Randolph High School's 2014 Valedictorian


RANDOLPH, NJ- Cara Zhao, this year's Randolph High School valedictorian does not seem like someone who has spent weekend nights going "hella" (sic) hard studying.   In fact, she is a breath of fresh air:  an easygoing, bubbly person in a school of tons of rigorous course loads.  But Zhao has put in quite a bit of work to earn her #1 spot.

Zhao says her favorite subject has been math, ever since elementary school.  She first became interested in math with those grueling, competitive “Mad Minutes.”  Not only did she always finish first, but Zhao even won a free ice cream sundae for learning all of the times tables.

She says of the elementary school teachers, “They really try to get people to like math.  It worked for me.”

Sign Up for E-News

In fact, the most inspirational teachers who have made the biggest impact, Zhao credits to her former math teachers, Mr. Cascione and Mrs. Franklin.  Zhao says of them, “They both made you want to do better; it wasn’t just about learning the subject.”

Throughout high school, Zhao has participated in numerous extra curricular activities, including science clubs and debate. “Science clubs really influenced my decision on what I want to do it life and where I want to go to college.”

In debate, she improved her public speaking skills and learned how to better voice her opinion on issues, becoming a better speaker.

Just like anyone else, Zhao has faced her challenges, but they have helped her come out stronger. These include junior year as a whole. “I distinctly remember the nights where there was so much work, I thought I was going to fail everything.”

To someone to wants better grades: “I’d tell you all the generic things, if you’re hella (sic) competitive, and go into school wanting to learn, you’ll do fine.  Just do your best.  Don’t worry about the grades as much as the learning.”

This fall, Zhao will be heading to Cornell to pursue her interest in in chemical engineering.  “I like science and math, so I looked for into engineering and Cornell has a good engineering program”

She thanks her parents and friends for their endless supply of support.  In regards to her friends, she said "They help you get you get through the struggle that is high school,” and have been her favorite part of high school.  She credits them as her crucial support system.

She works hard, partially to make her parents proud.  Zhao is a first generation American, and her parents worked hard to get here.  In fact, she was the unofficial translator when she was younger.

“I was really happy when I found out (about becoming valedictorian).  My parents were really proud of me.  Well, they don’t explicitly say it, but they are.”

Her strict upbringing has helped mold her into the hardworking, disciplined person she is today.

As for the quote she lives by, it comes from Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar acceptance speech:  "No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid."

Cara stands by this quote as she pursues her dreams.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Road Resurfacing Work in Randolph for July 9 - 16

July 7, 2018

Below is a list of the streets for the upcoming resurfacing work. All roads will remain open for local traffic and emergency vehicles. Motorists should allow additional time for travel.

Street Name
Dates of Milling
Dates of Paving

Springhill Road - Forrest Road to #40

Musiker Avenue - Morey Lane to ...

Randolph Diner: Serving Up the Next Version of the Diner Experience

July 16, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- A diner, back in the early days of diners, typically referred to a restaurant that resembled a dining car on a train. Today, most diners still have a long counter and an array of booths lining the windows – much like the old railroad dining cars – but in many communities, the “diner” evolved into something more than a restaurant.

The diner became a ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, July 17, 6:00 PM

CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties, Morristown

CASA Information Session

Education Giving Back Law & Justice


Tue, July 17, 7:00 PM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Wild West: The Mystery of the Golden Piano

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education Other


Thu, July 19, 9:00 AM

Brooklyn Bagel, Randolph

Coffee with a Cop

Community Calendar

Catriona Lucus Selected to Play in 2018 National Lacrosse Academy  

July 16, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- Catriona Lucus, a rising freshman at Randolph High School has been named as a 2018 Maverik National Lacrosse All-Star and has been selected to attend the Maverik National Lacrosse Academy to be held July 16-19, 2018 in Frederica, Delaware at the DE Turf Sportsplex.

Catriona plays on the DEWLAX 2022 West club lacrosse team as well as being chosen to play with the DEWLAX ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Education: A Bedrock of Democracy, Civic Engagement and Economic Prosperity

July 6, 2018

More than 240 years ago, our nation’s founders envisioned a country where individuals could forge their own destinies and not be constrained by the circumstances of birth. The essential concept was that people could govern themselves and participate in democracy, or what Benjamin Franklin and others called “a great experiment.” The vision was bold and has flourished as the ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 16, 2018

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

July 16, 2018

(TRENTON) – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death ...

Garden State Urology named a Center of Excellence by NAFC

Urology group recognized for exemplary care, dedication to patients

WHIPPANY, NJ – Garden State Urology, part of Atlantic Medical Group, was recently designated a Center of Excellence by the National Association for Continence.

Garden State Urology is a cooperative urology group that provides residents in northwestern New Jersey with a modern, integrated, comprehensive health care ...

Registration open for Randolph Hebrew with Early Bird Discount!

Entering its 17th year, Randolph Hebrew of Morris County has opened registration to new students for the upcoming school year that is set to begin on Sunday, September 16th.

Randolph Hebrew enjoys a well-earned reputation as a trend setter in creative Jewish education. It's well trained staff, cutting edge curriculum along with the teacher to student ration allows for individualized ...

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey

How often do you read TAPinto?  Have you downloaded the TAPinto APP?  These are a few of the questions for readers in our 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

We want to hear from you!

The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and will help TAPinto better serve you. 

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

Thank you.  We appreciate your support and ...

Atlantic Health System, MedExpress partner in 11 New Jersey Urgent Care Centers

Atlantic Health System, an integrated health care delivery system, and MedExpress, a neighborhood health care provider, are collaborating to coordinate care between MedExpress' 11 neighborhood medical centers in northern New Jersey and Atlantic Health System's extensive clinically integrated network of physicians, hospitals and other care sites.

The jointly owned centers will enable ...