As the end of the year is fast approaching and graduation is coming soon for seniors, Downey High students are curious as to know who are the valedictorian and salutatorian for this year's graduating class. The valedictorian and salutatorian for Downey High's Class of 2009 are Ricardo Mayo and Heidi Lambert, respectively.Ricardo Mayo is the valedictorian of this year's senior class. His accomplishments include serving as a Police Explorer for the City of Bell since his eighth grade year and founding the Mock Trial Club at Downey High. This year, he represented Downey at the California Golden Boys' State, a program for students with an interest in government and who possess qualities of leadership. He enjoys playing lacrosse and has been on the school lacrosse team for the past four years. Mayo will be attending Princeton University in the fall. Princeton, an Ivy League school located in the New Jersey-based city bearing the same name, appeals to many students because of its beautiful campus. "I have to say the campus blew me away. I felt like I had walked into a movie. Touring the campus and seeing all it had to offer made me realize more than anything that Princeton was the place for me," said Mayo. Mayo says he is also looking forward to meeting new people and making strong friendships at Princeton. He has visited the campus prior to his acceptance, and the warmth and cordiality he received from his future peers made him all the more eager to start his term. "Everyone was so humble and down-to-earth. Honestly, I had been anticipating a bunch of snobby, rich geniuses [at Princeton]. Instead, I found friends and companions that I knew I would be privileged to live with for the next four years." Mayo plans to double major in English Literature and Latin American Studies. He hopes these two fields of study will help him achieve his dream of becoming a writer. Heidi Lambert is the salutatorian of her senior class. A talented flute player, Lambert has been performing in the school Marching Band for the past four years. She is also a member of JSA (Junior State of America), an after school club in which members hold debates and discussions on today's political issues. She plans on attending Cal State Long Beach in the fall. Cal State Long Beach, widely known for its excellent teaching credential program, suits Lambert's interest, which is aiding students with special needs. "I'm interested in becoming a special education teacher because my older brother has Down syndrome. I'm interested in helping others who have disabilities," said Lambert. Like many seniors, Lambert looks forward to the freedom she will have in college. "The liberties to choose my own classes and to take classes that interest me sound pretty interesting." Lambert would like to receive a teaching credential from Cal State Long Beach and become a teacher at an elementary school in southern California. As their years at Downey High are nearing an end, Mayo and Lambert reflected on what they would miss most about high school. "I think I'll miss my friends, my teachers, my counselor, my coaches-basically all the cool people I met at Downey High School. I will always hold dear all the memories and friends I made in high school," said Mayo. "I think I'll miss my friends and how I can see them often," said Lambert. Senior year is one of the most challenging years in high school, and it was no exception for these high-achieving students as well. For Mayo, senior year was demanding, but he advises the incoming senior class that while academics is important, students should not forget to enjoy their last year of high school. "Try not to get so caught up in academics and the college process that you forget to enjoy your senior year. It's the last year in high school, so enjoy it," he says. Likewise for Lambert, senior year marks the end of high school, but that doesn't mean one should treat it any differently from other grade levels.
********** Published: June 19, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 9