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Juniors with the Drive to Succeed Share Their Stories

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Jocelyn Martinez '19
15 January 2019


This article is the second in a series highlighting students who were recognized during the Superintendent's Breakfast for achieving a GPA over 4.25. A few students from each grade level will be featured in each article. Read the article on the Senior Class here. Look out for future spotlights on the Sophomore and Freshman Classes soon.

Passaic Valley's Class of 2020 is currently academically thriving. Three very bright, intelligent young students at the top of the class, Brian Katat; Lexie De Luca; and Jerry Sevillano, shared their experiences and advice with the Valley Echo.

JUnior Class Top 3; photo credit: Jocelyn Martinez '19 Currently holding the top academic spots in the Junior Class, Katat, De Luca, and Sevillano have put in an enormous amount of work since their first high school days. This hard work involved pushing consistently through rigorous honors and advanced placement classes, giving one-hundred percent of their effort into everything they pursued in school, and gradually developing methods for studying and succeeding in other school activities.

"In my years at PV, I have taken each one of my courses very seriously, and it has always been in my mind to put forth my best work in every class," mentioned De Luca.

Accepting the fact that there is always something more that could be accomplished academically allows these three scholars to maintain the intellectual stance. There are many incentives that ignite Katat, De Luca, and Sevillano to continue to keep up their scholarly work. "I never settle for something that I know I could have done better on because there is always someone out there who is willing to work harder," stated Katat.

Though they take pride in their accomplishments, they recognize that being too prideful can work to their disadvantage. No matter how smart or how high their grades, they still know there is a lot to learn from others. "Learning from a book does not even come close to the high-quality learning that I can experience from actual human interaction," expressed Katat.

Furthermore, they each shared that they would not be as successful as they are without the support of their peers and teachers. "Although I prefer to figure something out by myself, I never deny help from anyone if they are offering it," exclaimed Sevillano.

Along with devoting a massive amount of their time to their academics, these three dedicated students are also very involved in outside activities, such as competitive dance, sports, and volunteer groups.

While these students do focus on their present responsibilities, they are already putting thought into their future aspirations as well. "In the future I definitely see myself going to college and continuing my education in something that is math or science related," specified De Luca.

As Katat, De Luca, and Sevillano persist through their academic studies, they have some advice to guide others through the difficulties of high school. As Katat stated, "When you feel like you have too much work and are struggling, just think about how much of that work payoffs."

A universal theme of surviving the academic aspect of high school is to always keep the outcome in mind. "Don't let the stress  consume you, but rather work past it, keeping your eye on the goal," declared De Luca.

Another extremely essential aspect of succeeding while maintaining your sanity is to balance all of your responsibilities. "Make sure to manage your time efficiently and prioritize your activities, especially if you participate in many," asserted Sevillano.