Armijo Valedictorians: Hard Work Always Pays Off

Shuraim+stands+proud+in+his+high+school+accomplishments.
Shuraim stands proud in his high school accomplishments.

Shuraim stands proud in his high school accomplishments.

Shuraim stands proud in his high school accomplishments.

Emmanuel Sandoval, Staff Writer

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Miriam Webster defines a valedictorian as the student usually having the highest rank in a graduating class who delivers the valedictory address at the commencement exercises. This year, that honor is shared by two students: Shuraim Buksh and Jasmine Reyes.

Shuraim Buksh:
“Being valedictorian is an amazing honor that I’ve been able to receive. It’s something that carries immense weight in my life as it displays my hard work and perseverance from all four years of high school.”

Buksh said that people will find out during the graduation ceremony about the topic and direction of his speech. He admitted that he was originally going to wing it because he thinks that he sounds better when speaking from the heart, but he has been trying to work on it a bit in advance.

When he was told that he was going to be a valedictorian, he said that he was ecstatic and shared a high-five with Reyes. “It was the best feeling in my life” he said. It had never occurred to him that he would actually be valedictorian because he was just trying to do well in school, but he had made it his ultimate goal.

High school was difficult at times, according to Buksh, but he was able to persevere through the challenges, thanks to the help of his teachers. After graduating high school he plans to attend UC Davis and eventually pursue a career as a neurosurgeon. Outside of being in sports clubs and winning tournaments and showcases with those clubs, Buksh hadn’t been involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. His focus in sports included a brief time in the swim club, Solano Aquatic Sea Otters, or SASO, but he gave it up after a brief time He also participated on Armijo’s Track and Field team part of his freshman year and all of his sophomore year. His true love, however, has been soccer
and he has played on-campus for Armijo and off-campus for clubs including Solano United, Vacaville, and North Bay Elite.

Buksh says that, while Armijo is an old school, he really loves the teachers. “All of them are willing to help and are really awesome to know. The activities offered here by Armijo’s leadership and ASB (Associated Student Body) are great as well and definitely added to a great high school experience,” he said.

Jasmine Reyes (pictured below):
“Being valedictorian ensures me that I’ve worked the hardest I could these past four years and it finally paid off. In essence, I think that it’s just a label. I’ve had the opportunity to grow with my classmates… some of the most hardworking people I’ve met. {Being valedictorian} is a cool little cherry on top of my high school graduation
sundae,” she said.

Reyes has been working on her speech and said that she’s “excited and honored to be able to speak to the whole graduating class of 2018 and thank everyone from the podium.” Her speech will address the gratitude that she feels, focusing on the class of 2018 and its talented, hilarious, and brilliant people. She hopes that she will be able to encompass the diversity of this campus and of the experiences of teens.

“It’s a weird time to be alive and I hope to remind people that every moment was worth it, and that they should continue to be open to growth in their post-high school endeavors,” said Reyes.

She was shocked and overjoyed when she was told that she was going to be a valedictorian because the competition this year was quite daunting. When she was afreshman she never really had the position of valedictorian in mind. “It just so happened that my ambitious mindset had a byproduct of becoming valedictorian,” she said. She said that she has just pushed herself to do her best and learn from her mistakes.

Reyes said that high school was socially hard for here. “It’s hard to balance studying and hanging out with people amidst social anxiety, but I’m glad that I was able to find a close knit group of some great friends,” she said. After high school she plans to study biomedical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

She says that her major accomplishments were enduring her social anxiety and ultimately becoming a more welcoming extrovert. She was really timid in her freshman year, and she’s very glad that she has become a stronger person. “I’m a person that overthinks a lot so that’s been the agent of a lot of problems that I perceived to be worse than they actually were. I’m working on it though,” Reyes said.

Armijo High School has been a really challenging school for Reyes. She admires its diversity and the inclusiveness of everyone. She would love more soap in the bathrooms but our huge campus has grown on her as a place that she has shared unforgettable experiences. Among of her most notable of her experiences, she would identify her active participation in Key Club and tennis. She met most of her friends in these groups. Outside of school, she has volunteered and practiced her hobby of singing.

Jasmine demonstrates a love of learning in her endeavors.

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About the Writer
Emmanuel Sandoval, Staff writer
I came to the United States when I was 13 years old, not knowing English. Now I know English and I am able to communicate with people. When I started high school I didn’t know what to do, I was not having much fun because all I did was studying and doing homework. Things changed...
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