Top of the Class: La Jolla High School sends off 340 grads June 12

By Ashley Mackin

Congratulations to the 340 seniors in La Jolla High School’s Class of 2014, who will be graduating 2 p.m. June 12 at Gene Edwards Stadium. Check out next week’s La Jolla Light for photos from the ceremony, but here are some stats on the bright, young minds about to enter the adult world:

This year’s class includes 24 National Merit-commended students, one National Merit finalist, nine National Merit Scholarship recipients, 13 California Scholarship Federation life members and 64 Cum Laude Society inductees.

Of the graduates (182 boys and 158 girls), 195 of them are leaving LJHS with academic distinction. This year’s valedictorians are Allen Cao and Danielle Collins, who are tied with a 4.85 Grade Point Average (GPA). Priyanka Nanayakkara earned the second highest GPA, 4.84, and is this year’s salutatorian. The future UCLA student will also deliver a speech during the graduation ceremony.

Recognized during Senior Awards night were Ram Prasad and Luis Galvan.

Prasad was named the top Lincoln-Douglas style debater in the country. Over the last two years, Prasad competed in tournaments and debates across the country, earning trophies that can be seen in the school’s main office.

Galvan is the recipient of the Gates Millennium award, a good-through-graduation scholarship bestowed to 1,000 students nationwide for the school of their choice. Aimed at developing “leaders for America’s future,” the scholarship also provides leadership development opportunities, mentoring and social support.

Both Cao and Collins plan to attend Berkeley in the fall, and both claim to have learned a lesson about “time” at La Jolla High — Cao said he learned to manage his.

“You need to balance academics with sports to get the most out of La Jolla High School, and stuff on the side, but also not pile on too much,” he said. Cao plans to study computer science and explore career options in the field.

Collins added, “I learned here that the amount of study time you put in will indicate how well you do.” She said she feels prepared for college because she understands that sacrifice happens in the name of academic success. She is going to college without a declared major, but thinks she will study global medicine, and eventually practice medicine abroad.

Additionally, Sam Schneider received the Brent Woodall Award, named for a standout LJHS athlete, who died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. Schneider earned the award for his impressive baseball skills. He also played basketball for the Vikings.