long ago, Mr. Michael Mascone told me, in regards to choosing a career path, to allow my interests to guide my future rather than a paycheck. While it sounds simple, it has helped me greatly in deciding what exactly I want to do with my life.
Q: What’s your best advice for underclassmen?
A: Don’t focus too much on academics; it’s not worth it.
Q: If you could make one change in Rio Rancho Public Schools, what would it be?
A: I would place more emphasis on and give more credit to impactful teachers like Ms. Harpeet Bhullar, Ms. Patty Wormington and Ms. Peggy Syers (in addition to the previously mentioned teachers). They are what makes objectively boring classes like AP Literature bearable.
Q: Who or what played the biggest role in your success?
A: With success being perhaps the most subjective of all words, I would not necessarily define my educational experience as a “success.” Through needlessly stressing and putting my own mental health second, I would consider it to be quite a wreck, but my backpack was with me through all four years. Of course, the people around me helped out in my graduation, though. My father, my mother, my brother, my pets and (probably most of all) Salutatorian Izzy Weinstein all deserve more credit than I do.