Flores sets new GPA record as Carter High School Valedictorian!

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Photos RUSD: Natalie Flores, Carter High School Valedictorian, accepts her diploma from Rialto Unified School District Board of Education President Edgar Montes during Carter High School’s graduation ceremony on June 4 at Toyota Arena in the City of Ontario. Flores set the record for the highest grade point average in school history with a 4.93 GPA.

Natalie Flores’ list of academic accomplishments is long and quite distinguished.

As she walked on stage at the majestic Toyota Arena in the City of Ontario, Carter High School graduate earned the recognition of Valedictorian for the Class of 2022, and also set an academic record at her Alma Mater. Her 4.93 GPA is the highest in school history and tops among the 1,766 high school graduates in the Rialto Unified School District’s Class of 2022. 

Congrats Rialto Adult School Class of 2022! The Rialto Adult School’s graduating class applauds during the graduation ceremony on June 4 at Toyota Arena in the City of Ontario.

Flores earned a full-ride scholarship to attend California State University, San Bernardino in the Academic Excellence Program, an exclusive program that accepts just 20 students each year. Yet, when asked about one of her proudest accomplishments in high school, Flores is quick to go outside of the realm of academics. She considers her volunteer work rescuing and fostering hundreds of cats among the achievements she is most proud of during her time in high school. 

“I’m really proud of my work fostering cats,” Flores smiled. “I was able to keep up my academic work while saving hundreds of cats and kittens and giving them homes!”

It is a fact that speaks to both her kindness and also how well-rounded of a person she is while keeping her grades up. Her favorite high school classes — Advanced Placement (AP) Human Geography, AP Statistics, and AP Studio Art — cover a wide range of subject matter. 

Rialto Unified School District Board of Education Member Dina Walker, left, congratulates an Eisenhower High School graduate during the Eagles’ graduation ceremony on June 4 at Toyota Arena in the City of Ontario.

Flores plans to major in biology, with a possible double major in chemistry on her way to eventually earning a medical degree, specializing in veterinary science so that she can continue providing medical aids to animals. 

“Helping animals has been a passion of mine since I was young,” Flores replied. “My dad (Adam Flores) calls me ‘Dr. Doolittle.’ When I was young he would let me outside to play, and I would come back with a stray dog or cat.” 

“I still do sometimes,” she added with a laugh.

Carter High School Acting Principal Jennifer Cuevas first met Flores during her freshman year, when she served as a Vice Principal at Carter High School. Flores’ academic performance was notable even at that point, with Cuevas recalling that she “absolutely shines, even when she was a freshman.” But, her kindness to others has always been a leading attribute as well, Cuevas said.

“She’s very, very driven, as you can tell from her academic performance, but she’s also incredibly kind,” Cuevas said. “She is just an absolutely great friend to her peers.”

For Flores, the goal was never to be valedictorian. She said her family has been proud of her academic achievements more than she has. She was always busy doing “the work” from taking summer classes to get ahead in school to taking college courses through concurrent enrollment. Her mom, Maria Flores, called her daughter the definition of a “hard worker.”

“She is diligent, perseverant and just doesn’t give up,” Maria replied. “Natalie doesn’t procrastinate. She makes time for things.”

Flores became excellent at balancing priorities that included a rigorous academic workload, working at Jamba Juice, being a member of the Girl Scouts, volunteering to help animals, making time for family, and fitting in a few hours of sleep along the way. 

“You have to make a lot of sacrifices, and you have to determine if it’s worth it,” Flores stated. “You have to have a lot of discipline. From a young age I just always liked to get things done. I would want to go play games or read a book so I would get things done as fast as possible, so after a while, it just became a habit. I could sit and study for long periods of time.”

Flores wrapped up her high school career on Saturday, June 4, 2022, at Carter High School’s graduation ceremony at Toyota Arena. One major accomplishment in the books, Flores was already preparing for the next set of accomplishments to come. On Monday, following graduation, she attended her student orientation at Cal State San Bernardino. 

Flores, the daughter of Adam and Maria, grew up in the City of Rialto with a younger brother, Christian. Flores also attended Fitzgerald Elementary School and Kucera Middle School before becoming the top scholar in the District. 

“Rialto Unified School District is extremely proud of the Class of 2022. Our graduates earned their diplomas and will now go on to discover a world of opportunities in education, work and other life choices,” stated RUSD Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila. “Natalie Flores is a strong example of how nurturing parenting, dedicated teachers and a willing mind can become the ingredient to accomplish so much. On behalf of the RUSD Board of Education, I wish Natalie Flores and the entire Class of 2022 the best life has to offer.”