By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published June 7, 2012
Giovanni Righi graduated from Collins Hill High School in Suwanee as the Class of 2012 salutatorian. He will be attending the University of Georgia as a Foundation Fellow. Righi, 18, grew up in Lawrenceville and can be seen volunteering at the St. Lawrence Church annual food drive and giving his time in the lector and altar server ministries. He is the son of Stefano and Eliana Righi.
The questions and answers below offer more insight into the hopes and expectations of this young Catholic who has been an academic standout in one of the metro area’s high schools.
Q: What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
A. Balance is key. Hard work is extremely important in your studies, but so is staying physically fit, getting enough sleep, and spending time with friends. When I reach out and work hard at all of these things, I find the use of my time to be much more fruitful.
Q. What advice would you give new students starting their high school career?
A. Work hard and stay in school. You’ll find that simply connecting to the school opens up so many possibilities when you go out and look for them. And, of course, you work hard once you’re there by staying focused and doing your work.
Q. What is the most significant faith experience you had during high school?
A. A retreat done through Life Teen at Covecrest (retreat center) freshman year. It’s so memorable to me simply because I realized that my faith in this entity and the principles it gives me are such powerful tools in my life.
Q. Who is a person you look up to and why?
A. I often find myself looking up to people that I find used their ingenuity for the benefit of mankind: Martin Luther King in igniting a force against racism; Gutenberg with his printing press; Newton for mathematics and physics; Mother Teresa for proving the power of local and concerted sympathetic efforts.
Q. You’ll be attending UGA in the fall? What do you hope to study?
A. For now I’m thinking ecology and evolutionary biology, but I’m also interested in biochemistry, public policy, economics, philosophy and physics.
Q. What is your favorite quote?
A. I’ve never been much of one for quotes. Perhaps it’s Franklin’s “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Although if I can take one from a book: “… how much happier that man is who believes his town to be the world, than he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow” (Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”). Although it may seem a dismal quote, I love Shelley’s recognition of the local place in one’s happiness, something that took me long to appreciate.
Q. What would be a dream job 10 years from now? In 2022, where would you like to be?
A. I have absolutely no idea. Perhaps it would be teaching at a university and doing my own research, or perhaps it would be rallying people as an activist for some environmental cause. I do dream, though, that through studies and collection of many people’s ideas (including my own), I can make some improvement on our treatment of the environment.