Ripon High School twins were an inspiration to each other throughout their four years of high school – along with their “mom” who was always there for them – urging them on to do better after their dad died some 10 years ago.
Gagandip and her sister Amandip studied together and with their mother’s help planned carefully for their future and upcoming college experience at U.C. Merced in the fall.
Gagandip said she felt a great honor in being selected as Ripon High’s valedictorian for the Friday night’s commencement ceremonies with Shannon Marie Wesley taking the honor of being selected salutatorian for the class of 193 of their peers.
“I remember walking on campus my first day of freshman year and thinking how am I going to adapt to this new environment?” she quipped. “Because, compared to elementary school, high school felt like a whole new world. Thanks to our high school we have all been able to make new friends, grow as individuals and most of all – join the Tribe.”
Speaking to her peers, she said, “As some of you may or not know when I was eight years old my father passed away. “I am not telling you this to dampen the mood – as today is such a joyous occasion – but I want to tell you because I believe that we can all grow from each other’s experiences. As an eight-year-old girl, I realized that life can be difficult and it is our duty to overcome the obstacles that are thrown into our paths.”
Never lose faith, she told her audience of seniors and parents, because you can and you will overcome them – you will learn so much about yourself in the process, she added.
“Since my father’s death, my mother Jackie and my twin sister Amadip Singh have become my inspiration for everything I do. And, as we all strive for excellence and success throughout our lives, I encourage you all to find something or someone in your lives that pushes you to be the best you can be – someone who motivates you to reach your goals. What I am trying to say is find your inspiration and never let it go – success is inevitable if you have the motivation and the drive to accomplish your dreams.”
It was exactly that philosophy that caused both girls to garner so many scholarships to help them at U.C. Merced – never putting entertainment or recreation before their education.
Amandip was troubled with a brief illness that caused her GPA to drop slightly. When Gagandip had what appeared to be a bronchial illness days before graduation and couldn’t talk, her sister volunteered to go up to the microphone with her and read her speech in front of the crowd. It was not necessary, however as graduation day neared she improved.
It was senior class President Emma Lewis who welcomed the parents to the graduation. Principal Lance Morrow officially accepted the Class of 2015 for graduation. The class motto was, “We are people building our lives as we strive to create tomorrow today.”