NEWMAN - Four students stand at the head of the Orestimba High School Class of 2018 as valedictorian and co-salutatorians.
Ana Mendoza is the 2018 valedictorian. Marco Aleman Chavez, Hailey Kinimaka and Callista Dyt are salutatorians.
They will lead the Class of 2018 in commencement ceremonies Friday, June 1, at 7 p.m. in Warrior Stadium.
The quartet of leading students share a number of common traits, including supportive parents who have instilled in them the value of education, a determination to succeed and a vision for their own careers.
Each of the four has attended local schools since kindergarten.
Following is a look at the valedictorian and salutatorians of the Class of 2018.
Orestimba’s 2018 valedictorian is determined to be part of positive change in the world.
Mendoza, the daughter of Santiago and Ana Maria Mendoza, plans to attend UCLA, where she will major in political science with the goal of becoming an attorney.
Mendoza said she has long had an interest in government and politics, which has helped shape her career interests.
“Be being involved and being a lawyer, I will be doing my part to change the world,” she related. “I want to focus on human rights, and to be a voice for people who have no rights.”
Her parents have been an inspiration in her life and motivated her to do well academically.
They wanted each of their six children to have the college opportunity which they did not, Mendoza explained.
“Their dream is to make that possible for their children,” said Mendoza, who is the second youngest. All of her older siblings have achieved that goal, she added.
“They sacrifice their lives for my siblings and I to have a better education,” the valedictorian reflected. “Seeing me succeed is one of their life purposes.”
At Orestimba, Mendoza was involved in Interact, Hispanic Youth Leadership Council and Adventure Club.
Aleman, the son of Maria and the late Efrain Aleman, will major in animal science and management at UC Davis.
He came to the United States at age 5 when his father, who was a migrant worker, decided to bring his family so they could be together and have better educational opportunities.
The school district helped with the transition by sending an English teacher to his home, a grateful Aleman recalled.
Aleman, whose goal is to become a veterinarian, will be a first generation college student. He is the youngest of five. Two older siblings have attended college.
He, too, credits the encouragement of his parents - and the resolve of his mother after his father’s death for continuing to instill the importance of education in providing an opportunity for a better life.
Aleman was in sixth grade when his father passed away. During that time, he acknowledged, he lost interest in academics.
“I cared, but not that much. My mom told me that I had to try because the outcome would benefit me in the future,” he said. “I wanted to make my mom proud. She was a single mom, and I am proud of her.”
Aleman has been involved in the Hispanic Youth Leadership Council, PHAST, Interact Club, FFA, tennis and cross country at Orestimba.
Dyt, the daughter of Rich and Jacquie Dyt, will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a major in ag business.
The work ethic instilled growing up on the family dairy carried over into the classroom, Dyt said.
“My parents have always pushed me to get the best grades that I could. That was what was expected,” she related.
As the oldest of four children, Dyt also strives to set a positive example for her younger sisters.
Dyt said she has enjoyed growing up and working on the dairy, and values the perspective into agriculture which comes with that background.
She considered career options such as fashion design and criminal justice before deciding to pursue an ag-related career.
She is keeping her options open in the ag field.
“I have no idea what I want to do yet,” Dyt explained. “I know I want to major in ag business, and I will find something through
Her activities at Orestimba included FFA, student government, volleyball, Interact club and serving on homecoming, prom and autism awareness committees.
Kinimaka, the daughter of Carol and James Kinimaka, said a second-grade field trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium helped influence her career goal of becoming a marine biologist.
“I was enthralled,” she recalls.
Kinimaka will attend California State Monterey Bay to major in marine science.
“I always loved being at the ocean,” she remarked. “Ocean animals always caught my attention.”
Kinimaka said she has worked hard - with the support and encouragement of her parents - to do well in school and create that opportunity for herself.
“I just want to prepare myself for the future,” she commented. “I want to do my best. It is what my parents raised me to be. I want to do it for myself, but I also want to make my parents proud.”
Kinimaka has been involved in Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District Musical Theatre since eighth grade. At Orestimba she has been involved in leadership, drama and cross country.