As the school year wraps up, seniors Nini Tran and Angelica Garcia are eagerly waiting to be announced as the 2017 Valedictorians. Although Garcia and Tran didn’t set out to become valedictorians as freshmen, they took on the challenge during sophomore year. Both seniors meet the standards of being a Valedictorian by tying for the highest grade point average (GPA), which is a 4.8.
“I don’t really see this as a competition because I think we both would’ve been fine if the other got it,” said Garcia.
Garcia and Tran have been good friends since the fifth grade. The two said they help each other stay focused in school by doing homework together and asking each other for help.
“I think we both had a great play in each other’s success and it makes me happy to know that I’m standing on stage with a friend rather than an unfamiliar face,” said Tran.
Tran said she feels like pressure everyday to finish the year with her final set of A’s. Questions like “Am I going to make it?” are a frequent stress and a heavy weight on her shoulders.
“Everyday I wonder why I put myself through all these hardships and stress for a number on a piece of paper,” said Tran, but said she still pushes through because she knows it will be worth it in the end.
Every quarter, Tran said she has a class that’s on the borderline of an ‘A.’ She would always talk to teachers to see if there is anything she could do in order to raise her grade. Especially during semester exams, Tran spends extra time studying her most difficult subjects.
“At the end of the day, I tell myself that it’s not the end of the world if it I don’t get to be rank one, but usually things work out with a little extra push in my last assessments or homework,” said Tran.
There are days where they would struggle doing a massive amount of work. Both Valedictorians questioned themselves and started to doubt why they stress so hard. However, they have a positive mindset of finishing what they started, which was to rank number one in the school.
“What motivated me the most were the opportunities that come with it (Valedictorian) and the scholarships I could potentially receive as a result of it,” said Garcia.
Despite their abilities to keep a strong mentality, there are classes that they struggle in, they said. Tran’s strongest subject is math, but English and history are her weak points, she said.
Tran has received praise from teachers about her work ethic and dedication.
“She is more than just on task,” said AP Statistics teacher Tim Jacklin. “She’s helping people around her and she’s thinking ahead. She’s one of the more independent students I ever had.”
Garcia’s said her strongest subject is math while her hardest is AP Physics. They both use different strategies on how to get help with the certain topic that is incomprehensible.
Tran’s first priority is to get her resources from teachers. Garcia, however, would first try to independently study until she understands the material. If she continues to struggle, she looks to her friends. Teachers say that Garcia is an outstanding student and always stays on task.
“She is a phenomenal student, she’s very smart, and picks up on things very quickly,” said AP Calculus teacher Casey Brown.
They are able to maintain their perfect GPA, while attending clubs and outside school activities. Garcia is the Vice President of Spanish club and is part of the Senior Class committee. Tran is a member of the National Honor Society (NHS), speech and debate, and Korean and Japanese Club. She also works part-time at Hollister. They are able to manage their time by setting their priorities. Tran even dropped sports just to adjust into an Advanced Placement (AP) class.
“Although I’m involved in clubs at school, I make sure to stay on track with my homework every week by making it a priority,” said Garcia.
With plenty of opportunities for them to choose from, Tran has not decided on which college she wants to attend yet. She has been accepted to seven colleges so far. Garcia on the other hand, has already been accepted, and plans to attend at the University of Las Vegas (UNLV).
“I can’t wait for graduation. It’s crazy how it felt like yesterday I was just a freshman walking into the school for my first day,” said Tran.
In the future, Tran wants to major in business regardless of which college she chooses. Garcia wants to enroll in dental school after four years at UNLV.