Peng and McCabe as student-athletes of the year

Gaby Dinh, Web Editor

As a part of the CIF-Southern Section, a high school can recognize a male and female senior varsity athlete for having a GPA higher than a 3.5 and being actively involved in extracurricular activities. The award focuses not only on athletic performance, but also on how well-rounded the student athlete is. This year, Diamond Bar High School has chosen seniors Derek Peng and Molly McCabe as the school’s student-athletes of the year.

Peng, the co-captain of water polo, maintains a 4.0 GPA and is involved in Leo Club, Marching Band, Robotics, CSF, FBLA, and Link Crew. However, his dedication to his extracurricular activities and academics lead to some conflicts.

“Because I had so many conflicting schedules, especially between marching band and water polo since they were in the same season, I had to prioritize one over the other,” Peng said via Facebook message. “It was a tough decision for me to push marching band in the background, since I’ve been dedicated to it for my entire high school career, but as the water polo varsity co-captain, I had an obligation and responsibility to my still developing team.”

Being chosen as one of the school’s student-athletes was a surprise to Peng. He had no idea that he was nominated for the award, but recalled his coach asking him what his extracurricular activities were.

“You can probably guess at my shock when Mr. Ferguson, our school’s director of athletics, called me out of class to tell me of the incredible news,” Peng said. “I’m extremely proud and honored to be bestowed as our school’s male student athlete, to get to represent my water polo team, all of our hard work and determination, as well as the entire athletics department.”

DBHS is not the only school that has recognized Peng’s talents. Harvard University, with a 6.2% acceptance rate this year, has accepted Peng for the Class of 2019.

McCabe, on the other hand, is captain of the girls varsity basketball team, president of both Best Buddies and Gay Straight Alliance Club, Editor-In-Chief for Yearbook, and a member of the French Club.

“[Having all these activities] takes a lot of planning and a lot of delegation. I had to realize that I can’t do every little thing and that I couldn’t micromanage all of my clubs and organizations,” McCabe said via Facebook message. “So I don’t really have a lot of free time to mess around, but [my activities] kept me really focused. People drive me to do everything I do.”

Similar to Peng, McCabe had no idea she was nominated until her father told her to call Ferguson, who told her that she had been nominated and selected.

“I felt so honored to be selected from a pool of such great athletes because this school is filled with so many dedicated and involved people. It was completely humbling,” McCabe said. “I feel like it really recognizes the importance of being a well-rounded individual which is something that I not only value about myself but also about others as well.”

Next fall, McCabe will be attending Seattle University and will major in psychology.

“The best part is no matter what I do after high school, everything that I worked for and everything that I was involved in is going to mean something to me,” McCabe said.