Top achievers in PLHS class of 2013 share messages of hope for future
by Scott Hopkins
Jun 12, 2013 | 991 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Point Loma High salutatorian Diane La, valedictorian Tessa Adler and salutatorian Vicki Gonzalez jump for joy after their final classes last week. They are headed to UCLA, Yale and Stanford, respectively.                                                                        Photo by Scott Hopkins I The Beacon
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The valedictorian and two salutatorians — all girls — of Point Loma High’s class of 2013 have something else in common. None has ever received anything other than an “A” in their high school careers.

So how did they end up with different grade-point averages?

“I took one more AP (advanced placement) class than they did,” said valedictorian Tessa Adler, “giving me a GPA of 4.90.”

Salutatorians Vicki Gonzalez and Diane La were right behind, both recording GPAs of 4.82.

Their years of homework, studying and perseverance has paid off, with Adler heading to Yale University, La to the University of California, Los Angeles and Gonzalez to Stanford University.

They were the only members of the graduating class adorned in white robes at the school’s 88th commencement ceremony earlier this week.

All three of the honorees described a high school life that was a blend of studying, mixed with social activities and recreation.

“It’s all about time management,” said Adler, who said she has danced all her life, played field hockey at Point Loma High and has been a member of the Mothers and Daughters Club Assisting Philanthropies.

La, who has spent many hours doing hospital volunteer work, and Gonzalez, who has participated in school surf, soccer and track and field teams, said they also enjoyed diversified lives.

Adler cited AP chemistry teacher Lisa Graham as highly influential on her future plans. 

“She always encouraged me and told me, ‘Chemistry may be your calling,’ which stuck with me,” Adler said. “Now I want to go into something (involving) chemistry.”

La said AP biology teacher Sylvia Maas was her motivational force.

“It was a really hard class and I worked at it, doing all the reading assignments,” she said.

Gonzalez, in turn, singled out math teacher Ian Law, saying, “I enjoyed his class so much and like his work ethic.” 

At Yale, Adler plans to major in chemical engineering and global issues. She said she would like to learn German and Swahili before joining the United Nations agency to help developing countries.

La seems no less ambitious.

“I’m planning to major in chemistry or the sciences because I really like helping people,” said La. “My volunteer work in the hospital has made me want to work in the medical field, developing medicines and cures.”  
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