Meet the Class of 2016: Sofia Monter


Alina Panek

“Sofi has a spark of energy and positivity that is contagious,” Principal Anderson said. “She is self-motivated, which has led to her success, but she is also a mentor and seeks to ensure that everyone else succeeds in equal part to her own success.”

By Alina Panek

Sofia Monter, Div. 668 only had a minute to read it in front of the judging administration, which included Mrs. Hanly, the assistant principal and Mrs. Anderson, the principal.

Monter had spent most of her time writing her Valedictorian speech by focusing on the things that she loved about Lane and what makes it special to her.

Monter was chosen Valedictorian after three rounds of finalists. The first round consisted only of Lane Scholars, the top 50 of the senior class.  Then nine finalists were chosen after an application and an interview. The nine were asked to give a speech in front of administration.

“Sofia is an incredibly talented young lady,” Hanly said. “And I have no doubt she will do great things in this world. I could see her becoming an assistant principal!”

The final step after being chosen as a valedictorian finalist is to give her one minute speech. Hanly reminded her that this speech would be given in front of 8,000 people at graduation.

“I’m not really that nervous. I want my speech to be motivational because we have so much talent in this class,” Monter said.

Monter believes she was chosen because of her involvement in school. She is part of the Senior Class officers, president of National Chinese Society, and Northwestern’s Chinese for High Schoolers.

All of these activities and her unique experiences gained made Monter deeply grateful for Lane.

“It has opened so many opportunities for me,” Monter said.

Monter moved to Chicago from Spain, and Spanish is her native language. She learned Chinese because she was encouraged from overcoming the barriers from

learning English. Because of her Chinese classes at Lane, she has been given many opportunities.

“I received the opportunity to go to Chinese classes at Northwestern and University of Chicago. Both were amazing experiences,” Monter said.

According to Ms. Yifang Chang, Monter’s Chinese teacher, Monter “doesn’t stop dreaming because of temporary setbacks.” One example Chang gave is that Monter had the chance to go to China last summer but turned it down because her mother objected. She then instead did the Chinese program at Northwestern.

“Sofia was qualified to receive a scholarship to study abroad in China last summer,” Chang said.  “However, due to her mother’s objections, she could not go. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she applied a Chinese enrichment program offered at Northwestern University, which was close to her home. It fulfilled her mother’s wish and she had opportunity to continue her Chinese language and cultural study.”

But the gift from Lane that she is the most grateful for?

“…..the diversity. I love the diversity here at Lane,” Monter said.  “You can meet anyone from the city of Chicago. So many different cultures and you have friends from all over the city. Even though Lane is such a big school that you can sometimes feel like a number, and by the time you get to senior year you connect those names to a face and you feel like you have a community.”

Sofia, endearingly called Sofi by her teachers, is  “one of the most talented and hardest working students” and describes her as “pure sunshine,” according to Mr. Andrew Fine, an English teacher at Lane.

“Watching Sofi succeed in all she does – from killing it at International Days, to her role as Senior Class Secretary, to now achieving the well-deserved title of Valedictorian for the class of 2016 – Sofi’s motivation and ambition and fearlessness truly fills me with joy.”

A final word that Fine has for Sofi?

“Sofi, always continue to believe in yourself,” Fine said. “You have so much character and integrity and wisdom and heart. Continue to place forth your 100 percent in all you do, be your own ice cream flavor, always look on the bright side, and everything will always work out in the end for you.  Best of luck, and keep in touch!  I will forever feel grateful to have held the honor of teaching such a spectacular student, and such a wonderful person, as you.”