THORNDIKE — Draedyn Furrow, 17, finally feels like his “hard work and determination paid off” now that he has been named valedictorian of Mount View High School’s class of 2022.

“Being the valedictorian of my class was a goal of mine since the seventh grade, and to actually achieve it made me super proud of myself,” Draedyn said. His high aspirations have led him through more than just academics — he is also a three-season athlete, participating in soccer, basketball and baseball.

The Thorndike resident has earned a weighted grade point average of 103.114, including grades for the several honors and college-level classes he has taken. In addition to his academic and athletic accolades, he holds a job at Hannaford and will attend the University of Connecticut in the fall to pursue a degree in chemical engineering.

Even through all these plans, Draedyn keeps his priorities straight. “I plan to enjoy my summer with friends and family,” he said. “I’m a little nervous, but still excited for my future.”

Given the commitment required to be successful as a chemical engineering major, Draedyn is unsure if he will continue to play sports at UConn. “Though recently, I’ve been really considering trying out for the soccer team at UConn,” he said. “I’ll definitely continue to play sports even if it’s just playing pick-up games with my friends.”

There is no doubt that Draedyn understands and values hard work, but he is also able to succeed in other aspects of his life. “It’s important to do well in school, but it’s also important to balance your life,” he said. “Leave yourself time to do the things you love. Hang out with your friends, play sports, join clubs.”

His advice to students who hope to rise to the top of their class is to be conscious of the fact that “you’ll still need to sacrifice a lot of time to studying and doing homework. It takes some dedication and hard work, but it’s not impossible to reach your goal,” he said.

“Enjoy it while it lasts; time flies by and before you know it you’ll be all grown up. It’s important to make memories and get involved. Don’t be the kid who just goes to school and back home.”

Other students ranked in the top 10 of Mount View’s class of 2022 are Benjamin Heath, salutatorian; Mia Rae, who ranked third in the class; Emma McPherson, fourth; Mckenzie Kunesh, fifth; Cali Warren, sixth; Cassondra Heath, seventh; Eric Braley, eighth; Dawson Bierwas, ninth; and Lacey Blakesley, 10th.