Personality: Christopher Tate Gabbert

Spotlight on Richmond Public Schools’ highest achieving student

6/3/2016, 11:45 a.m.
Chris Gabbert doesn’t consider himself a bookworm. “I need to read more on my own,” explains Chris, an 18-year-old senior ...

Chris Gabbert doesn’t consider himself a bookworm. “I need to read more on my own,” explains Chris, an 18-year-old senior at Richmond Community High School. But Chris has been hitting the books — and hard.

Earning a 4.93 GPA during his high school career, Chris is not only the valedictorian at his high school in North Side, he’s also the top-ranking student among all 2016 graduates from Richmond Public Schools.

“People have been happy and proud for me,” says Chris, a low-key young man who loves science and prefers the outdoors and working with his hands.

“When I’m bored, I like to run or workout or take a soccer ball and go outside and find some friends and hang out,” he says. His favorite run is the city’s Buttermilk Trail, a part of the James River Park System that follows the riverfront hills below Riverside Drive in South Richmond and extends to the river’s northern banks via the Boulevard Bridge.

“It’s 6 miles if you cross the bridge,” Chris says. “Sometimes, I stop and walk a little, but I enjoy running.”

Chris’ high school years included engagement in several activities — the National Honor Society, the Environmental Club, the Honor Council, and a year with the soccer team and three years running the 1,600-meter event with the track team at George Wythe High School. Because Richmond Community High doesn’t have sports teams, he competed with the soccer and track teams at the high school in his home district.

With his stellar grades, Chris was wooed by many colleges and universities. However, he accepted the offer to study right here in Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University.

He plans to major in biology — “I always liked all the human sciences” — and will be rooming on campus with one of his best friends from high school who is gravitating toward another STEM field, engineering.

He is looking forward to college and VCU specifically, he says, because “culturally, it’s so diverse.” “I’m looking forward to learning about different religions and countries,” he says.

As for his last summer before entering college, Chris says he is hunting for a job “or anything I can do with my hands, like carpentry or being a carpenter’s assistant.”

He said he was waiting to hear from a summer program he applied for, but recently learned he was turned down. “Maybe I’ll mow lawns or something,” Chris says. “I do want to save so I won’t have to struggle financially in the fall. I won’t have to do work-study,” he says, “but I’ll have to get loans. By working in the summer, I can save a little on the loans.” Here’s a look at Richmond Public Schools’ Class of 2016 valedictorian, Christopher T. Gabbert:

Latest honor: Earning the distinction of being No.1 among all 2016 Richmond Public Schools graduates.

GPA: 4.93

Current high school: Richmond Community High School.

Size of your high school’s Class of 2016: 57 students.

Leadership roles in school activities: Vice president of National Honor Society.