As we prepare for graduations in the Colton Joint Unified School District, we’d like to take a moment to give special recognition to our Valedictorians and Salutatorians, who have earned their place at the top of their class through hard work, perseverance and focus.
Here are our Valedictorians and Salutatorians for the Class of 2021:
Bloomington High School
Valedictorian Windell Viste
Windell Viste is the Bloomington High School Valedictorian. Windell has earned a GPA of 4.82 and plans to attend UCLA to study nursing. He plans to become a travel or pediatric nurse.
Windell earned the ACES (all A’s) award for all of his four years at BHS. He also was named an AP Scholar with Distinction by the College Board, the organization that administers Advanced Placement tests.
Thinking of his K-12 career, Windell said, “I’ll always remember my friends who have been by my side. They’ve helped me academically and always pushed me to be better in life. I truly appreciate them and will always be grateful for what they have done for me.”
He offered this advice for his fellow graduates: “Whatever you do, make sure to ask yourself if it will make you happy. We don’t know where life will take us, and you don’t want to be filled with regrets by the end of it. Use the one life you have being with people who bring out the best in you and doing things that make you happy.”
Salutatorian Jesenia Lopez
Jesenia Lopez is the Bloomington High School Salutatorian. Jesenia has earned a GPA of 4.67. She will attend Wellesley College in Massachusetts in the fall, where she will be a member of the cross-country and track and field teams. Jesenia plans to pursue a degree in biology on the pre-med track.
“My involvement in sports ever since elementary school has inspired me to strive for a career in the medical field where I can use my gifts, experiences and passions to help and give back to the athletic community that I was raised in,” she said.
Jesenia said she is most grateful for the teachers who have helped her to achieve her goals.
“I will definitely remember the encouragement that all my teachers provided throughout the years,” she said. “Their support helped pave the road to the goals that I had, have and will set for myself – and I’m very grateful for that.”
To her classmates, Jesenia said, “ I know that many of us have struggled so much throughout this pandemic, whether it was in our personal lives or academically in school. But, we’ve stayed strong and made it to the end. I want all of you to know that this is an amazing accomplishment that everyone should be proud of. Now that high school has come to an end, a new door is opening for us – our future. Just like C.S. Lewis said, “There are far, far better things ahead than any that we leave behind.”
Colton High School
Valedictorian Daniela Villegas
Daniela Villegas is Colton High School’s Valedictorian. Daniela has achieved a GPA of 4.65. She plans to attend UC Riverside in the fall, majoring in mathematics. She plans to later pursue a master’s degree and become a high school math teacher, “preferably an Algebra II or Calculus teacher.”
“All my years in high school were memorable, but one thing I will always be thankful for are my friends,” she said. “They are amazing and wonderful people. Anyone would be lucky to call them friends.”
“To the Class of 2021: Our last year in high school was not what we expected. However, we are a class that has persevered throughout this difficult year, which says a lot about our class. We are awesome. I hope that each and every one of you is happy or finds happiness, especially as we move forward with our lives, because happiness brings forth success and accomplishment in a person’s life. Thank you for being you and continue to do so!”
Salutatorian Elijah Salazar
Elijah Salazar is the Colton High School Salutatorian. Elijah has achieved a GPA of 4.59 and plans to attend UC San Diego in the fall where he will study aerospace engineering. He hopes to attain a bachelor’s, masters’ and doctorate degrees. His career goals include working on aviation vehicles for SpaceX or NASA.
In addition to his academic success, Elijah has stayed very active in extracurricular activities. He has been a varsity member of the cross country and track and field teams throughout high school and was team captain. He is Vice President of the CHS Mock Trial team, graduated from Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gomez-Reyes’ Young Legislators program, served as the Boys’ State delegate from CHS and is a finalist in the prestigious Hispanic Scholarship Fund program.
Speaking of his time in our district, Elijah said, “Throughout my K-12 career I have been fortunate enough to meet people who genuinely cared about me and hoped to see me become my best self. Whether it be friends trying to get me to become more social or teachers who wanted to help me enhance skills that would help me in the future, I will always remember the support of the community around me and the privilege I had to have such caring individuals in my life.”
His advice to his classmates: “I hope each and every one of you are proud of making it through this year. It was far from easy, but we have persevered through perhaps one of the hardest years of our lives. I hope everybody can enjoy the final moments of our high school careers and maintain your dedication and resilience throughout your future endeavors.”
Grand Terrace High School
Valedictorian Violet Najjar
Violet is one of two Valedictorians at GTHS this year. She has earned a GPA of 4.76. In the fall she will attend UCLA as a biology/pre-med major.
Violet said that during her time as a K-12 student she has learned the importance of “surrounding yourself with supportive people, putting forth effort, and getting used to asking for help. That is a good recipe for success.”
“It has been a privilege growing up with my friends. I hope my classmates stay motivated and proud…always,” she said.
Valedictorian William Rohder William is one of two Valedictorians at GTHS this year. William has earned a GPA of 4.76 He plans to attend UC Riverside in the fall, where he will study neuroscience in preparation for a career as a neurosurgeon. He is a recipient of the prestigious UC Chancellor’s Scholarship.
William said he will always remember the support he received from his Advanced Placement (AP) teachers, especially this year.
He gave this advice to his fellow graduates: “There are always pressures that force us to focus on school, but never forget your community and the importance of building lasting relationships. Those things matter too.”
Salutatorian Megan Bermudez
Megan Bermudez is the Grand Terrace High School Salutatorian. Megan has earned a GPA of 4.70 and will attend UCLA this fall to study biochemistry in preparation for a career in medicine.
Megan said she will always look back fondly on her time at GTHS. She appreciated the opportunity to connect with her teachers, especially her Spanish teachers.
To her classmates, Megan said, “ We’ve all gone through tough times this year, but never stop trying and always try to connect with others. We have limited time here, so make the most of it.”