Clovis News

They brought their A game: 9 Clovis Unified students to graduate as valedictorians this week

Averie Basch, Clovis High valedictorian
Averie Basch, Clovis High valedictorian Provided by Averie Basch

They came, they studied, they conquered.

Averie Basch and Jillian Hatch, of Clovis High, and Isabella Marie Naranjo, Lindsey Penner, Morgan Henson, Abigail Broughton, Teresa Hutchinson, Jenna Kade and Lillian Vang, of Clovis East, will end their high school educations having achieved the highest honor: valedictorian.

In Clovis Unified, students who earn straight As during their first seven semesters of high school receive the Valedictorian Award. Many of the students who received this year’s award have grade point averages exceeding 4.0, thanks to weighted Advanced Placement courses.

Congratulations, graduates!

Clovis High School

Averie Basch, 17

GPA: 4.23

What are your post-high school plans?

English Major at CSU, Fresno

What was your biggest challenge in high school?

My biggest challenge was keeping straight A’s with balancing extracurricular activities and less than five hours of sleep.

What was your favorite class and why?

It’s hard to choose between AP Literature and Journalism. Both have helped me with my writing and both have been so much fun.

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am most proud of earning my long time goal of being valedictorian and of earning Smittcamp (Family Honors College and full-ride scholarship) at Fresno State.

Who do you look up to as a mentor and how have they helped you?

Mrs. Phillips, my AP Literature teacher, has not only been a fantastic instructor but an invaluable mentor. She has given me tips on writing and on what to expect in college. Because of her, I am so excited for the next year and the Fresno State English program. Also, she helped me to love the classics.

Jillian Hatch, 18

GPA: 4.38

What are your post-high school plans?

I plan on attending University of Pacific on a swim scholarship and majoring in film studies.

What was your biggest challenge in high school?

My biggest challenge in high school was balancing four AP classes with swim practices (first practice at 5:30 a.m. and the last one ending at 6:30 p.m.

What was your favorite class and why?

Ceramics was my favorite class. I wasn’t very good at it, but I enjoyed being able to be creative.

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?

Finishing high school as a valedictorian

Who do you look up to as a mentor and how have they helped you?

I look up to my parents who have always been great role models and have constantly provided me with love and support.

Clovis East High School

Isabella Marie Naranjo

GPA: 4.25

What are your post-high school plans?

I plan to attend Fresno City College and major in liberal arts in hopes of becoming an elementary school teacher. I also plan on playing basketball and track and field as well.

What was your biggest challenge in high school?

My biggest challenge in high school would have to be inconsistency within staff members. As a three-sport, four-year varsity athlete, I have three different basketball coaches and two different throwing coaches for track and field. This made it difficult for me because I didn’t know the coaches and they didn’t know me. However I took on this challenge and made the best out of the situation and took from it that I can adapt to any coach I have.

What was your favorite class and why?

This is a difficult one, but I would have to say my AP Spanish class. At the end of my sophomore year, my Spanish II teacher asked me if I would like to skip Spanish III and move straight into AP Spanish. I was nervous at first, but decided I wanted the challenge. It was a small class and I knew everyone in the class so it made it comfortable. I learned so much in that class not only about the language, but about the culture as well.

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?

Becoming a valedictorian has been my goal since I can remember and being able to reach that goal without ever getting a B in grades K-12 is one of my proudest accomplishments. Also becoming a three-sport varsity athlete beginning my freshman year was something I dreamed of doing, and the fact that I contributed to the cross country, basketball, and track and field teams was amazing. Another accomplishment I am proud of is being the vice president of Inter-school Council. Being a part of ISC was rewarding, but being elected by my peers to represent as the vice president was great.

Who do you look up to as a mentor and how have they helped you?

