Co-valedictorians Emery Reyna and Alex Briski shared a 4.55 grade point average. Both gave speeches during graduation ceremonies at MBHS stadium on June 14.
Salutatorian Jacob Cayetano, also an outstanding student, noted he was “off the hook” on giving a speech. “I get to do the changing of the tassels,” he noted.
The trio will all be attending universities in the fall. Briski is going to UC Berkely with a double major in computer science and business.
Reyna is headed for the East Coast and New York University where she'll be studying international relations, hoping to someday work for the United Nations.
Cayetano is moving on to the University of Hartford in Connecticut where he will be majoring in computer science and minoring in audio engineering, hoping to secure a future job somewhere in the music product or sound industry.
Asked their views about MBHS and the quality of the education they received, all three graduates concurred it was positive.
“I enjoyed it, it prepared us,” said Cayetano adding, “it was a world classroom in a sense.”
Briski agreed that the International Baccalaureate program, which she and Cayetano have participated in since they were both at Kate Sessions Elementary, was critical to their learning.
Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation offering four highly respected programs of international education that develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.
Cayetano pointed out the IB program “makes you a more globalized person” allowing you to “make better decisions as citizens.”
Reyna noted that she and her colleagues will “have to learn how to navigate contrasting perspectives and the gap between the generations,” as they become adults.
Both Reyna and Briski said they were both still grappling with their graduation speeches.
“It's difficult to find a balance between honesty and positivity,” said Reyna. “It's hard to touch upon the truth — and still have a celebration.”
“What I started out with, my thoughts and ideas — were all terrible,” quipped Briski, who said she was using the alphabet to get started adding, “The only four letters that really matter are MBHS. You want it (speech) to be inspirational, not a cliché, funny and creative. You want to find your own voice.”
Looking ahead, are the three graduates optimistic or pessimistic?
“I'm optimistic, but scared,” said Reyna.
“I tend to be an optimistic person,” note Briski.
“For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction, that goes for the good and the bad,” stressed Cayetano. “It's always going to teeter-totter like that. That's just how it works.”
All three students were active in sports. Briski and Cayetano both ran track. Reyna was involved in both lacrosse (MBHS's first women's team) and field hockey (her passion).
Why are sports important?
“It introduces you to people that you probably would have never communicated with,” noted Reyna.
“It's nice to know that school is more than (just) the classroom,” pointed out Cayetano.
Discussing their educational and career goals, Cayetano said, “My goal is to graduate in four years with marketable skills and to be hired out of college.”
“I want to be a part of the world,” said Reyna.
“Finish college in four years and then get a job,” said Briski.
All three graduates had similar advice to offer MBHS future grads.
“Time management is the single most important skill,” said Cayetano.
Reyna cautioned that time management “should be a top priority, but don't make your life just about school. It's finding a balance.”
What's important in life?
Reyna spoke for all three grads in noting, “Family, friends, happiness.”