NEWMAN - Three seniors stand at the head of the Class of 2017 at Orestimba High School.
Rebecca Esquivez is the 2017 valedictorian, while Ariana Jorstad and Justiana Martin are co-salutatorians.
They will lead the Class of 2017 in commencement ceremonies Friday evening, June 2, at 7 p.m. in Warrior Stadium.
The trio share a number of common bonds, including a determination to achieve academically and supportive parents who stressed the importance of education. Each of the straight-A students plans to pursue a career in the medical field and credits the nurturing environment at Orestimba for helping prepare them for the future.
Esquivez, the daughter of Ernesto and Letty Esquivez, has attended Newman-Crows Landing schools since her kindergarten year at Bonita.
She plans to attend California State University Stanislaus, with the goal of pursuing a nursing career.
“My mom influenced me to go into nursing. She worked in a doctor’s office for over 18 years, so I grew up around the medical (profession),” Esquivez said.
Her mom, she added, continues to set an example and has resumed her studies to become a registered nurse.
Esquivez said she was also influenced when visiting a neonatal intensive care unit when a relative had a baby prematurely. “It was an eye-opener,” she stated.
Her activities at Orestimba included FFA, basketball, softball, volleyball, leadership and Interact Club.
Esquivez said the nurturing environment at Orestimba helped her thrive.
“The teachers are always open. They are always available. I feel confident and able to speak with them on anything I need to,” she remarked. “You feel included at Orestimba.”
When it comes to her studies, Esquivez said, she was determined simply to give it her best and let the outcome be what it would.
“I have always admired the people at the top of the class,” she commented. “I just took it day by day and hoped for the best.”
Jorstad is the daughter of Lisa Casados.
She came to the Newman-Crows Landing district from Fremont as a third-grade student at Hunt Elementary.
Jorstad plans to attend California State University Sonoma to study a nursing career.
That career goal was instilled when Jorstad was a young girl.
“I spent a lot of time in ERs with migraines,” she explained. “My nurses became my friends, and they inspired me. I looked up to them.”
Being at the top of the class was a goal, Jorstad acknowledged.
“I am a real competitive person. I am self-driven and motivated,” she told Mattos Newspapers. “If I have a ‘B’ I freak out. I can’t go to sleep without doing my homework.”
She is the first in her family to attend college, Jorstad noted. She wanted that not only for her own future but to set an example for her younger siblings, she reflected.
She has been active in soccer, volleyball, FFA and Interact at Orestimba.
Jorstad also spoke highly of her high school experience.
“I feel like I matter here. I am not just a number,” she said. “The teachers genuinely care. They have helped me be enthusiastic about school.”
Martin, the daughter of John and Jeanmarie Martin, has been a Newman-Crows Landing student since moving from San Jose as a first-grader attending Hunt Elementary.
She plans to study biology at UC Berkeley with the goal of becoming a doctor.
“I have always had a passion for helping others, since I was a young child,” Martin explained. “That fits my personality.”
Coming from a family which values education helped motivate her academically, she noted.
“I tried to do my personal best to get the best grades I could and study hard,” said Martin, who is the senior class president.
She has been active in musical theatre, student government, Interact, band, color guard and winter guard at Orestimba.
Orestimba, Martin added, has the “it takes a village” philosophy.
“There are always people you can talk to and who support you,” she remarked.
Martin applauded the graduating class as a whole for its success.
“There are many kids who have been dedicated and worked hard during their four years,” she concluded.