By Stephanie Bunker
Moapa Valley Progress
A lot of dedication goes into achieving the role of a school valedictorian. This year the Moapa Valley High School has four students that have long made it a goal of theirs. They have all worked hard to get straight A’s and have had to take challenging classes.
In order to be a Valedictorian, a student must first qualify for an Advanced Honors Diploma. They must have taken 22.5 credit hours and 12 classes of upper honor levels.
But honor of valedictorian goes to the student with the highest GPA, or it must be a minimum of 4.8 weighted GPA.
Here at Moapa Valley High School three students surpassed the 4.8 GPA this year to become the 2012 Valedictorians. These students are John Rockenbach, Pamela Mecham, and Kaylee Barlow.
The school’s Salutatorian has traditionally had the next highest GPA. The Salutatorian can potentially have one B. Allysa Zerkle is being awarded as this years Salutatorian.
John Rockenbach, Valedictorian
When asked which class was his favorite, John said that he had many. But one of the many he enjoyed the most was Forensics. Other activities he enjoyed at school were Year Book, National Honor Society, and Student Council.
Rockenbach served as the Student Body President for the 2012 school year.
“Being a Valedictorian has always been something I was shooting for,” he said.
John credited his mother, Linda, with keeping him organized and on track with his classes and activities throughout his four years of high school.
The day after Rockenbach graduates, he is getting on a plane and travelling to Indianapolis, Indiana to participate in Debate Nationals. For the rest of the summer Rockenbach said he plans to do as little as possible before he heads off to college. He will be attending University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Rockenbach chose this school because it is close to many of his relatives.
Several scholarships have been awarded to John. He received the National Merit Scholarship, the college is giving him an opportunity to apply for their scholarship that will cover his tuition, and he received the Overton Power Scholarship which amounts to $2,000.
Within the next 10 years, Rockenbach plans on going to law school and will be looking for a job in that field.
Pamela Mecham, Valedictorian
For Pamela, being Valedictorian has been a long time goal. “My goal began 12 years ago when my brother Brad was Valedictorian,” she said.
Pamela said that her mother, Jan Mecham, helped her achieve her goal by being supportive. She also helped Pamela understand homework, and got her into classes that would challenge her.
During Mecham’s high school career she was a vital member of the Theatre Tech class, played snare drum in the Pepe Band at all the football and basketball games and was a part of National Honor Society.
Mecham will be attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah in the fall. She chose this school because all of her siblings attended BYU and almost all of them still live there. Mecham is still undecided what she wants to make her major study at school. But in 10 years she hopes to be married and have a family, she said.
Kaylee Barlow, Valedictorian
When Barlow had straight A’s throughout her early years in school she made a goal for herself to be Valedictorian in high school. “My mom pushed me to get good grades and do better,” Barlow said.
In her high school career Barlow participated in Student Council, National Honor Society, Pirate Motion Dance Team, and she played the piano as a Sophomore for the choir.
Two weeks after graduation Barlow will be attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah majoring in Graphic Design and minoring in Photography. She gained an interest in these subjects during high school when she took 2 years of Graphic Design and 3 years of Photography.
Barlow hopes to have her own Graphic Design business and be married with a family in 10 years.
Allysa Zerkle, Salutatorian
Allysa has filled the last four years of her life with many high school activities in high school.
“My parents encouraged me to do my best, but I had high expectations for myself,” Allysa said. “My mom influenced my decision because she is so accomplished.”
Allysa had the goal of being Valedictorian but struggled in her calculus class this year and received a B. Despite this, Allysa still considers Algebra her favorite subject, along with US History, Spanish, and Band.
She also enjoyed Cheerleading, Forensics, Pep Band, Jazz Band, Choir, Student Council and National Honor Society.
Allysa will be attending Brigham Young University in Rexberg Idaho this fall. She hasn’t declared her major yet, but expects to be taking piano pedagogy classes. These classes teach how to give piano lessons. In 10 years Zerkle hopes to be married and have one or two kids. She also hopes to be teaching piano lessons from home.