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Get to know Southeast Bulloch 2024 Valedictorian Victor Lee

Lee will attend Notre Dame in the fall to study finance, something he's been interested in since he was a child. He has an impressive list of academic and extracurricular accomplishments but counts his friendships and memories made as equally important parts of his high school experience.

This is the final installment of the profiles of Bulloch County Schools 2024 valedictorians. Special thanks to Bulloch County Schools for highlighting these impressive students and sharing their stories with us!

Victor Lee, 18, son of Jaehyuk Lee and Jisun Choi of Statesboro, is the valedictorian of Southeast Bulloch High School’s Class of 2024.

He will be attending the University of Notre Dame in the fall where he plans to major in finance.

“I've always been interested in the field of finance since I was young, and it is a fun topic for me,” Victor said.

He was also accepted to the University of Michigan, the University of Georgia, and New York University, but after much deliberation, he chose Notre Dame. He is looking forward to moving to South Bend, Indiana, and finding clubs to join, making new connections, and meeting new friends.

Victor is happy to be valedictorian, but admits it wasn’t easy, and it came with a great deal of pressure.

“My parents are proud of me, and they think it was a cool feat. Since fifth-grade, there's always been a constant pressure to not lose my first-place ranking, so it’s been a very high-pressure environment all my life. Being valedictorian was not always my goal, but after having the highest grade point average after sophomore year, I figured that maybe I could do it, and I decided to lock in.”

Victor admitted that the race for his school’s top academic spot was a close race with his friend, Kara Mattos, who is SEBHS’s salutatorian.

“We are friends. We always chatted in school about our classes, our favorite teachers, and homework assignments.”

Two of his favorite teachers were Corey Green, who was his English teacher, and Danielle Hibbs, his Honors Biology and Advanced Placement Biology teacher.

“Mr. Green was one of my favorite teachers because entering his class was something I looked forward to everyday, unlike some of my other classes. Ms. Hibbs, despite her class being one of my hardest, she made it easy to learn and a fun learning moment.”

Victor tied with his classmate, William Wu, to be the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) students for SEBHS. He chose Ms. Hibbs, who taught him in ninth and tenth grades, to be his STAR teacher.

“Science and biology have always been a struggle for me,” Victor said. “Ms. Hibbs personally guided me through my rough spots and moments when I doubted myself. Her class was one of four AP classes I took that semester. When I was overloaded and stressed by coursework, she always made sure I understood everything before a test, and helped me understand topics I struggled with. Her sophomore class was one of my most memorable classes, making it through with my table of friends and Ms. Hibbs. She showed me that I could overcome an advanced science class, something I was scared of before I took her class.”

Hibbs, who also serves as the school’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) coach, describes Victor as an “incredible, tenacious, and ambitious young man who is going to take the business and finance world by storm.”

“I was able to witness his development as a resilient, well-rounded scholar who is unafraid to take on challenges and fight to achieve his goals,” Hibbs said. “His sharp mind, candor, charisma, and grit are unparalleled. I know he has what is needed to find success and make his mark in this rapidly changing world. I was beyond honored to have been selected as his STAR teacher, and I hope that he knows that he is my STAR student, that I will always remember him fondly, and wish him the very best in all his future endeavors.”

In addition to being STAR student, Victor was also a Governors Honors Program semifinalist, and he received a merit award and a rural recognition award from the College Board who administers college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT.

Victor says he’s favorite thing about school has been making friends and memories, in fact, friendship was the theme of his valedictory address.

“Friends are the family you can choose, and sometimes the only people there for you are your friends.”

He counts Will Nelson, a fellow classmate and graduate whom he met in third-grade, as his closest friend and the person who has influenced his life the most both academically and personally.

“Will and I always took the same classes, studied together, and have done everything together since third grade. We still go fishing together, hang out, and go out to eat if we're bored.”

Victor’s school and extracurricular activities didn’t leave must time to be bored. He was president of his school’s National Honor Society, president of its Future Business Leaders of America chapter, and a member of the National Beta Club, Sports Club, and student council. He was also a member of SEBHS’s cross country and track and field teams, achieving a top-three finish in region relays and a top-three finish as an individual as a junior varsity runner.

Victor has attended schools in Bulloch County since elementary school beginning with Sallie Zetterower Elementary School, sixth grade at Langston Chapel Middle School, then Southeast Bulloch Middle and High schools from eighth through twelfth grades.

His younger sister, Vivienne, will be a rising freshman at Southeast Bulloch High School this coming school year. Victor has this advice for her and the other students.

“Lock in and study as hard as you can your freshman, sophomore, and junior years so you can loosen up and have some fun your senior year.”