Catching up with our Former Valedictorians

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High school graduation is a major achievement vital to a successful career, but it takes hours of hard work. Graduating as Valedictorian recognizes the academic dedication of students who invest time to excel. After hours of studying, planning and working, these three alumni graduated at the top of their class academically. So, where are our most recent Valedictorians now?

Jose Mexicano. Photo courtesy of Mexicano.

Jose Mexicano

Class of ’18 Valedictorian Jose Mexicano reflects on his years at West with fondness, appreciating the support system that surrounded him in his friends and teachers. Mexicano currently majors in General Biology at UC Davis, and he plans to extend his education with a minor in Education. While in school, the teachers who encouraged him to think of a successful future for himself inspired Mexicano, and now he aspires to pursue a career in teaching, saying, “I want to give back what was given to me.” High school holds great memories for Mexicano, especially when reminiscing about the fun times playing wallball with his friends or joking around. However, his years at West High taught him several valuable lessons. “High school taught me I’m worth something, even if sometimes those around me screamed different…” Mexicano recalled. As for those of us who still attend high school, Mexicano encourages students to understand that success is not measureable, instead advising that “being able to keep trying, even when you aren’t the best, will take you as far as you’re willing to keep at it.”

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Vicky Diep. Photo courtesy of Lifetouch.

Vicky Diep

Class of ’19 alumna Vicky Diep graduated as one of two valedictorians. She currently attends UC Davis with a major in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior (NBP) and a hopeful minor in Spanish. This helps Diep on her path to pursue a career that focuses on caring for people through medicine, combining her passions for science and helping others into a future profession. As a recent graduate, Diep reflects on West High with some nostalgia, saying, “High school has taught me to value to friendships and connections with the people I meet.” She appreciates the friendships and teachers which surrounded her, and remembers West High fondly for the all the kindness and support. Diep advises high school students to “study hard and to not procrastinate…, but also to find a balance between work and fun.”

Sherein Maroufkhani. Photo courtesy of Maroufkhani.

Sherein Maroufkhani

Sherein Maroufkhani graduated as Valedictorian with the class of ’19. She attends UC Berkeley and plans to major in Cognitive Science, which both interests her and broadens the career options following her degrees. Maroufkhani originally decided on a major in Neuroscience, but reevaluated when her major did not align with the career path she wanted, thus switching majors. When asked about how she remembered West High, Maroufkhani said, “My ‘years’ at West were just a few months ago, but it already feels like they were the last time I was a kid.” As her years in high school progressed, she learned to “chill out”, and her favorite memories involve spending fun times in the Advanced Drama class. Her main piece of advice is: “Don’t give up on yourself and don’t stress out; you have to have fun right now because you have to pay taxes later.”