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Valedictorian defies all odds

Senior+Janica+Mendillo+playing+badminton.
Senior Janica Mendillo playing badminton.

Senior Janica Mendillo playing badminton.

Senior Janica Mendillo playing badminton.

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She comes from a low-income, single parent household, and many would not expect much out of her.

Despite these odds, senior Janica Mendillo defies them all.

With an accumulative GPA of 4.6, Mendillo has earned the title of valedictorian for the class of 2018.

Over the course of her high school career, Mendillo has taken nine AP classes. Along with her rigorous class schedule, she has been part of the badminton team for four years and currently serves as the team’s captain.

“School has always been my top priority,” Mendillo said. “Being the valedictorian has always been a goal.”

The title of valedictorian has some familiarity for Mendillo as she also had the highest grades at her middle school. Her prime motivation to do well in school is her family, a single parent household.

“My mom works seven days a week,” she said. “To make her worry less about what I’m doing, I just did everything well. So when she comes home she isn’t stressed.”

Another person who has helped Mendillo get to the place where she is now is senior Eugelyn Lopez, who has earned the title of salutatorian. The two have known each other for ten years and have attended the same schools since second grade. The two best friends helped each other through the struggles of high school.

“The first couple months of sophomore year we would always facetime each other and do our homework together,” she said. “That helped me transition into that AP period.”

Senior Janica Mendillo playing badminton.

Mendillo’s hard work has definitely paid off as she has been accepted into prestigious colleges such as Brown University, Stanford University, and University of California, Berkeley.

With a 4.8% acceptance rate, Stanford is definitely a competitive school to get into and may seem daunting to apply to; however, this did not stop Mendillo from trying.

“I know when I was applying to Stanford no one else was,” she said. “There are a lot of stereotypes around people here just because we are low-income and are minorities. They don’t expect much out of us.”

Mendillo has decided to study Earth Systems at Stanford as the university has offered her a full ride scholarship and is closest school. Her interest in the environment stemmed from taking AP Environmental Science her junior year. The following summer, she had the opportunity to conduct research along the Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming as part of the Elementary Institute of Science Teton expedition.

Mendillo has proven that with hard work and dedication, the possibilities are endless.

“No one is telling you not to work hard,” she said. “If you look past the stereotypes and do what you want to do, no one can stop you except yourself.”

Looking ahead, Mendillo plans to become an on-field researcher.

About the Writer
Kayla Canare, Staff Writer
Grade: 11 Most passionate about: Traveling the world Teletubby that relates to you most: Winky Tinky Favorite book: The Candymakers by Wendy Mass Life soundtrack: Dancing Queen by ABBA      
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