PALM DESERT – A new adventure lies ahead, one with mountains to climb and rivers to cross, but our local high school valedictorians are suited up for the challenge.
“I want to be a genetic engineer,” says Tisa Barrios Wilson, La Quinta High School valedictorian. “It’s quite the undertaking, but I’m ready.”
The desert’s valedictorians have big aspirations and even more ambition. They’re at the top of their class, but the weak economy is threatening to pull them down.
“Mostly, I’m worried about financial aid,” says Amanda Garcia, Coachella Valley High School valedictorian.
High school valedictorians are among the smartest, most well-rounded students, but our country’s economic problem could be one challenge even they can’t pass.
“A lot has been put on our generation,” says Jay Thetford, Cathedral City High School valedictorian.
“You have to work hard for what you want. In this economy, it’s not just going to come to you,” says Tyler McLean, Palm Springs High School Valedictorian.
As high school grads prepare for college, competition for financial aid is higher than ever. Making matters worse, Gov. Schwarzenegger may eliminate all new Cal Grants, a fund thousands of students rely on.
“I got a Cal Grant, but when I heard it might get taken away, that’s a lot of hard work that might get taken away,” says Francisco Fuentes, Desert Hot Springs High School valedictorian.
“I know students who reconsidered what college they are going to because they can’t afford it,” says Thetford.
Some students use the slouching economy as motivation, and they are aggressively applying for scholarships.
“My parents are so happy cause it will save them a lot of money,” says Barrios Wilson.
Instead of waiting for the economy to improve, many students focus on improving themselves.
“You have to be well-rounded, colleges don’t just look for good grades,” says Sarah Sullivan, Palm Desert High School valedictorian.
The valley valedictorians don’t shy away from the hard work. They plow through it and come out stronger.
“Now that times are tougher, you have to give 110 percent, which is good for us because it makes us work harder,” says Fuentes.
“In hard times, people work harder to secure themselves,” says Garcia.
College-bound graduates have aboutfour years before they need to worry about the ailing job market. They hope that’s enough time for the economy to turn around.
I think it’s perfect timing for our class because once we are finished with our education, the economy will play out so there will be jobs offered to us,” says Barrios Wilson.
These students’ positive attitudes could be the key to unlocking success.
“I dare to say, my goals are in my grasp, I’m almost there,” says Jorge Andrade, Indio High School valedictorian.