Gustine High School’s valedictorians are going places - from the University of Notre Dame to the University of California, Santa Barbara – and some of them are first generation college students.
While Karla Luquin and Gerzayr Alapizco picked Notre Dame as their top choice for the fall semester, Esmeralda Morales and Joanna Villalobos will be attending UC Santa Barbara while Camille Alamo is heading to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Luquin, Alapizco, Morales, Villalobos and Alamo graduated June 1 from Gustine High School in front of friends and family.
Gustine High School has a student population of 575 students with 82 percent Hispanic.
This year, the graduating class of 2018 included 128 students.
Luquin, Morales and Villalobos are first-generation college students in their families.
The 18-year-old Luquin, who graduated with a grade point average of 4.67, wants to become a doctor and work with children. Luquin, a Dell Scholar, was one of 100 incoming freshmen students selected to visit Notre Dame in Indiana.
Alapizco, who has a grade point average of 4.5, plans to study mechanical engineering at Notre Dame.
The 18-year-old high school graduate, who was born in La Paz, Baja California, México is the oldest of three siblings and was only 4 years old when his family moved to the United States.
“They are all supportive,” said Alapizco of his parents being happy he is going away from college, adding he is looking forward to college life.
Alapizco and Luquin were part of the AVID program.
Alamo, who graduated with a grade point average of 4.33, plans to study agricultural science at Cal Poly, SLO with the goal to become an agricultural teacher. Some of the other schools Alamo applied included Fresno State University, UC Davis and California State University, Chico because of their agricultural programs, before saying yes to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.
Alamo, 18, was born in Modesto, and her family has been in the agriculture industry for many years. She said she received approximately $15,000 in scholarships including several local scholarships as well as some agricultural base scholarships.
Alamo was the president of the Future Farmers of America in Gustine.
Villalobos, 17, is undeclared in the College of Letters and Science at UC Santa Barbara. She hasn’t undecided what major she will be pursuing but one of her options is Bio Chemistry since her long term goal is to become doctor.
Villalobos, who was born in Modesto, said her twin brother is going to UC Merced, one of the other universities she considered attending.
“They are really proud that we are gong to go to college,” said Villalobos of her parents, who are originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, México.
“I am nervous about leaving them,” Villalobos said, adding that at the same time she was excited for what awaits her in college. She is graduated with a grade point average of 4.17.
At UC Santa Barbara, 17-year-old Morales will be studying biology science.
Born in Hollister, Morales said her parents are from Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, México and her dad is a mechanic and her mother works at a fast food restaurant.
“I want a career in the medical field, preferable as pediatrician,” said Morales, who also graduated with a grade point average of 4.17. “I have a passion for science.”