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Top SHS grads friends since 5th grade
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From left, Sierra High valedictorian Madison Taylor and salutatorian Marena Rankin will lead the Class of 2009 at the June 5 commencement exercises at Daniel M. Teicheira Memorial Stadium. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
Madison Taylor and Marena Rankin have known each other since they were fifth-grade students at Brock Elliott School.

They’ve followed a familiar path to excellence during the past four years at Sierra High, thus, earning the highest academic honors.

Taylor, who compiled a 4.21 grade point average, is the valedictorian for the Class of 2009. She and salutatorian Rankin, who had a 4.15 GPA, will lead the large group of 432 students earning their diplomas.

The June 5 graduation begins at 7 p.m. at Daniel M. Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

“I think what I’ll miss most about high school is competing in sports,” said Madison Taylor, who is the daughter of Arthur and Catherine Taylor. “Because of it, I met a lot of new people.”

She was involved in volleyball, track and field, and played three years of soccer.

Taylor, who also took part in Link Crew and such clubs as Frisbee, Wolf Pack Spirit, Speech, In-Harmony, Hiking, and Ski/Snowboarding, will be attending Brigham Young University in the fall.

She hopes to become a pharmacist.

Marena Rankin is the daughter of Razia Raja and Richard Rankin.

She’s bound for UC Berkeley. “I’ll be the first one in my family to go to college,” Rankin said.

During her time at Sierra, she was vice president of the Hispanic-heritage MEChA Club, commissioner of Link Crew, and secretary of Peer Resource.

“The best memories of high schools are the times I shared with friends,” said Rankin, who is planning to keep it ‘light’ on her graduation speech.

“Graduation can be emotional for some,” she added. “I just want to keep it light for the occasion.”

Taylor will talk about the past, present and future.

As a freshman, for example, she served as Winterfest princess. “I was shy back then and was involved in spirit week,” Taylor recalled.

Looking back, she’s amazed at her personal growth of the past four years.

Taylor, in fact, sees much of the same ahead with college and moving away from home.