By JAMES MAZARAKIS and FELICIA FALLANO
Even after years of being a devoted track runner, senior Guan Chen, known as Raymond, did not see his road to #2 in his class as a race to the top.
“You can’t do work every day and expect to maintain a low stress level,” Chen explains in regards to his ability to steamroll his way through high school without missing a step. Being on the track team was “a huge part” of his stress management strategy, which he attests is the most important part of getting through high school.
A dedicated student and member of the track team at Malden High School, Chen is sadly departing from the team this June. Even though he is leaving his team, he is eager to start a new chapter of his life.
Chen is attending UMass Amherst in the fall and is double majoring in in Computer Science and Electrical Computer Engineering. Chen says he is “excited to go to college and gain independence as well as study classes that [he is] passionate about.” His goal is to “learn the necessary material to prepare [him] for a job in the engineering / computer science field and get the results necessary for [him] to get [his] masters degree in grad school.”
Chen has been “pretty successful this year.” But regarding track, he personally feels that he “[has not] had a great season.” Chen says he hasn’t set any personal times but he has “kept in shape and had fun with friends on the track team.” Chen says his “goals this season [were] the same as for every season I’ve done track: to set a personal time and to stay active and fit.”
Even though Chen believes in hard work, he also likes to stay relaxed. He says that he thinks it is “most important to have fun and not be weighed down by stress.” He believes the most important thing he learned in high school is “how valuable friendships are,” and they have helped him “find balance between academics and having fun.” He feels that “the most important part of high school is not to get straight A’s or ace every exam but to nurture one’s talent.”
He also feels that all of his teachers and friends have impacted his life in many important ways. Most importantly, Chen has learned from his teachers that “[he is] responsible for [his] own success,” and “happiness is success and ultimately, those who are the happiest are those who follow their passions and engage in activities they enjoy.” According to Chen, “every teacher” he had influenced him in some way. He particularly appreciated Computer Programming teacher Paul Marques’ strategy of having students manage their own time, forcing him to be “more responsible.”
According to Chen’s track coach, David Londino, he is “a good senior leader,” and his “work ethic and dedication to the team is a model for our younger runners.” Londino thinks that Chen’s confidence has developed and he “knows what he is capable of.” He says that “he leads by example and will do anything in his power to help the team.”
Chen has been inspired mostly by his coach throughout his high school experience. According to Chen, Londino “has a very clear outlook on life and he applies his values when coaching. He constantly reminds us about the importance of perseverance and discipline.” Chen believes that these concepts are “not only essential in improving as a track athlete, but also as a person,” and Londino “emphasizes techniques to develop one’s character.”
Chen advises that students to “try different [things]” and find where they are comfortable so that they may “do what they are good at.”
Even though this is Chen’s last season on the track team at MHS, he wants to keep his passion for track going. He still plans to run on his own time to keep in shape. When asked if he had any advice for Chen, Londino said, “You only go away to college once, so work hard but don’t forget to have fun.”