NEWMAN - Three students stand at the head of Orestimba’s graduating Class of 2015 as valedictorians and salutatorian.
Juan Aleman and Daniel Navarette are co-valedictorians. Bobbi Solano is the salutatorian. Those honors were announced during the senior awards program last Friday evening.
Each will speak Friday night during commencement ceremonies in Warrior Stadium, which begin at 7 p.m.
The top students will use their academic success and experiences at Orestimba to pursue their college dreams and career goals.
Aleman, the son of Efrain and Maria Aleman, has been a student in Newman-Crows Landing schools since moving from Mexico as a third-grader. His siblings and mother came to the West Side to be with their father, who worked in the area.
Aleman said learning English and adapting to a new school environment was challenging. He was able to master the language in about two years, Aleman said, setting the foundation for future academic success.
He was involved in the Hispanic Youth Leadership Council (HYLC) at Orestimba, and also worked as a tutor in after-school programs.
Orestimba, he said, offered supportive teachers and staff members who motivated students to pursue their dreams and goals.
He will attend UC Berkeley to study architecture.
Navarette, the son of Eva and Francisco Navarrete, has attended local schools since kindergarten.
At Orestimba he was active in track and field, cross-country and HYLC.
“The experience I valued the most was my participation in HYLC,” Navarrete reflected, saying that involvement enhanced his appreciation of his culture.
Navarrete will be attending Princeton University as a QuestBridge Scholar, where he plans to major in molecular engineering with an eye on a career in medical research or as a physician.
Attending summer residency and intern programs at UC Davis and Stanford during his high school years reaffirmed his career interest.
The co-valedictorians are each first-generation college students in their families, and said their parents instilled in them the value and importance of education as the gateway to a better life.
Solano, the salutatorian, is the daughter of Derek and Sandi Solano.
She has attended local schools since pre-school years.
Solano has been involved in a variety of activities at Orestimba, including athletics (volleyball, basketball and softball), student council, Interact, and art club. She has also been selected as a delegate to the Girls State and Rotary Youth Leadership Award conferences, and was 2014 Miss Newman for good measure.
She said the diversity of the Orestimba campus enriched her high school years and afforded a variety of opportunities.
“It is very diverse, but everybody is very friendly,” Solano noted.
She will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she will study animal science with the goal of becoming a veterinarian.
Aleman, Navarrete and Solano lead a class of 161 Orestimba seniors who will accept their diplomas Friday evening.
Yolo Middle School, Alt Ed
Two other ceremonies are in store for local schools this week.
The district’s alternative education programs will host their graduation ceremony today (Thursday) at 10 a.m. in the West Side Theatre.
Yolo Middle School will hold its eighth-grade promotion ceremony tonight (Thursday) beginning at 6 p.m. in Warrior Stadium.