RIPON – There’s no doubt that Jessica Apfel has the brains.
The Ripon High School senior is currently waiting patiently for word from both the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – known as Cal-Tech and MIT, respectively – about whether she’ll be a student when classes commence in the fall.
They’re only two of the most prestigious scientific institutions in the world, and would give her the education she needs to move forward with a career in computer programming – following in the footsteps of her father who has always held a job in the technology sector and has always fascinated Apfel with his work and his world away from home.
All she needs now is to learn how to socialize among her peers and she’ll be set for the next four years. And as a Ripon Almond Blossom Queen candidate, that’s exactly what she plans to do.
“I really want to learn how to become more outgoing and less why and I think that this will teach me how to do that,” said the daughter of Bill and Jan Apfel. “When I do go away to school, wherever that is, I’m going to be in an environment where there are people all around, and I need to become more independent.”
While the majority of Apfel’s time is spent studying, she still finds time to serve on the academic decathlon and volunteers as a tutor for Give Every Child a Chance. She enjoys tennis, playing video games and rocketing with her boyfriend and loves being artistic in fun and unusual ways.
But with her favorite time of year coming, Apfel is happy that she’ll get a chance to partake in a tradition that she enjoys – something that is a deviation from the Silicon Valley home that she grew up in.
“I’m originally from San Jose, and it’s not like here,” Apfel said. “There are traditions here that you don’t find in other cities. I like the parade because everybody comes out to watch it and you get to see people coming down Main Street and the queens riding back there.
“It’s one of the great things that we have here in Ripon.”
Apfel has already cleared hes first shyness hurdle by delivering a speech to the crowd of more than 100 at the annual Almond Blossom kick-off dinner last week. She’ll get another chance on Feb. 9th when she’ll participate in the Ripon Soroptimists fashion show.
In between she’ll get time to spend with her new friends and acquaintances, and maybe sneak in a salad with almonds on top with a few drops of olive oil – the way that she enjoys the fruit of celebration.
“When I walked into this thing I knew two people,” she said. “I’m definitely getting the chance to meet new people, and it’s fun. I think it’ll be good.”