Lucy Arnold is an outstanding scholar who has been described as modest and unassuming, despite her exceptional accomplishments. Ranked No. 1 academically, she has taken more than 12 advanced courses — including independent study — and so far scored 5, the highest grade, on six of the AP exams and 4 on another.
“I was homeschooled and transferred to Peninsula from another school district, so I was unsure how we I would do, but I set high expectations,” she says. “I’m grateful I was able to rise to the occasion and do really well in advance classes.”
Jonathan Bill, who was her AP U.S. history teacher and Knowledge Bowl coach, says Arnold is the “finest student” he has taught in many years.
“I have never made such a statement, but do so now without reservation,” he says. “In my entire 22-year career, I have encountered maybe one or two students as capable as Lucy Arnold.”
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Arnold has pursued diverse interests that included sports, speech and debate and journalism. This year, she is the editor-in-chief of Peninsula’s newspaper, The Outlook, where she started as a reporter and worked her way up. She has also been recognized with a national journalistic award as a junior.
On the speech and debate team since last year, Arnold recently became the state champion for individual impromptu speaking. She says she was terrified last year when she first joined the team, but has since gained a lot of confidence in her public speaking.
Although many academic subjects come naturally to her, Arnold says to keep up her perfect GPA, she has had to find ways to persevere.
“If something’s tough, you don’t give up on it,” she says. “This year, I took on more than I normally do but I’m determined and willing to put enough work into it to succeed.”
Arnold plans to attend Stanford University. Last summer she attended a three-week summer program there in philosophy and literature. Her professors said that her “intellectual seriousness and the care and sensitivity with which she approaches literary and philosophical questions” immediately struck them, and they were very impressed by her final paper.
Although she hasn’t decided on a major yet because she has so many interests, Arnold is leaning toward a medical career related to cancer research. This track was inspired by several people in her life who had cancer.
“All of their struggles have inspired me into looking to help their cause,” she says. “I want to help people who are suffering from it.”
Education: Senior, Peninsula High School
Parents: Rebecca and William Arnold
Activities/Achievements: Ranked No. 1; 12 AP/Honors classes; scored 5 on AP tests for environmental science, biology, world history, European history, language/composition, U.S. History; National Merit Commendation; Stanford Summer Humanities Institute; Wellesley Book Award; Peninsula Outlook editor-in-chief; Speech and Debate state competitor; cross-country; track; Knowledge Bowl; 50 hours of community service; Berkeley Model United Nations Outstanding Research Award; Best of SNO award for journalism; half-marathon runner (top age group awards)
Favorite teacher: Kimberly Napier, English. “She changed the ways in which I look at the world and inspired me daily with her courage, kindness and altruism. She taught me to consider the other person in every encounter and look at things with a more global perspective.”
Best thing about high school: “Not only the students are kind and accepting, but also the teachers are kind, hardworking and passionate about helping students. I will always be grateful to the teachers here for all that they have done to help me grow as an individual.”