Fike’s pinnacle students are best of friends

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Fike High School’s highest-achieving students say the International Baccalaureate program’s camaraderie is one of the main reasons they succeeded in school.

Co-valedictorians Lillie Quinn and Chibuike “Chibby” Uwakwe and salutatorian Keifer Snedeker said they each had each other’s back as they completed the 2018-19 school year.

“I think it is a common misconception that people who try hard in school are in a cutthroat competition and I really don’t think that has been our experience at all,” said Lillie. “These two guys are my best friends. I love them to death and I hope for the best for them.

Lillie found herself competing against herself more than anyone else at Fike.

“I think I could count on pretty much anyone in the program,” Keifer said.

“I think that is something really good about the class of 2019 in general at Fike,” Chibby said. “I don’t think we are that competitive at all.”

The three said they met a lot of people through the IB program.

“I have met some of my best friends like these two,” Chibby said.

Keifer said he’s made friends through sports and carried with him the friendships he had since middle school, but IB was a program where those friendships tightened.

“I think IB gave me some of my closest friends because you are with those people each and every day,” Keifer said. “I definitely think the IB program is one of the things that mattered to me most here at Fike and it brought me closer to people that I probably wouldn’t have been close to otherwise. It brought people from Beddingfield and from Hunt to Fike for the IB program and then the other people in the school that I never would have met or began talking to before IB.”

Lillie, daughter of Clerk of Superior Court Caroline Farris Quinn, will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall and possibly study political science.

Chibby, son of Evan and Ijeoma Uwakwe, plans to attend Harvard in the fall and study biomedical engineering with a goal of attending Harvard Medical School.

Keifer, son of Bonnie and Scott Snedeker, will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and study courses that will lead to a career in psychiatry.

Each student had different methods of meeting obligations.

“Organization was really critical for me,” Lillie said. “I had a planner and I made a to-do list every single day. I think that was really helpful for me. I think it is best to find your own way to organize yourself and keep yourself motivated.”

Chibby kept track by using the calender and a to-do list on his phone.

“I am always on my phone as a teenager and I can also have notifications, so I can be notified of things that I’m doing,” Chibby said. “I think it is a little bit quicker than writing it down.”

Keifer kept track of things in his head.

All three students were in the National Honor Society and each participated in various volunteer efforts.

Lillie and Chibby tutored for Upward Bound. Keifer and Chibby ran track and field or cross country.

Lillie coached for Girls on the Run at Save-A-Youth for three years.

“I think that was a really great opportunity too,” Lillie said. “I think I have been pretty privileged in life and it was pretty different for me to see how really different other people live. It was an eye-opening experience for me and I love those girls so much.”

Chibby created a diabetes awareness program where he tested students in coordination with Duke University.

For his senior year, Kiefer went solo for his extracurriculars by painting and making an electric guitar from scratch.

Lillie said younger students need to prepare for high school by learning to read early in life.

Chibby said students need to “just do what you love.”

“When I was young, I was looking up to people,” Chibby said. “I didn’t try to copy what they did, but I tried to achieve similar successes in things that I’m interested in myself.”

“Do what’s best for you and follow the interests that are best for you,” Keifer said.

All three students said they had enormous support from family, friends and teachers.

“I don’t think the words ‘thank you’ are enough,” Lillie said.