Valedictorian Emma Baker, left, and salutatorian Chris Remetta pose for a photo on May 9 at Greenwood Community High School. Noah Crenshaw | Daily Journal

When the valedictorian and salutatorian walk across the stage Friday at Greenwood Community High School, the ceremony will mark the end of a friendly years-long competition between two friends.

Valedictorian Emma Baker and salutatorian Chris Remetta, both 18, have worked hard for the titles throughout their academic careers. Baker had a 4.72 grade point average and Remetta had a 4.61 GPA as of May 9.

For Baker, she didn’t understand what valedictorian was until she was in middle school. But from an early age, people had always told her she was going to be valedictorian one day, she said.

“It’s kind of always been a little bit of a goal of mine because I’m very much like, if people tell me I’m gonna do something, I’m like, ‘OK, so I’ll do it then,’” Baker said. “So I got very competitive with that and I just worked really hard and I’m proud of myself for how hard I worked — and I’m proud of everybody who’s up in the top percent of our class, for how hard they worked.”

It’s also funny, in Remetta’s view, because they’ve both been in these positions for a long time. They’ve known each other since preschool and have always been competitive, he said.


“Now that we’re both ending up being able to talk in front of everyone and impart people with some knowledge or insight before we go, I think that’s really neat because we earned the opportunity to be able to just show that we did the work and we tried really hard,” Remetta said.

It’s not surprising for Baker, since they’ve been in honors classes together since they were “really young,” she said. Remetta and his parents weren’t surprised either, he said.

“They’ve seen us butt heads throughout the years,” Remetta said. “For a very long time, we were tied for first, and then, I got like a B or something and she’s just kept it up since then. So I’m not surprised she’s valedictorian, but … we both have an affinity to be more academically-suited, and we are both very driven as well.”

Baker has been “pretty blessed” that some things come naturally to her, like academics. While it’s not something she had to work “super hard” to get, she still had to study and do her homework, she said.

“It’s just it’s really important to me to do all my homework, but also know that you need to take breaks,” Baker said.

Remetta echoed some of what Baker said, saying that there are certain things he just gets. An example of this is math, excluding Calculus, and English and writing, he said.

However, procrastination has been a struggle at times and is his hardest issue to overcome.

For his senior capstone project, Remetta made a short film; which he plans to study in college. He was not expecting it to take as much time as it did, but it taught him about how to manage time in a professional setting, he said.

“There were a lot of people who had done professional things in that industry who were working with me, and so it was a very difficult thing to learn. I had to fall down a couple of times trying to get back up, but I digress,” Remetta said. “It’s just been important to me to try and overcome those hurdles because that’s been my biggest difficulty when it comes to academics.”

Remetta works best under pressure, he added. But his procrastination was likely exacerbated by the amount of work he was undertaking, he said.

For honors classes, there’s a lot of coursework and oftentimes they overlap. It was hard to figure out what to prioritize, especially on top of work outside of school, Remetta said. Baker echoed this sentiment.


Baker had to work to stay on top of everything and to avoid procrastination, she said. It has been an issue at times, but Baker says there’s a difference between it being a detriment to just waiting until the last minute to complete work because she knows she can get it done on time.

“I think that is a big struggle that most people in high school go through and it’s just learning how to like work through it,” she said.

One challenge for Baker was a change of chemistry teachers her sophomore year of high school. Chemistry is her favorite subject, and she plans to go into biochemistry, so a mid-year change of instructors made her base of knowledge more difficult at the time, she said.

For honors classes, there’s a lot of coursework and oftentimes they overlap. It was hard to figure out what to prioritize, especially on top of work outside of school, Remetta said. Baker echoed this sentiment.

Outside of academics, Baker was a part of the Woodmen Broadcasting Network in various roles — research manager, schedule coordinator and producer. She was also part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for a year and Lady Legacy, a group where high school girls come together and talk about the issues they face, she said.

Baker was also part of Greenwood’s Best Buddies program, captain of the school’s Fine Arts and English academic teams, worked with the USGA LPGA to do golf workshops with little kids and helped show new students around the school.

Throughout Remetta’s time in high school, he was, like Baker, a part of the Woodmen Broadcasting Network. One of the biggest parts of their time with it was streaming school sporting events to a wider audience, and they both earned higher roles in the program, he said.

They also were in Spanish Club together, along with speech and debate. They both participated in the high school’s annual winterization program.

Personally, Remetta was a football team videographer for a club run by parents, creating highlight reels for them. He also did junior varsity track and field for two years and played intramural basketball, he said.

Post-graduation, Remetta plans to go to Indiana University Bloomington to pursue a bachelor’s degree in cinematic arts. As soon as he completes his degree, he wants to get out into the industry and try to be a writer and director, he said.

“For my short, I wrote it, I directed it. I had to be the main actor, although I didn’t want to,” he said. “But what really hooked me on it is the fact that you have control over every aspect of it, so it’s basically just an extension of you. You’re putting all of you into this project and I think that’s really beautiful, honestly, because if somebody puts their all into something and gives it everything that they have, there’s like nothing can go wrong with that.”

As for Baker, she plans to go to Miami University in Ohio to study biochemistry with a double major in pre-medical and pre-health studies. She plans to follow this up with physician’s assistant studies, she said.

“What’s nice about that is you have a lot of lateral movement. You’re not really specialized in anything,” Baker said. “But I do have a specific fascination with like the OB-GYN field and also pediatrics, so to do either one of those, I kind of want to specialize without specializing.”

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