Class of 2019 Has a Trio of Valedictorians


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Earning the position of Valedictorian is an honor that is experienced by only a fraction of a graduating class, but this year it is a shared honor as three of the graduates have tied with the highest grade point average (GPA). That honor is shared by Laura Wadsworth, Tom Zheng and Ariana Mestas.

“I’m excited to be one of the Valedictorians at Armijo,” said Wadsworth.

“All three of us have been working for it since freshman year,” Mestas said.

Each of these individuals has had a strong impact on the Armijo campus, earning high grades on most assignments and in most classes while pouring in extra work to maintain the GPA. But their success goes far beyond the classroom.

“I have really enjoyed a variety of extra-curriculars over the years,” said Wadsworth. “Some of my best involve the sports teams I’ve played for, including four years of Armijo Tennis (which included four MEL championships and an individual sectional Singles title), four years of Varsity Soccer (with one MEL championship and First Team Honors three times) and one year of Badminton (with a sectionals Doubles title).

Mestas also had four years of experience in the MEL championship Tennis team, and four years of experience with badminton. She was team captain for badminton, and served as the other half of the Doubles Badminton duo in her senior year, sharing that title with co-Valedictorian Wadsworth, and she was a 2-year Regionals participant.

Zheng has also been active in tennis, and, while he is proud of his contributions, he did not spend a lot of time talking about it.

All three have been active members of the Fairfield Youth Commission and have worked for The Armijo Signal. They each had an older brother who served as an editor for the school newspaper as well. Wadsworth’s older brother Derek was a Classes & Clubs editor for a few years. Mestas’s older brother Arthur served as Classes & Clubs editor in the years before that. Zheng’s brother James served as Copy Editor and then Editor-in-Chief. Despite the fact that their older brothers were part of the Armijo Signal Staff before them, each of these talented individuals created a niche for themselves on the publication. Wadsworth was a consistent reporter for the Youth Commission, Zheng served as School and Senior News editor in his junior year and Mestas served as Events editor since her sophomore year.

Wadsworth has been an active Girl Scout for 12 years and has played soccer and tennis outside of school. Mestas has been part of the National Honor Society (NHS) at Armijo and took a math class at Solano Community College. Zheng has found time to be part of 4-H. “I think the main challenge was balancing [all of the activities and classes],” said Zheng.

While they will be sharing memories and encouragement with the students, friends, parents and family members at graduation, they will also be preparing for the future. Mestas and Zheng both plan to study at Berkeley. Mestas wants to major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and eventually become a software engineer. Zheng, on the other hand, wants to major in Computer Science. Wadsworth plans to earn a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering so that she can “work on projects that benefit the environment,” she said.

When they were asked what they would change at Armijo, it all had something to do with the school day. “I would push back the start time from 8 am to 9 am or later,” said Wadsworth.

“I would want 0 period to be removed and maybe have rally schedule every day,” said Zheng.

While beginnings and endings were important for them, Mestas looked at the middle and said she would want to see the campus open for lunch… oh, and more soap in the bathrooms.

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