Local High School Boasts 16 Valedictorians - 8 News NOW

Local High School Boasts 16 Valedictorians

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The 19 students pose with reporter Lauren Rozyla. The 19 students pose with reporter Lauren Rozyla.

LAS VEGAS -- Some Las Vegas high school students are showing they have what it takes to be at the head of the class.

This group of students attend Clark High School, a magnet school that offers the Academy of Mathematics, Science and Applied Technology, the Academy of Finance, and the Teacher Education Academy.

Many of these students hold down jobs and a have a full list of after school activities. Sixteen of the students are valedictorians and 10 are National Merit finalists.

On Monday, some of the students were working out equations that don't make sense to most people. They're in calculus 3.

"It's one of the hardest math classes in the state," said Jennifer Wang, a valedictorian, National Merit finalist, and Presidential Scholar.

The class is home to some of southern Nevada's top students. The teens all have 4.8 GPA's due to their Advanced Placement courses. In addition to their college-level classes, they also have a full list of extracurricular's. It makes for a long day.

"You wake up at maybe 6 and you get home at maybe 5 or 6," said Sean Truong, a valedictorian.

"I get home and then it's, eat dinner, and hit the books. There's no time for play really," said Mitchell Grant, an athlete, valedictorian, National Merit finalist and a Presidential Scholar. "If you stick through it, it's going to be so rewarding."

The rewards came earlier this year for many of the 18 students when they received acceptance letters from some of the country's best schools.

Joseph Maalouf has been accepted to Stanford University. Jakob Brounstein will go to Columbia University. Billy Wang will go to John Hopkins University and Michael Zhou is considering going to Princeton University/

Principal Jill Pendleton came to the inner-city school, surrounded by poverty, just four years ago.

"I've been telling them this since they were freshman. We're going to get through this together, we're going to grow together," Pendleton said.

She's watched the class grow and change, coping with class work, jobs and hectic schedules.

"They have surpassed my expectations in every way," she said.

Soon, the students will walk across the stage to receive their diplomas and they will be prepared for a bright future.

While most of the students got into top schools, several are struggling to afford the tuition. Some are waiting on financial aid and scholarships before making a final decision.


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