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Merlos leads Ripon High Class of 2018
Ripon valedictorian
Ripon High valedictorian Andres Merlos and salutatorian Amanda Wesley will be among the 204 seniors at the May 25 graduation ceremonies at Stouffer Field. - photo by VINCE REMBUALT
Andres Merlos and Amanda Wesley will share the honors of ushering in Ripon High’s Class of 2018 at the graduation ceremonies come Friday, May 25.
As valedictorian, Merlos, who will be attending UCLA in the fall to study Biology, was tops in his class with a 4.30 grade point average.
Wesley’s GPA rounded out to a 4.30.
She’ll be attending San Jose State with a possible major in Graphic Design. Wesley looked at several colleges including Long Beach State and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
“I wanted to be closer to home,” she said, mentioning her dogs – namely, Ally, her border collie, and her Maltese Murphy – as part of that reason.
As for graduation, some in attendance will be among the first to sit in the new bleachers at Stouffer Field. According to school counselor Mike Morenzone, 204 – at last count – will receive their diplomas that day.
Merlos and Wesley, as the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, will have the honors of delivering some parting words of wisdom and maybe a few memories with their classmates.
“My (graduation) speech) has more to do with quality over quantity,” said Andres Merlos, who is the son of Maria Merlos. “I’d been thinking about it and even had a rough draft – I’ve already rearranged it.”
Added Wesley on addressing her classmates: “It’s a little intimidating to impart wisdom to my peers.”
During her years at RHS, she played varsity tennis, volleyball as freshman and sophomore, and involved in Link Crew, Girls League and California Scholastic Federation.
Merlos played junior varsity tennis and ran cross country. He was also in A Cappella Club, Jazz Club and Drama Club.
One of his fond memories was the student-formed Barber Shop Quartet. Merlos, who did both AP Music and Advanced Choir, credited a friend for the invite to sing bass for the group.
He also opted for UCLA – over that of UC Davis and Sonoma State – after once visiting the campus with his brother Luis, who is four years older.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail