Video: Brody discusses the importance of being “weird.”
Valedictorian: Brody Skiff
Receiving the distinguished title of Valedictorian, Brody Skiff has stood out as the top student at Coronado High School with the highest GPA, taking the most rigorous courses. When asked about this feat, Brody said, “Why I feel like I was perceived to succeed was because of the encouraging natures of the teachers and how invested they were in all of the students.”
With a great faculty at CHS, one teacher that stood out to him was his AP Chemistry teacher Mrs. Kim. Taking on this challenge, Brody found that Mrs. Kim’s support and fostering a family with his peers helped him succeed in one of the most difficult classes offered on campus.
However, of all the courses he has taken, AP Physics 2, taught by Mr. Bill Lemei, would have the most impact on Brody, as the class explores more than just the study of motion. Mr. Lemei, who is known as a “wizard” around campus, offered Brody a new outlook on his existence by constantly engaging his students and helping them find universal significance in everything they discuss. “As far as the curriculum, you’re not really tested on these things, but when you’re studying them, you’re forced to be asking questions about why you’re here and why you should appreciate the fact that you’re alive,” Brody shares.
Excelling in every single one of his science classes, it is no surprise that he received the plaque for science this year at the Islander Awards, for taking the most AP science courses and receiving the highest mean score on the AP exams. He also received medallion awards in the areas of mathematics and English, as well as many other Islander Awards.
While many of his teachers and peers recognize Brody as a scholar, he is also an accomplished musician and composer. He began his musical journey in middle school with classical piano performance. As he gained more and more interest, it evolved into music composition.
“Music is very academic in a way,” he says. “There are the theory and science that goes behind it, and it’s a whole procedure. Why I appreciate it so much is because it is the perfect blend of science, English, history, math, etc.” As someone who enjoyed and excelled in every course he has taken, music has allowed Brody to synthesize all of these fields and tell his unique story.
Of every classical genre, Brody has found most reward and beauty in French Impressionism. “Think about a Monet painting and all the light imagery involved. It’s a type of music that gives impressions of reality and dreams while dealing with fantastical elements,” he describes.
Influenced and inspired by many French Impressionist composers, Brody wrote and composed an impressionist piece and poem. “It was something that I saw at this musical convention where this pianist played a piece while a poem—that went along with the piece—was being read out loud,” he says. “When I saw this, I wanted to do the same thing, so I submitted this piece along with a poem to the Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC) Composers Today State Contest.” Surely enough, Brody won first place in this prestigious competition out of the countless submissions across the state.
Only the beginning of his musical journey, he was accepted into Stanford University’s musical composition program back in December. As well as classical composition, computer-based, contemporary music grabbed his attention, and he has decided that it will be his focus in terms of his major. In addition to studying music in college, learning French in high school opened his interest towards linguistics, which is something he is considering exploring when he gets to college.
After he graduates from Stanford, Brody plans on pursuing music as a career in either pop music production or classical composition.
Editor’s Note: Above excerpt from Valedictorian/Salutatorian for Class of 2018: Brody Skiff and Isabel Zaller by Andres de la Lama.