High school valedictorians of 2013 have had long journeys from kindergarten through 12th grade. Many say their most challenging obstacle to achieve their goal of being at the top of their classes was managing their time. Not only did they excel academically, but most also were involved in extracurricular activities, such as Student Council, community service, music classes and sports. As a result of their hard work, they will attend some of the most prestigious colleges in the country and look forward to bright futures.

Lissette Delgadillo, 17
Theodore Roosevelt High School
GPA: 4.26
College: Columbia University
Major: Biology, Pre-Med

BHB: What challenges did you overcome to become valedictorian?
I tried to only get A’s which is sometimes hard because you can’t be the best at everything. But just trying my best. Living up to the goals I set up for myself.

BHB: Who inspired you to do so well in school?
My mom. She works so hard at the local retirement home. Her work, and dedication to give us a better life, really inspired me to do my best. She sacrificed her time doing back-breaking work and cleaning just so that we could go into a good school next year.

BHB: What have you learned from your experience in high school?
I’ve learned to just keep working hard, because in the real world there aren’t a lot of Latinos in high positions in the medical or engineering fields. So just face adversity.

BHB: What will you miss about high school?
I’ll miss just walking on campus and seeing all my friends, because next year we won’t all be together. It isn’t going to be the same, but I think it’s good to have a change, because you have to grow and you have to change.

Kimberly Guo, 18
Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School
GPA: Unweighted: 4.0; Weighted: 4.5
College: Yale University
Major: Biomedical Engineering

BHB: What challenges did you overcome to become valedictorian?
Probably just managing my time so I can fit every homework assignment. Competing with other people isn’t really my thing. I’d rather just challenge myself.

BHB: Who inspired you to do so well in school?
My parents, I would say, are not the typical Asian parents. If you don’t do well, it’s okay, but (they) would want you to do well. They just made it real easy, so that inspired me.

Annel Monsalvo, 18
Felicitas and Gonzalo Méndez Learning Center
GPA: 4.4 cumulative
College: Hamilton College
Major: International Relations and Psychology

BHB: What challenges did you overcome to become valedictorian?
Managing my time and learning how to deal with the workload of AP courses. They are rigorous courses. There are also all the activities I’m involved in. It gets a bit hectic at some point.

BHB: What have you learned from your experience in high school?
I’ve learned that you will always face challenges, and you will always find people who will doubt you, but it’s up to you to prove them wrong. Because I’ve dealt with a lot. It’s just one more motivation for me to keep on doing better.

Cindy Vivanco, 17
Ánimo Óscar De La Hoya Charter High School
GPA: 4.6
College: Dartmouth College
Majors: Government and History

BHB: What challenges did you overcome to become valedictorian?
You have to juggle what you want to do and what you have to do, to set your priorities, and there’s always a temptation of slacking off. But at the end, for your own benefit, you should work hard.

Jesse Villanueva, 17
Felicitas and Gonzalo Méndez Learning Center
GPA: Unweighted: 3.9; Weighted: 4.3
College: UC Irvine
Major: Computer Science

BHB: Who inspired you to do so well in school?
My parents, because I would see them struggle. I would like to do well in school and get a good job to help them.

BHB: What have you learned from your experience in high school?
I learned that there would be friends who have negative influences, such as drugs. Choose your friends wisely.

Robinson Ramos and Mitzy Ballesteros contributed to this story
Photos by Andrew Roman and Emely Velasquez

Emely Velasquez

Emely Velazquez is a senior at Theodore Roosevelt High School and participates in the JROTC club. She enjoys spending time with friends, reading and watching films. She hopes to attend New York University.

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