High school grads will shine at ceremonies - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

High school grads will shine at ceremonies

May 22nd, 2018 development
High school grads will shine at ceremonies

By Colleen Sparks, Managing Editor

Some top students in Chandler high schools will earn recognition for their academic achievement as they take center stage at graduation.

Valedictorians – seniors chosen largely for having the highest grade point averages – and salutatorians – peers who have the next highest GPAs – have been named at the schools where graduation will take place this month in Chandler.

In some cases, students who are not valedictorians or salutatorians also will have a chance to shine when they give speeches at graduation ceremonies.

Here is a look at the valedictorians, salutatorians and speakers for commencements at those high schools that replied to a SanTan Sun News’ request for information,

Chandler High School

Valedictorian Adrio Nikolas Romine, 16, of Chandler has a cumulative grade-point average of 4.9 and plans to become a doctor. He’s heading to Arizona State University’s the Barrett Honors College to study pre-med. He is the son of Paolla Jordan and Gerald Romine.

Adrio Nikolas Romine

Adrio Nikolas Romine

Most valuable lesson learned: “The most valuable lesson was the ability to prioritize everything and what required more time and effort, and what could be done quicker. After everything was prioritized I was able to manage my time to insure everything was accomplished to the best of my abilities in a timely manner.”

Activities: National Honor Society, Debate, International Baccalaureate Program, Students Supporting Brain Tumor Research.

Salutatorian William Mustafa, 18, of Chandler, has a cumulative grade-point average of 4.9 and will study mechanical engineering at ASU. He wants to get an internship at a local engineering firm while in college and ultimately work for Tesla/Space X. He is the son of Akter Nasima and Golam Mustafa.

Most valuable lesson learned: “The most valuable lesson that I learned in high school was to have no regrets in any decision you take, and if you didn’t make the right choice it’s always a chance for you to learn. If you want to grow you need to challenge yourself because through perseverance the best is always brought out. Lastly, to BE YOU because it’s very easy to get lost and have other people dictate your life.”

Activities: Model United Nations, Academic Decathlon, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Ultimate Frisbee Club, International Baccalaureate Program.

At Chandler High’s big event, senior class treasurer Kassandra Agramon and spirit commissioner Alexia Hicks will provide welcomes and introductions. Kevin Byrne and Gillian Harrill are schla/high honors students nominated by their peers to give speeches.

Arizona College Preparatory – Erie Campus

does not name valedictorians and salutatorians or rank students.

However, three students, Madi Bonfigt, Troy Gilchrist and Margaret Krenke will give speeches, as will student body president Erin Broas.

Hamilton High School

Gregory Miller

Gregory Miller

The valedictorian, salutatorians and two other students in the top five of the graduating class will be recognized and Gregory Miller, 17, was chosen by his class to give a speech.

Valedictorian Jerry Zhu, who has a grade-point average of 4.9, is planning to attend Princeton University, where he will major in electrical engineering/computer science.

While at Hamilton, Zhu, 18, was named a National Merit Finalist and a National AP Scholar. He was also a congressional Award gold medal recipient, a congressional art competition winner and an American Visions nominee.

Jerry Zhu

Jerry Zhu

Zhu also did data mining/machine learning research with graduate students at ASU’s School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering. He participated in the math club and Teen Leadership Academy and volunteered at local youth organizations.

Arina Putikova, 18, of Chandler, is one of Hamilton’s two salutatorians, and she has a GPA of 4.9. She plans to major in biological sciences at ASU Barrett Honors College and become a pediatrician with an international humanitarian program. She is the daughter of Vitaly Putikova and Young- Hee Sim.

Most valuable lesson learned: “The most valuable lesson I learned is to make the most of everything and never take anything or anyone for granted.”

Arina Putikova

Arina Putikova

Activities: AP Scholar with honors, a member of the We the People Team, which took first place in the Western Region and won a state competition; member of the swim and dive team, volunteers at clinics to help younger children learn to swim and volunteers with the Chandler Fire Department to build awareness of drowning.

