Mountain Pointe High School senior Vaishnavi Koka has dedicated herself to achieve a goal she placed on herself her freshman year: to become the school’s valedictorian.
Fast forward four years and countless hours of studying, Koka has achieved that goal.
“It’s pretty surreal. I actually came in my freshman year not thinking I’d be able to do it because everyone was taking summer school,” she said.
Koka was unable to take summer courses because during the break she would take trips back to India to visit her relatives.
However, when Koka received her freshman-year transcript she was ranked No. 1, and she took it upon herself to stay on top.
“Ever since then, I took it as a challenge to work toward it and work my hardest,” she said. “I’m glad it happened. Hard work does pay off in the end.”
Throughout her time at Mountain Pointe, Koka has taken nearly six honors and AP classes each year.
She is excited to be able to speak to her fellow classmates as valedictorian, and wants her speech to inspire and motivate them for their future.
In her speech, Koka will highlight the different accomplishments Mountain Pointe achieved over the year such as the football team winning state and the school receiving an A+ rating from the Arizona Education Foundation.
“I really want to inspire them somehow. I know that it’s hard because all the valedictorian speeches are cheesy, but I really want to say that anything is possible,” she said. “I didn’t know that I would be able to get this, but it happened. If you set your mind to something anything is possible, and I want them to realize it.”
Koka feels as if she missed out on different classes that Mountain Pointe had to offer, but has no regrets.
She was awarded the Flinn Scholarship, which goes to the top 20 high school students in Arizona, and she plans to attend Arizona State University to study engineering.
Although Koka will be moving on, she’ll miss the school she has called home for the past four years.
“I really loved it here and it was a great experience,” she said. “The opportunities I’ve had here, the classes and the teachers… I wouldn’t give that up for anything.”
Spanish teacher Mary Boatright said Koka has impressed her through her strong dedication to being the best student.
“In 33 years of teaching I have known very few students who are as involved and active as she. Unlike some high school students who volunteer to do community service to simply make their college applications stronger, Vaishnavi is involved locally and globally because she knows that one person can indeed affect a change.”
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