Academic All-Stars

12th grade, Rami Gabriel, Clovis West

Rami Gabriel


Clovis West (Clovis Unified)

Age: 17

Home: Fresno

Parents: San and Evette Gabriel

Achievements: 4.7857 GPA; Scholar of Academic Distinction; History Day first place 2012; Member of tennis team, winning Valley championship in 2012.

Rami Gabriel is the No. 1 student in the Clovis West class of 2013.

By the time he graduates in June, he will have completed four advanced courses and 13 advanced placement courses. That raises his GPA to 4.7857, tops among 479 seniors.

He is a salutatorian. His only sub-A, in four years, came in his freshman year when he received a B+ in Spanish.

He also is a Scholar of Academic Distinction as well as recipient of the Principal's Medallion and life member of the California Scholarship Federation.

"I'm grateful, honored," he said. "I do study a lot, but I also enjoy what I'm studying."

Rami is headed to Fresno State as one of 50 scholars in the Smittcamp Family Honors College program. He also is looking forward to going to medical school, where he wants to study ophthalmology. Both of his parents are in the medical field.

"I've always been fascinated with ophthalmology," said Rami, adding that in that field he wants to conduct stem-cell research. "It could open up to giving sight to the blind."

He also volunteers for five hours a week at Clovis Community Hospital, calling patients and gathering information that lightens the load for nurses.

"It really is commendable to find time to give back to the community," school principal Eimear O'Farrell said. "It's encouraging to see the caliber of young people we're turning into society. People like Rami just want to give back.

"He is a student who loves learning -- and loves a challenge."

Rami also is involved in many co-curricular activities.

Born in Cairo, Egypt, he moved with his family to the United States in 2000. For a History Day project, he wrote on the Egyptian revolution, and the paper took first place in Fresno County in 2012.

He was a member of the tennis team that captured the Division I Valley championship in 2012.

School counselor Tracey Fowlkes, who nominated Rami, appreciates that he does so many things well and remains humble.

"He's bright, driven and uses his time well," she said. "But he's also humble, not pretentious. He won't flaunt it. He always asks, 'How are you doing?' "

Honorable mention

Annabelle Beecher, 17, Fresno

School: San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno)

Parents: Jim and Julie Beecher

Achievements: Annabelle is tied for the highest GPA -- 4.59 -- in the Memorial class of 2013. Annabelle is finishing as a valedictorian and life member of the California Scholarship Federation. She has worked as a peer mentor, student ambassador and tutor for the National Honors Society. She also has played on the tennis team for four years. She is founder of Ski Club, where she served as a ski instructor working with the developmentally disabled. Guidance Counselor Roxanne Rogers said: "She is outgoing and caring, the type of person who draws people to her with her charm and skill."

Christina Rontell, 18, Fresno

School: San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno)

Parents: Steve and Michelle Rontell

Achievements: Christina also has a 4.59 GPA, tying for the highest in Memorial's class. She also is finishing as a valedictorian. She was the first president of the school's National Honors Society, and after a successful year, she was re-elected to a second term. She also was captain of the varsity basketball team. A campus minister, she also earned the opportunity to take a peer counseling course, which is available only to students who have participated in the program for three years. Guidance counselor Roxanne Rogers said: "Christina is an invaluable asset to San Joaquin Memorial."

Jairi Thalia Martinez, 18, Fresno

School: Edison (Fresno Unified)

Parent: Leticia Martinez

Achievements: Jairi earned a 4.24 GPA, taking many advanced placement courses. She has mentored and tutored students at Lincoln Elementary School, and worked on a Youth Court peer jury, offering advice in cases involving student offenses on campus. School counselor Justin Carrasco said Jairi also has faced challenging situations. She comes from a single-parent family and has permission to leave school at a certain time to ensure her younger siblings are picked up after school. She cares for them at home, cooking dinner and making sure they complete their homework. Carrasco said, "Jairi is mature beyond her years."

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