Dorothy Tung, 17, the other salutatorian, has a GPA of 4.9 and plans to attend the University of Arizona Honors College on the Baird Scholarship, majoring in neuroscience with a minor in elementary education. She is the daughter of  Henry Tung and Shuling Ko.

Dorothy Tung

Dorothy Tung

Most valuable lesson learned in high school: “At Hamilton High, I have encountered the most diverse group of people – many of which have polarized political ideologies, conflicting religious views, varying passions, and eccentric personalities. This melange of differences has allowed me to broaden my perspective and be versatile when collaborating with other people.”

Activities: National Merit Finalist and co-president of the Huskies United Club, National Honor Society and a Link Crew leader; Freshman English Student of the Year honor and received superior honors for finishing the Arizona Study Program. Shewas also honored for her achievement in psychology by the American Psychological Association and played piano at competitions and senior retirement homes. She took many trips to underprivileged regions of Mexico and Taiwan as a music and an English teacher.

The students who are tied for fourth in their class, Kaitlyn Luo, 17, will also be acknowledged at Hamilton’s graduation.

Perry High School

Valedictorian Tamillia Thomas, 18, of Chandler, has a cumulative grade-point average of 4.93. The daughter of Sandra and William Thomas, she plans to attend the University of Arizona and wants to be a chemical engineer.

Tamillia Thomas

Tamillia Thomas

Most valuable lesson learned: “You don’t have to do it alone.”

Activities: Common Sense Club, volunteering with her church’s mobile food pantry.

Salutatorian Christopher Smith, 18, of Chandler, who has cumulative grade-point average of 4.89 and plans to go to Stony Brook University in New York State to study applied mathematics and “pursue a career in systems biology where I use mathematical models to explain biological systems.” His parents are Charles and Rocio Smith.

Most valuable lesson learned: “Doing things that scare you is the best thing you could do for yourself.”

Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith

Activities: National Honor Society, Spanish Honors Society, Math Club, FACES, Interact, Asian Culture Club, varsity soccer, club soccer, volunteering in Spanish and tutoring, Chandler Public Library and marathon volunteering, Flinn scholarship and National Merit finalist, National Hispanic Scholar, National AP Scholar, Mathnasium employee.

Perry graduating senior Joanna Gunaraj, 17, Chandler, was elected by the top 5 percent of the senior class to give a speech at commencement. She has a cumulative GPA of 4.63.


Valley Christian High

Co-valedictorians are Lindsay Pacheco, 18, of Phoenix, and Julianna Gay, 18, of Chandler. The salutatorian is Jeremy Sass, 18, of Gilbert.

Gay’s cumulative GPA is 4.0 unweighted. Her father is Leonard Gay and her late mother was Mariza Gay. She plans to go to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., to study international business and would like to attend law school

Lindsay Pacheco

Lindsay Pacheco

Most valuable lesson learned: “I learned not only how to delegate as a leader, particularly through my roles on Student Council, but how important it is to delegate and lead your team well in a position of authority.”

Activities: Student body president, National Honor Society,  Valley Christian Ambassadors and softball, track and field and volleyball teams.

Pacheco, daughter of Arnulfo and Yolines Pacheco, plans to go to ASU and wants to become an optometrist.

Most valuable lesson learned: “My time at Valley Christian has taught me how to set priorities and determine what’s really important to me.”

Julianna Gay

Julianna Gay

Activities: National Honor Society, drama and theater and Valley Christian Ambassadors.

Sass is planning to study biomedical engineering at ASU and after finishing his undergraduate degree wants to go to medical school. He is the son of Kevin and Janine Sass.

Most valuable lesson learned: “Find a good group of friends to be close with, who can hold you accountable, and continue to develop close relationships with them that last through high school and beyond.”

Activities: Basketball and baseball, yearbook staff, National Honor Society and Valley Christian Ambassadors.