LHS valedictorian wants to improve medical treatments

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories on the valedictorians of Suffolk’s five high schools. Watch this space the rest of the week for the other honorees.

Maya Feldt, 18, has been pushing to the top of her class since her freshman year at Lakeland High School. She will graduate as valedictorian with a 4.27 GPA.

She credited her parents Stacey and Philip Feldt Jr. for her tremendous work ethic.

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“It wasn’t about just being No. 1,” she said. “It was just pushing myself and trying to better myself without worrying about other people.”

Her favorite subject has been a tossup between chemistry and calculus, but the self-described “science geek” eventually landed on chemistry. She looked back on her AP calculus class with teacher Scott Reed and AP chemistry with Amy Jacobs with fondness for both the teachers and challenges.

“They just showed me that I’m a work in progress, as we all are,” she said about Reed and Jacobs. “A lot of things just come to me but going up to those advanced classes was when first had to really struggle. It redefined me, because I realized that you have to really work towards your goals, even if it’s going to be difficult.”

She said she enjoys chemistry and math because they offer “concrete answers.”

“I’ve always loved math because I like answers that are set in stone,” she said.

Her time at LHS has been marked by school pride and the blue-and-white face paint and clothes at the homecoming games and pep rallies, where each year seemed to bring more and more people out in full regalia, she said.

“Lakeland is full of brilliant and wonderful minds, and I’m just thankful that I was able to be immersed and surrounded by those people, because they helped bring me up,” she said.

She participated in National Honor Society, the Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society and as a delegate for the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists, in which she attended conferences and narrowed down her career interests.

She’s pursuing a dual degree program that will include a biomedical science degree through the University of Lynchburg and an engineering degree through the University of Virginia. She also has an upcoming internship with the BASF corporation that will give her more exposure to lab work.

She wants to research pathology — specifically virology — and find more “concrete answers” in treatments for patients and biotechnology. When she was young, she was diagnosed with an immune deficiency and was helped by doctors and researchers, which is where her love of science began.

“They deserve a lot of recognition, because they do so much, and I just want to be able to do that for someone like they did for me,” she said.