I look up to both of my parents as my mentors. My parents have pushed me throughout my school career and I am ever so grateful. My mom pushed academics and so when I was able to, I began to take Honors and AP classes and excelled in them. Also, my mom being a teacher, I look up to as a guide for the kind of teacher I want to be when I get my degree. My dad pushed athletics, and he being a great athlete, I strive to be as great as he was. Having him as one of my cross country coaches allowed me to connect with him and just motivated me to push myself to be at his level in all of my sports.

Lindsey Penner, 18

GPA: 4.34

What are your post-high school plans?

After I graduate high school, I will be attending the University of California, San Diego pursuing a five-year BS/MS Program in bioengineering.

What was your biggest challenge in high school?

My biggest challenge in high school, physically and mentally, has been my ongoing battle with anorexia (orthorexia) nervosa that began my junior year. The eating disorder is heavily influenced by stress, which is an integral part of managing a rigorous course schedule of multiple honors and AP courses, Academic Decathlon, clubs and volunteering positions each year. Recovery has been an arduous journey of daily struggle and seeking balance in all aspects of my life.

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class was AP Calculus. The class allowed me to have a solid grasp on calculus that enabled me to challenge myself and push the limits of my critical thinking, to expand my mind in connecting different concepts and in the application of the principles I learn in the classroom to the world around me in a way unprecedented by any of my previous classes.

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my status as one of my class valedictorians. Although I had maintained straight A’s throughout my educational career, being valedictorian seemed a lofty and unattainable goal my freshman and sophomore years. So while I pursued the 4.0, I denied myself the ultimate goal of valedictorian to avoid the constant pressure and it was probably one of the best decisions I made in high school. It did not hit me that being valedictorian was a legitimate possibility until fall of this school year. Now I beam with joy and thankfulness for everything I’ve achieved and all I’ve given to earn this honor.

Who do you look up to as a mentor and how have they helped you?

Throughout high school, I have looked up to my AP World History teacher, Mr. Cameron Fong and my AP Biology teacher, Mrs. Kristi Whittaker, as my mentors. Mr. Fong, from the beginning of sophomore year, helped me to realize what I was capable of achieving. In short, I would not have applied to any or be attending a UC had it not been for Mr. Fong’s encouragement and generous provision of guidance and resources. Mrs. Whittaker was there for me when I was not there for myself. She was the first person to openly show concern during my eating disorder and she offered me a listening ear and her kind, compassionate, and understanding heart, letting me express all I had kept inside and giving me hope in overcoming my anxiety and reassurance that was indispensable as I left home for the first time for treatment. My successes in both my personal and school life would not be possible without their teaching and guidance.

Morgan Henson, 18

GPA: 4.0

What are your post-high school plans?

I plan on attending Sonoma State University and majoring in biology in the hopes of entering the medical field.

What was your biggest challenge in high school?

Balancing my time between my extracurricular activities and my school work. Both require so much time that it’s sometimes difficult to decide where to put the effort in. I’m happy with the balance I found and I’m glad that I pushed academics as hard as I did.

What was your favorite class and why?

By far, my favorite class was biochemistry at CART. My teacher, Mrs. Johnson was an incredibly good teacher and person and the subject matter was always interesting and challenging. In addition, I got to shadow at two different hospitals on the area, which really helped me look at the medical field in a whole different light.

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’m proud to be a valedictorian, I’m proud of myself for pushing my limits and getting more involved, I’m proud of my achievements in FFA, but most of all I’m proud that I just kept going. There were so many opportunities for me to give up, on my grades, on my FFA activities, on my volunteering and now that I’m here, I’m really glad that I didn’t.

Who do you look up to as a mentor and how have they helped you?

Many people have helped me along the way. I’d like to thank my counselor, Mrs. Hamilton, for always being there, my teachers Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Covey, my parents, my sisters and my friends. I couldn’t have done it without any of you.

 

▪  The valedictorians from Clovis West, Buchanan and Clovis North high schools will be profiled in next week’s Independent, to coincide with the schools’ graduation ceremonies.

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