Ahwatukee's DV sets record for number of valedictorians - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

Ahwatukee's DV sets record for number of valedictorians

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Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 11:47 am | Updated: 6:30 am, Mon Jul 28, 2014.

Desert Vista High School will be celebrating graduation Thursday evening with nearly 700 seniors walking across the stage to pick up their diplomas.

There will be a record 12 valedictorians. In pervious years, the number only reached six.

The 12 valedictorians are: Saheba Bhatnagar, Hailey Dickson, Gina Han, Paula Li, Akhila Murella, Joann Nam, Varsha Parthasarathy, Rajeev Parvathala, Jeeho “Helen” Sung, Meagan Tran, Jessica Tueller and Joyce Yang.

“The students tied in rank points and it is tradition at DV to allow the valedictorians to speak at graduation,” said Christine Barela, assistant principal registrar.

Each valedictorian will speak to their fellow classmates for nearly two minutes.

Dr. Anna Battle, in her last year as principal at Desert Vista, said she was looking forward to hearing the 12 speeches.

“Desert Vista’s valedictorians challenge their peers appropriately to enter a new chapter in their lives with hope and inspiration,” she said.

Graduation will take place this Thursday, May 22, at 7 p.m. at Desert Vista’s football field, 16440 S. 32nd St.

Saheba Bhatnagar

Q: How does it feel to be one of the 12 valedictorians at Desert Vista?

A: I feel honored and excited. I’m grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way.

Q: What types of sacrifices did you have to make to be able to become one of the valedictorians?

A: I spent a lot of time studying.

Q: What are your future plans after Desert Vista?

A: I plan to major in bioengineering at Rice University.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for graduation?

A: I’m really excited to speak because I think that would be a unique, surreal experience.

Hailey Dickson (was unavailable for an interview)

Gina Han

Q: How does it feel to be one of the 12 valedictorians at Desert Vista?

A: It’s a great honor and I feel excited to be able to give a speech to all my peers. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do since my freshman year.

Q: What types of sacrifices did you have to make to be able to become one of the valedictorians?

A: A lot of time taking higher-level classes.

Q: What are your future plans after Desert Vista?

A: I’m going to Pomona College in California.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for graduation?

A: Giving a speech.

Paula Li

Q: How does it feel to be one of the 12 valedictorians at Desert Vista?

A: I feel very honored. I think we are in a unique situation, where you don’t see it at many places.

Q: What types of sacrifices did you have to make to be able to become one of the valedictorians?

A: I had to sacrifice a lot of time with people who I would like to spend time with, but in the end it’s been worth it.

Q: What are your future plans after Desert Vista?

A: I’m going to be attending Brown University and majoring in human biology.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for graduation?

A: I think my speech mostly consists of advice for our senior class, so I feel like it will give me a chance to say what I want to say to my fellow peers.

Akhila Murella

Q: How does it feel to be one of the 12 valedictorians at Desert Vista?

A: I’m really honored because it’s such a great thing to be able to speak in front of the whole class.

Q: What types of sacrifices did you have to make to be able to become one of the valedictorians?

A: Over the years I’ve definitely had to sacrifice hanging out with friends.

Q: What are your future plans after Desert Vista?

A: I’m going to study computer science or biomedical engineering at ASU.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for graduation?

A: To be able to celebrate such a big event.

JoAnn Nam

Q: How does it feel to be one of the 12 valedictorians at Desert Vista?

A: I feel very honored because it’s the recognition that I’ve put into school for the past four years.

Q: What types of sacrifices did you have to make to be able to become one of the valedictorians?

A: I didn’t hang out with my friends as much as I would like, but I don’t feel like I sacrificed enjoying school.

Q: What are your future plans after Desert Vista?

A: I’m planning on going to ASU and be a bio major.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for graduation?

A: It’s nice to be able to address your entire class.

Varsha Parthasarathy

Q: How does it feel to be one of the 12 valedictorians at Desert Vista?

A: I’m really honored to be selected as one of the 12 valedictorians. I think this is the culmination of my efforts in working really hard in high school.

Q: What types of sacrifices did you have to make to be able to become one of the valedictorians?

A: I have had to spend a lot more time on academics more than perhaps other individuals.

Q: What are your future plans after Desert Vista?

A: I plan on going to St. Bonaventure University in New York.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for graduation?

A: I’m really looking forward to convey the honor that I feel having this position as being a valedictorian.

Rajeev Parvathala

Q: How does it feel to be one of the 12 valedictorians at Desert Vista?

A: It’s definitely a huge honor to finally get this recognition for the work that we’ve put in for the past four years. It’s definitely rewarding.

Q: What types of sacrifices did you have to make to be able to become one of the valedictorians?

A: A lot of time was spent just studying and doing a lot of school work. A lot of our classes were intensive on course load.

Q: What are your future plans after Desert Vista?

A: Next year, I will be going to MIT and majoring in electrical engineering and computer science.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for graduation?

A: Hanging out with people for one last time before we all go on our separate paths.

Helen Sung

Q: How does it feel to be one of the 12 valedictorians at Desert Vista?

A: It feels really good to start out as a freshman and complete something.

Q: What types of sacrifices did you have to make to be able to become one of the valedictorians?

A: A lot of my time.

Q: What are your future plans after Desert Vista?

A: I‘m going to Notre Dame.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for graduation?

A: I’m excited to say my speech. It’s my one opportunity to say what I want to say to everybody.

Meagan Tran

Q: How does it feel to be one of the 12 valedictorians at Desert Vista?

A: I came into high school thinking all these 11 people were really smart and I really didn’t know that I was going to be valedictorian. It was a really big shocker.

Q: What types of sacrifices did you have to make to be able to become one of the valedictorians?

A: A lot of my friends, but I’ve found a different group of friends along the way. It’s pretty cool to see the person I’ve grown into.

Q: What are your future plans after Desert Vista?

A: I’m going to UofA to study biomedical engineering.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for graduation?

A: Seeing a lot of my friends for the last time.

Jessica Tueller

Q: How does it feel to be one of the 12 valedictorians at Desert Vista?

A: It’s definitely an honor.

Q: What types of sacrifices did you have to make to be able to become one of the valedictorians?

A: I don’t think that I’ve made that many sacrifices.

Q: What are your future plans after Desert Vista?

A: In the fall I will be attending Harvard.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for graduation?

A: I’m most excited about the speech.

Joyce Yang

Q: How does it feel to be one of the 12 valedictorians at Desert Vista?

A: I feel very honored, and it’s something that has been an expectation in my family because both of my sisters graduated as valedictorians.

Q: What types of sacrifices did you have to make to be able to become one of the valedictorians?

A: My time at home.

Q: What are your future plans after Desert Vista?

A: I will be attending MIT and majoring in neuroscience.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for graduation?

A: I really want to share my feelings about the fact of being thankful.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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