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Mikami leading Ripon High Class of 2020
ripon valed
Ripon High valedictorian Kiana Mikami is joined by her family, Chantha (mother), Grace (sister) and Roy (father) in front of the school. - photo by

Kiana Mikami closed out her years at Ripon High by completing five Advanced Placement courses.

No small task by any means.

"I’ve finally caught up on sleep,” she said last Friday, referring to the global COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders for providing her with some much-needed down time.

Her hard work in the classroom paid off as she was named valedictorian.

She's the daughter of Chantha and Roy Mikami, who along with her younger sister Grace, took pride in Kiana's accomplishment as the top academic student for the Class of 2020.

Graduation ceremony at RHS is tentatively scheduled for July 31.

That date won't conflict with Kiana Mikami's college plans.

She'll be attending UCLA in the fall, majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a career path in the medical field.

Mikami, who finished with a 4.31 GPA, looked at other schools — namely, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego -- but her clear choice was the storied Westwood campus.

At RHS, she was involved in the Chess Club (president), Scubs Club (vice president), California Scholarship Federation, Renaissance Club, Link Crew, and the Science Olympiad, to name a few.

Mikami ran cross country for three years but bowed out during her senior year to focus on her AP courses.

She later learned to balance her time at home once distance learning was implemented about two months ago.

Kiana had time to take up new hobbies such as painting — "She's very artistic," said her father Roy — reading, and cooking.

Kiana and her sister Grace recently celebrated their parents' 20th wedding anniversary by preparing food restaurant-style on a large Hibatchi griddle.

"It was fun," she said.

Mikami, who also volunteers her time at Bethany Homes, will often visit with friends and teachers via Zoom Office, Facetime, and other online sources.

"I've met friends in person (social distancing) in a car circle," she said.