Portrait of a Hilltopper

Valerie (Val) Scimeca

Elgin Academy 2016 | Stanford 2020

With her stellar record of grades, service, and leadership, Val distinguished herself as an excellent student and exceptional member of the Elgin Academy community. A faculty member described her as “every teacher’s dream student--bright, disciplined, hard-working, confident, and unfailingly upbeat and enthusiastic.” Val, who was enrolled as a kindergartner, was consistently the kind of student who worked well as part of a group, was always willing to listen to other people's’ views, and was not only willing but eager to take on leadership roles. Her leadership roles are too numerous to detail, but it should be noted that they extended beyond Elgin Academy to include state and national opportunities with the Junior Classical League.

Valerie Scimeca '16

Valerie left Elgin Academy equipped with the know-how and the self-confidence to attend Stanford University where as a sophomore economics major she became a research assistant at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and as a junior an Intern with Cresset Wealth Advisors, an investment firm.  Valerie graduated in June 2020  with a B.A. in Economics and an M.S. in Management Science & Engineering. She also received the Award of Excellence, which is given to 10% of the graduating class each year. She now works in wealth management as an Analyst at the J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

My Elgin Academy education was the single greatest gift my parents could have ever given me. Yes, it's about the experiences I had here, but more so it's about who I've become as a result. That is the greatest gift.

Elgin Academy is a college preparatory school—having equipped me with understanding and confidence as I embark on my time at Stanford University—but it is so much more. I am prepared for every aspect of life, not only academic. Every building block of an education—the class style, the curriculum, the environment, the culture—boils down to the people that comprise it. I believe that is what makes the Elgin Academy education so distinguished: the people.

elementary student and high school student collaborating

The two most critical pieces of my education were the faculty I was influenced by and the students who surrounded me. It is easy to learn from teachers who not only know you well but know how you learn best. They are able to tailor each student's individual education. Being surrounded by contemplative students is equally as inspiring. Inadvertently, we motivate each other. To be surrounded by hard-working, critically-thinking peers not only improved my experience but also enhanced the curriculum and the opportunities that arose from it.

I am exceedingly grateful for my parents' decision to enroll me at Elgin Academy. I was presented with innumerable resources and opportunities during my time here, but the paramount benefit does not disappear after graduation. It is the lasting gift of who I have become.” Val Scimeca ‘16