Pyae Sone Hmine: 2022 Valedictorian

Courtesy of The City School District of Albany

Courtesy of The City School District of Albany

Sasha Roter, Editor-in-Chief

The beginning of October proved both an exciting and anxious time for Albany High School Seniors as their class ranks were released academy by academy during the mid-school day. A mix of curiosity and competitive spirit flooded the conversations of such students soon after, everybody eager to find out others’ class positions and boast of their own. Amidst the madness, one question was repeatedly raised, “Who is this year’s Valedictorian?” Through some investigation, I was able to seek and sit down with this accomplished individual on November 22nd for an interview, his humility stunning in the face of such a high honor. 

Pyae Sone Hmine, also known as Robert, moved to the United States from Yangon, Myanmar in 2020, during the beginnings of the widespread Covid pandemic. According to Hmine, it was difficult to make friends at first, Albany High only offering virtual classes for the majority of the 2020-2021 school year. Nevertheless, his grades flourished during this time, Hmine emphasizing the importance of being consistent with time management and keeping track of schoolwork during the year. “Just do your work every day and enjoy it,” he advises to present and future underclassmen. 

Hmine at the National Honor Society Induction

Hmine takes this philosophy to work beyond the classroom as well, being involved in many extracurricular activities and programs surrounding his mostly STEM-dominated interests. Having founded the AHS Math Club, Hmine competes in championships including the American Math Competition (AMC), even being awarded the “School Winner” recognition in the spring of 2021 for his success.

 This senior is also the electrical engineer of the Robotics team, his job being to program the robot that the group builds throughout the year. Over the summer of 2021, Hmine had the opportunity to take part in a robotics program offered by the MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute in which he was able to program drones every day from 10 AM to 5. Although the experience was virtual due to the pandemic, Hmine looks back on it fondly, asserting, “it gave me a broader view than I’ll ever have.” Within the course, he was able to program his own home security system and autonomous drone, a valuable precedent for his ensuing college focus in computer engineering. 

Yet, some of the valedictorian’s interests stem beyond the world of robotics and engineering. Hmine is a member of the AHS Art Club, drawing and painting regarded as a fun hobby during the stresses of school. As he expresses, “Drawing makes me let go of all of the things around me.” Hmine is also a member of The Nest, AHS’ Newspaper team, in which his articles are mainly concentrated around upcoming technology and innovative breakthroughs in science, homologous with his interest in the STEM field. Therefore, it came as little surprise when Hmine asserted that his long-lasting passion for computer engineering had always surpassed those of other fields, stating that “growing up, I was more interested in technology” in comparison with the arts and humanities. 



Two of Hmine’s artworks.


Now a senior at Albany High School, Pyae Sone Hmine has one more thing to add to his resume: valedictorian. When asked about his sentiments being AHS’ class of 2022 top ranked student, Hmine responded with “Yes, it means something to me but it doesn’t have to represent you.” The senior continued to express little regard for class ranks, seeming them an inaccurate measure of a student’s success. Yet, upon the information collected thus far about this year’s bright valedictorian, it would seem the rank system, at least in terms of Hmine’s high placement, was not too erroneous. 

Overall, the future looks quite promising for Pyae Sone Hmine- be certain to keep a lookout for his name on future innovative discoveries in years to come. After all, AHS is a mere propeller in this young scholar’s voyage.