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Lan, Nguyen leading Ripon Class of 2021
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From left, Ripon High valedictorian Brendan Lan and salutatorian Nikki Nguyen display new mural, which is the Class of 2021 gift to the school.

Brendan Lan and Nikki Nguyen are more than student leaders at Ripon High.

They’re also the top academic achievers for the Class of 2021.

Lan was named valedictorian thanks to his 4.43 grade point average. He was recently accepted to Cornell University, where he plans to study Entomology at the Ivy League school.

Lan served as the senior class president for the past year.

Nguyen is the ASB President and salutatorian.

She managed a 4.3 GPA and will be attending UCLA in the fall. It's there that she plans to major in Biology – Nguyen's goal is to become an oral surgeon.

She’s the daughter of Linda Le and Phillip Nguyen.

For now, Nikki Nguyen is looking forward to graduation at the newly revamped Stouffer Field on Friday, May 28.

“I’m just happy that we're going to have an actual graduation,” she said, recalling last year's class having to make do with a drive-thru ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lan is equally looking forward to hearing the tune of Pomp & Circumstance.

He’s was also happy with the class gift of the “Ripon: World’s Greatest High School” mural – the senior gift is a traditional way of providing thanks for the past four years. Each letter, in this case, was done in large red and white lettering of “Ripon.”

According to Lan, each letter features drawings on different parts of the school – academics, sports, agriculture, music, art, theater, journalism, JROTC, etc.

As for his interest in entomology, he traces that back to his days in kindergarten when his teacher allowed play with beetle grubs in the dirt.

He’s the president and founder of the Bug Club on campus. He also founded – and served as president – the Yoga / Pilates Mindfulness Club.

Lan, in addition, took part in Science Olympiad, Drama Club (freshman and sophomore year), Asian Culture Club (previously known as the Korean Culture Club), and played four years of tennis for the Indians – last year, he and his partner, Molly Ysit, took home the Trans Valley League Mixed Doubles crown.

Nguyen was also involved in Science Olympiad, Asian Culture Club, Multicultural Club, and sports – she played golf in her freshman and sophomore, and was a pole vaulter for the Indians’ track & field team.

Outside of school, Nguyen served as the social media director for the Sacramento Vietnamese Medical Dental Pharmacy Association and helped with a COVID Healthcare group in providing 400 healthcare packages to those in a Sacramento homeless shelter.

Nguyen enjoys playing the piano, calling it her “recreation.”