Laura Wong, the valedictorian of Saint Dominic Academy Class of 2023, sits in front of Holy Cross Church in Lewiston on Thursday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

AUBURN — Laura Wong never set out to be the valedictorian of her class at Saint Dominic Academy.

During her high school years, the Lewiston student was more concerned with learning, less so with grades.

“But it was nice when I found out,” she said. “It was super exciting.”

Yet, when Wong talks about her work as editor-in-chief of the high school yearbook, her face immediately lights up with pride.

Wong particularly enjoys writing yearbook blurbs for special events like prom and senior prank day. This year, seniors moved the tables and chairs from the commons to the gym, held a cookout, created a string maze in a hallway, blew up more than 1,000 balloons to fill the front entryway, and set up a swimming pool inside of a Uhaul, she said.

Throughout it all, she was snapping photos and recording details for the yearbook, the same as she’s done for many other events throughout the years. Currently, she’s working to put together a video of senior prank day and print a QR code in the yearbook.


“She has an incredible catalog of photographs that she’s taken throughout their entire school career,” said Director of Enrollment Dawn Theriault. “Not just high school — I mean, she has really chronicled their journey through school. It’s quite amazing to look at what she’s recorded.”

Making sure to include the little details from these events makes Wong especially happy, like the fact that many seniors brought two pairs of shoes to prom (one pair to dance with, another to look good). She also made sure to include a photo and caption about the seventh-grade student who served drinks at the event, thinking one day he’ll be excited to find himself in the 2023 yearbook.

“I love putting down those memories for people,” she said.

Theriault, who taught English for 22 years at Saint Dominic Academy until last year, said Wong is a passionate, energetic and loyal student who has an exceptional work ethic.

“She has a ton of school spirit, loves to generate activities and come up with these creative ways to express school spirit,” she said. “Really, she has this dynamic way of drawing people in and getting them to be excited about the same things that she’s excited about.”

Outside of classes, Wong is a talented singer who performs in the school choir and local music festivals, and who also enjoys creating artwork by drawing, painting and other means.


“Really, whatever I can get my hands on,” she said. “When I get bored of one medium, I try another. It’s very fun.”

Once, for a history class assignment, she even shaped and decorated a cake to resemble a baked ham.

She is also an assistant chaplain at Saint Dominic, helping to organize retreats and activities for Catholic schools week.

Wong will continue her studies at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island this fall. She plans to study marine science, but said she’s also interested in education and literature.

She said it’s OK for college-bound students to not know what they want in a school right away. Wong said her first list of prospective colleges was based entirely on the price tag, until her college counselor encouraged her to consider other factors, like the opportunities and quality of life on campus.

“Go somewhere where you feel the most comfortable, somewhere where you can see yourself having a lot of fun,” she said. “Seriously, consider that place … If the clubs look interesting to you, if the classes look interesting to you, totally go for it.”


What sold Roger Williams, however, was a meeting with a current student during a tour of one of their science labs, she said.

“There was someone there who had majored in marine biology and minored in art,” she said. “She had combined the two by doing illustrations for the marine biology department, and I thought that was so cool. I was like, ‘I want to do that.'”

Wong says she will miss the close community she has at Saint Dominic Academy, where she’s attended since kindergarten. She said she’ll also miss seeing her mom, a Saint Dominic math teacher, every day at school.

“I think my mother being a teacher at Saint Doms has been a huge part of my growth at Saint Doms because I could always just go up and talk to her,” she said. “She made sure that I made good decisions …  she always had the best advice.”

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