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Dad keeps promise to daughter: She gets a Prius as valedictorian

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Dad keeps promise to daughter: She gets a Prius as valedictorian

Abigail Van Vuren, Ripon High School's Valedictorian of the Class of 2009, poses in front of the school that has been her de facto home for the past four years. With a cumulative GPA of 4.1, life...


POSTED June 3, 2009 3:03 a.m.
RIPON – Abigail Van Vuren comes across as shy when she meets somebody that she isn’t familiar with.

Thanks to a disarming smile and a charm that makes everyone around her feel at ease, Van Vuren – who has called Ripon home for her entire life – didn’t have a whole lot of trouble feeling right at home in a community that had always been, well, her home.

And tonight, Van Vuren will get to show the thousands in attendance at Stouffer Field what hard work and dedication can do when she delivers her address as the Valedictorian of Ripon High School’s Class of 2009.

“I was a little bit shocked when I found out that I was being selected,” Van Vuren said – noting that she had finished her four years with a 4.1 grade point average that was inflated due to Advanced Placement English, Language, Literature, and Composition. “I was thrilled because it’s such an honor to be able to speak in front of your friends and your classmates on such a special day.”

As the daughter of Wes and Trish Van Vuren, Abigail took an interest in her school work at an early age and developed a knack for learning just about anything she could – focusing her efforts on the sciences and working her way up the secondary education ladder in order to take classes like anatomy and physiology.

When she isn’t studying for her own classes, Van Vuren tutors elementary school students so that she can possibly plant the same seed of knowledge that began to grow in her at such a young age.

“It’s great to see kids finally being able to understand something that they’ve been struggling with,” Van Vuren said. “It’s a way to share what I know with other people, and that’s very important to me.”

While her options are open in terms of what she wishes to do once she graduates tonight, Van Vuren plans on attending Modesto Junior College before eventually transferring to California State University, Stanislaus where she plans on being a nurse.

“I want to be able to help people, and have that sort of a rewarding feeling when I come home at night knowing that what I just got done doing made somebody’s life a little bit easier or less painful,” she said. “It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time.”

And when it comes to driving to the graduation ceremony tonight, Van Vuren might already have a full car – thanks to a deal that her father made with her at the beginning of her high school days: as long as she got straight A’s, he’d give her his car.

The Toyota Prius Hybrid that she’s already been driving is about to get a whole lot more miles in the near future.

“I’m really looking forward tonight, and I’m proud to be in the position that I’m in,” Van Vuren said. “I’m still kind of working on the speech, but it’s something that I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to take care of. It’s just one more thing to do before I climb behind the wheel of that car.”

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