The 2022 Valedictorian: Alex Koong


Alex Koong playing tennis

Alex Koong has many things to look forward to this coming year: an education at an Ivy League school, a burgeoning tennis career and a promising major in statistics. However, the present is looking just as lustrous, with Alex being named the class of 2022’s valedictorian.

Despite the excitement of receiving such recognition, earning that title was not his primary focus.

“I’m really grateful that I got it, but it wasn’t something that kept me up at night, or left me desperately wanting to boost my GPA,” Koong said.

Koong humbly admitted that he believes that there are a lot of other kids that deserve the title just as much as he does.

“I worked pretty hard for it,” Koong said.“But I would say there are definitely other kids out there who worked just as hard as me and I just got lucky with the whole valedictorian thing.”

Although his school work is incredibly important to him, tennis still remained the driving force in his life.

“The higher your GPA is, the easier it is for college to recruit you because you’re labeled as academically eligible,” Koong said. “And so I guess it was more of the mindset of me trying to have a high GPA for tennis recruiting, and it just so happened that I ended up being a valedictorian.” 

Koong elaborated on his love for tennis and how the game affects him.

“It can be really painful, and you don’t always win and your body always hurts afterwards and you’re just exhausted,” Koong said. “But the thrill of competition – that’s what really drives me to love tennis.” 

This love he talked of was something cultivated years ago.

“When I was seven or eight, my dad took me to a park and we started playing tennis and it just went from there,” Koong said.

This day at the park years ago led to Koong being admitted to Brown University, in Rhode Island, for tennis, which provided an extraordinary opportunity to further pursue his love for the game.

“I can play all four years, play top of the lineup and compete against some of the best players in the country, all while having a successful college career and being able to academically pursue my interests,” Koong said. “And hopefully I can continue to learn and grow as a student.”

Koong’s passion led him to develop a website to help colleges find potential tennis stars.

“I run this website right now called, where I have this algorithm that ranks kids based on their UTR, which is a ranking metric,” Koong said. “So I rank kids by UTR based on graduation class, so college coaches can use my website and don’t have to manually look up everyone’s UTR.” 

Alex Koong and his twin sister Lauren Koong at the HISD Scholars Recognition banquet

On top of this, Alex has been involved in several tennis-based charity events, as well as working as a research intern at MD Anderson. Such drive and ambition does not go unnoticed, as pointed out by his math teacher Jared Sarabia.

“He is a very bright student and a very smart kid, but also very polite and an all-around nice kid,” Sarabia said. “I know there’s some nice kids that can be very smart but very introverted but he’s very open and very respectful.” 

Koong’s friend, senior Griffin Decker, also had glowing words for him.

“He’s naturally gifted with intelligence and I think that he is willing to put the work in when it comes to learning new things,” Decker said.

Decker also had high hopes for Koong’s future, believing him to go on to achieve great things.

“I know he’s probably going to do something crazy – find some new discovery and do something that’s gonna be groundbreaking,” Decker said.