This Year’s Valedictorians

At the 2014 graduation ceremony, when audience members listen to the traditional valedictorian speeches, they may be emotionally moved; however, most won’t quite understand the sacrifices that each of these students made on the road to get there.

This years valedictorians include Lauren Downing, Christina Garcia, Skyler Gunn, Srujan Kopparapu, Ava Obenaus, Madeline Duncan and Alexis Tarczy.

One would think that the road to being a valedictorian is paved with sunshine, hard work and happiness, but it can also be an extremely difficult path to take.  When asked what their biggest high school regret is, each student’s response was essentially the same: “Grades should not come before health and happiness,” as said by Garcia.

As expected, while investing so much time in school, romantic relationships were for the most part nonexistent.

“I was the ‘stereotypical nerd,’ [so] no dating,” Downing said.

However, even with the busy schedule that comes along with being valedictorian, they still managed to participate in several extracurricular activities. For example, Downing participated in volleyball, California Scholarship Federation, Project Impact, Snap Medical Club, the EDGE club and the Quill & Scroll International Honor Society.

Garcia’s resume is also not limited to grade point average. “I’ve been practicing martial arts for almost about nine years now with the Folsom Karate Academy, and I recently passed my black belt test. I am excited for my belt ceremony this May,” said Garcia.

In all actuality, many valedictorian students say they don’t intentionally strive to be valedictorian.

“I never made it a goal of mine because I didn’t know the requirements,” said Garcia.

This wasn’t the case for Downing, though; being valedictorian was in fact a conscious goal of hers.

So, what separates a typical AP student from the ideal valedictorian candidate? Work ethic and mindset are among the factors.

However, even this honor has its drawbacks.

Downing said that the biggest negative of a being a valedictorian is “when you put in so much work, and still don’t get the results you want.”

So, are their sacrifices worth it? Sound off in the comments below.