By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Manteca High class sporting co-valedictorians
pic mhs-vals-sal n-LT
From left, Ryan Ender (co-valedictorian), Isabella Garcia-Mendez (salutatorian) and Mahir Pepic (co-valedictorian) enjoy the wall in the Tutoring Room at Manteca High. On Friday evening, theyll be the ones leading the Class of 2015 at graduation ceremonies in Guss Schmiedt Field. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Ryan Ender and Mahir Pepic are both UCLA-bound.

The co-valedictorians of Manteca High will be roommates when they relocate to Southern California in the coming months.

“My plans to go to UCLA were last-minute (change),” said Pepic, who really wanted to go Stanford.

Stanford was also high on the list for salutatorian Isabella Garcia-Mendez, who instead will go to UC Berkeley to study Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations. Her long-range goal is law school.

As for Ender, he looked at UC Irvine but UCLA was really his school of choice. His major will be Business Economics.

Ender and Pepic, who will major in Molecular Biology, finished in a dead heat for the top academic honor at MHS with identical 4.4 grade point averages.

Ryan Ender is the son of Jason and Jennifer Ender. During his time at MHS, he was involved in Academic Decathlon, California Scholarship Federation (vice president), and College Prep Club.

Ender, who is on the Manteca Youth Advisory Commission, was the founder and treasurer of Club of Cultures while also initiating the Summer Success tutoring program for elementary school students.

Mahir Pepic is the son of Sanela and Ejup Pepic. He played lower level basketball and soccer before discovering that running was his sport.

Pepic was a captain in track and also ran cross country. In addition, he was an Academic Decathlon member, School Site chairman, College Prep Club president, Give Every Child A Chance mentor, Manteca Branch Library volunteer, and provided music lessons to the community.

Isabella Garcia-Mendez, who finished with a 4.36 GPA, is the daughter of Silvia Mendez and Francisco Garcia. When it comes to music, she was drum major for the MHS marching band and earned all-County band and all-District band honors during the past four years.

But her biggest claim to fame was being selected state officer for HOSA-Future Health Professionals formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America. Garcia-Mendez credits her public speaking skills for getting the nod to the post.

No doubt she’s looking forward to addressing classmates, teachers, administrators, family and friends at Friday’s commencement exercises at Guss Schmiedt Field.

Ditto that for Ender and Pepic.

Ender says he’s “excited and anxious” about the opportunity to speak at graduation.

Pepic added: “I’m not nervous – there’s so much to say but so little time.”