Manu Kondapi, a senior at Horizon Honors, will address her fellow classmates during graduation as the school’s valedictorian.
Kondapi has spent most of her education at Horizon Community Learning Center, dating back to first grade, and has enjoyed her time at the school she called home for 11 years.
Her parents wanted to have her change schools when she was a freshman to go to Tempe Predatory Academy and again when she was a sophomore to go to Chandler Basis, but she refused to leave the school she grew to love.
“I just love Horizon. I feel that it’s just a great environment to grow up in. I love the people and the teachers,” Kondapi said.
During her high school years, Kondapi was able to achieve education supremacy by maintaining a GPA of 4.83.
She’s taken different honors and AP classes in math, government and history, and was able to maintain her GPA by managing her time around her studies.
“It’s been hard at times trying to juggle everything at once, but I enjoy school. It’s fun and it’s something that I’ve managed to do,” she said.
One of the biggest sacrifices Kondapi had to make to become Horizon’s valedictorian was mostly sleep. She said she acclimated herself to nearly six hours of sleep each night.
Her junior year was the toughest on her sleep schedule, where she would get two hours of sleeping each night, but she said it was worth it in the end to be named valedictorian.
“I’m really excited and it’s a really big honor. My sister was valedictorian two years ago, so it’s exciting to also be able to speak at graduation,” Kondapi said.
Her speech will focus on the community atmosphere the graduating class has created during their years at Horizon.
Kondapi plans to further her education at Harvey Mudd College in California, where she will pursue an education in math and computer science.
Although her years at Horizon are coming to an end, Kondapi said she’s excited about being able to celebrate graduation with her peers and be with her class for one last time.
Charlie McLaughlin, instructor at Horizon, has been one of Kondapi’s teachers for the past two years and said she’s very deserving of being the school’s valedictorian.
“I’ve been teaching for 47 years and she is one of the better students I have had in all that time,” he said.
Horizon’s graduation ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 27 at the Sun Valley Community Church, 6101 S. River Road in Tempe.
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