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Posted at 09:42 AM ET, 08/24/2012

Toni Hinton: ‘My inspiration is . . . my curiosity’

They were at the top of their respective classes just a few short months ago: the 2012 valedictorians. In June, they gave speeches and basked in the celebration of their high school accomplishments. Today, we celebrate these young scholars as they head off to college. Their words, as the passages below show, are hopeful and confident, like our young men and women should be as they enter the cusp of adulthood. One wants to be an economist; another a museum curator; a third actuary and one a doctor. These young Prince George’s men and women are just several examples of the thousands of emerging county residents ready to make an impact on the world.
Toni Hinton (Tracy A. Woodward - THE WASHINGTON POST)

When I first started school, I wasn’t really thinking in terms of, “Oh, let me be the smartest girl in the class.” I thought more in terms of, “Let me do my work so I can get myself in a better position later on.” I love to learn. I never really had a bad subject. So overall, I just like the idea of education.

I was always a good student. When I was younger, I really, really liked to read. I usually would pick up books that were on a summer reading list, but two or three grades ahead of mine. That helped me a lot, too, especially with my vocabulary and grammar skills.

My inspiration is probably my curiosity.

My strategy [for success] is to prioritize, mostly because I’m going on a combination of two scholarships, and I know that to keep those scholarships I have to keep my GPA up and stay in the books. But it won’t be purely academic. There’s also room for social development. I’m playing hopefully on the softball team when I get there. And I’m also joining a couple of groups, like the Women of Destiny. It’s a freshman mentoring group. I’ll try to stay involved so the academics don’t hit me too hard.

I did my research and since I love math so much, I looked for professions in the area of math and I saw actuary. When I found out that Morgan State had the program, I was excited because I’d intended to apply there anyway.I want to spread my knowledge. I want to help people learn how to manage their money and budget and be able to afford the things that they want to buy. Because you can buy a lot of stuff now and end up broke later, and that stuff won’t be any use to you.

I’ve always been good with managing money. I’ve never really been a big spender. Actuarial science taps into that slightly with allotment for payments.

It may have came from my dad. We’ve always been, we like to say “frugal.” It wasn’t an issue of not having money, it’s just the best way to spend it.

Toni Hinton graduated from Largo High School and will attend Morgan State University, where she plans to major in actuarial science.

— Interview by Carla Broyles

More from The RootDC

Darnell Lisby: ‘My mother...did a lot in my life’

Ruth Petit-Homme: ‘I feel like that’s what I need to do’

Tramon McZeal: ‘I be a good student’

By Washington Post staff  |  09:42 AM ET, 08/24/2012

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