LATHROP – Jorvic Ramos and Justin Fernandez stood tall as they made their way across the Lathrop High School campus.
Not only did they hold the top two cumulative grade point averages out of all of the seniors on campus – taking the valedictorian and salutatorian titles, respectively – but they were also part of the school’s first graduation class.
Helping start a tradition of excellence on the three-year-old campus is something that the two – who have been friends since they attended Joseph Widmer Elementary School together – can always say that they did together.
“It’s a great legacy to start here at Lathrop High School. It’s starting a tradition,” said Ramos – who claimed the Valedictorian post with a 4.26 GPA. “It helps give us our own identity.”
Fernandez – who is the school’s first salutatorian with a 4.25 GPA – celebrated at graduation on Friday with each of the friends he has made since transferring to the campus after attending Sierra High his freshman year.
“I’ve enjoyed spending time with my friends for what have been the best times of our lives. Now I’m going to get to see my friends graduate,” said the son of Cesar and Maritess Fernandez. “I’ve been going to school with Jorvic at Widmer and now Lathrop High all these years, and it’ll be good to see him up there giving his speech at graduation.”
Getting to where they are, however, hasn’t been an easy task.
A hearty workload of classes including Advanced Placement calculus, government, biology, English literature, Spanish and U.S. History have taken concentration, dedication and focus to weather. Adding extra-curriculars like involvement in the Lathrop Academic Honors Society and sports wiped out most of their free-time.
But in the end, as they look back on their high school years and the work that they put in and prepare for their collegiate futures, the two can’t help but feel proud of their accomplishments.
Passing on that knowledge to other students who will soon be in their places is also something that weighs heavily on their minds.
“You should always try hard no matter how difficult the task,” Fernandez said. “You can achieve whatever you want if you just put your mind to it.”
The pair will soon split-up as Ramos is gearing up to head to UC Davis to major in biomedical engineering in order to pursue a career that combines the medical field with his love for math and Fernandez is heading to UC Merced to major in bio-chemistry as a precursor to a career in medicine.
It’s this new journey, Ramos says, that will be the most important part in his life as he prepares to lay down a foundation for what will eventually become his adult life.
“It just seems like it’s getting more competitive out there, and even the people who know what they’re doing are getting rejected all of the time because they don’t have enough education,” said the son of Imelda and Richard Ramos. “I always believe that you should work as hard as you possibly can because there will always be somebody out there doing more than you are right now.”