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Holland High celebrates Class of 2015 top scholars

Holland’s Class of 2015 -- 220 students strong -- included several scholars. At the top of the list, as determined by grades and weighted difficulty of courses, are Valedictorian Clara Bakker and Salutatorian Raymond Surya.


Clara Bakker, the daughter of Philip and Robin Bakker, plans to attend Columbia University in New York City. She hasn’t declared a major but said her primary interest is studying applied mathematics in biology or ecology.

“I’ll always be grateful for the kindness and support I’ve felt from this community, especially principals, teachers and students,” Bakker said.

She was active in Student Council, National Honor Society, Art Club, Forensics, Cross Country and Tennis.

A violinist, Bakker said her favorite classes were orchestra, Latin, biology and chemistry.

Bakker’s brother, Trevor Bakker, was Holland High’s valedictorian in 2006. He just ended a job with the Consumer Finance Protection Agency in Washington D.C. and will soon begin working at his alma mater, Harvard University, Clara said.

Bakker’s sister, Alexa Bakker, was salutatorian of the Holland High Class of 2011. She recently graduated from Cornell University and will be continuing environmental studies at Yale, Clara said.


Raymond Surya is the son of Mary Johnson and Paul Surya.

He has been accepted at the University of Michigan, where he plans to prepare for a career in engineering.

However, Surya is considering taking a “gap year” to serve as a youth mentor in Massachusetts through AmeriCorps.

Raymond’s older brother, Dominic Surya, also took a “gap year” between high school and college through another organization. Dominic, one of the top scholars of the Class of 2011, is now studying philosophy and religion at a Chicago area university, Raymond said.

At Holland High, Raymond Surya, a cellist, was active in orchestra, cross-country, track and field, and Quiz Bowl.

He also held a part-time job at Captain Sundae’s southside Holland location.

“What I’m going to remember most about Holland High are the teachers and the students,” Surya said. “They are what make Holland High, Holland High.”