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Ripon High valedictorian credits parents for success
pic brianna-gunnarson1
Brianna Gunnarson

RIPON – As valedictorian, Brianna Gunnarson will address the Ripon High Class of 2012 at Thursday’s 7 p.m. commencement exercises.

“I am a little nervous about my speech,” she confessed on Monday. “I have never spoken to that many people before.”

With that said, Stouffer Field is expected to be jam-packed with family members, friends, and guests.

Gunnarson earned the top academic honor thanks in part to her 4.07 grade point average. She’ll be attending UC Davis in the fall, majoring in Animal Science.

“I was happy that I’ve done well (in high school) and that my GPA reflected all of the hard work I put in,” said the daughter of Mike and Sandy Gunnarson.

Brianna Gunnarson was also the recipient of numerous honors at Senior Night, including the Air Force Math and Science Award, the Ripon Grange Scholarship, the Soroptimist-Fae Facto Award, the CVAR Manteca Council Scholarship, and the Dillon Chiulli Memorial Scholarship.

All told, she made the most out of her two years at RHS.

Gunnarson took part in the Academic Decathlon, Advanced Choir, and took Advanced Placement courses.

Her favorite memories of her time at RHS consisted of decorating the living room of her teacher Mary Swier for Christmas, dancing the waltz at a school rally, taking part in a Russian tea party in English class, and traveling to San Diego with her Advanced Choir group.

She credits her folks for her success.

“My mom and dad were my biggest influences,” said Gunnarson, who previously attended Sedro-Woolley High in Washington. “I was homeschooled and they taught me that there is more to school than simply getting grades.

“They taught me to love learning for learning’s sake. They taught me that dreaming big is not dreaming impossible.”

Gunnarson will take that hard work and dedication to college, where her future plans include getting into veterinarian school.

“I am looking forward to the adventure of college and being on my own, but I am sad to leave my family,” she said.