It was hardly a surprise that Si Jie “Jessica” Tang was valedictorian for Manteca High’s Class of 2016.
After all, she had an unbelievable 4.89 grade point average and was already Ivy League-bound – she chose Yale over Stanford.
Edvin Pepic is honored to be salutatorian. He had a 4.7 GPA and will be attending UCLA in the fall – he’ll be joining his brother Mahir Pepic, who was last year’s co-valedictorian, as a Bruin.
Besides the classroom, Tang and Pepic both played tennis for the Buffaloes.
Pepic missed playing his senior year due to his work schedule as the Give Every Child a Chance site coordinator at Woodward Elementary School. Prior to that, he was a doubles player for a MHS program that won a pair of Valley Oak League titles and one Sac-Joaquin Section finalist.
Those moments were highlights of the past four years for Pepic, who will be studying Political Science before going into Pre-Law.
He’s the son of Sanela and Ejup Pepic.
Jessica Tang is the daughter of Pei Fen Chen and Rong Bo Tang. She took up tennis in her junior year and played first doubles.
Tang spent three years on the MHS swim program. Her events were the 100-meter breast stroke and the 100 freestyle.
She prides involvement with Academic Decathlon among her fond moments of the past few years, in particular, last year.
“We made it to state for the first time in 10 years,” said Tang, who noted that the state event was held in Sacramento.
She was co-captain for the MHS Academic Decathlon team that captured the county competition.
At Yale, Tang is looking to major in Molecular Biology with a neurobiology tract.
For now, she and Pepic are looking forward to Friday.
They’ll be leading their fellow classmates into Guss Schmiedt Field for graduation scheduled for Friday, May 27, beginning at 7 p.m.
Both were nervous about addressing those in attendance.
“I’d like to do something comical,” said Tang in trying to prepare her speech.
Pepic is also looking to go more tongue in cheek with his speech but with a little bit of a serious note towards the end.