Top of the Class of 2013: Gilbert's Mesquite High School - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Top of the Class of 2013: Gilbert's Mesquite High School

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Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 5:26 pm, Wed May 22, 2013.

Mesquite High School will graduate 446 students this year. Students have been awarded just over $6 million in scholarships.

Noted members of the Class of 2013 are:

  • Valedictorian – James Park, GPA 4.9
  • Salutatorian – Amy Lu, GPA 4.836
  • Salutatorian – Cassandra Sunga, GPA 4.766
  • Salutatorian – Pranav Ambadi, GPA 4.766
  • Senior Class President – Nevada Dehority 3.09

Students who were finalists for National Merit scholarships or any other named scholarships were: Mark Denton, Christopher Hay, Madeline Lent, Amy Lu and James Park.

Two students received appointments to military academies: Seth Maddy – US Naval Academy; and Earl Pascue – West Point.



Biographies of noted students:

Cassandra Sunga, 18

I was born in Chicago, Illinois. I moved to Gilbert when I was about 4 months old and have been living here for the past 18 years.

I have received approximately $200,000 in scholarships (full tuition at Boston University and $4000 from the Elks foundation) and will attend Boston University with plans to be a doctor.

A little about the student: I like playing vinyl records on my turntable. For me, music sounds brighter and more alive on vinyl. I also love watching movies; they're a great way to relax and unwind. My favorite actors and actresses are Humphrey Bogart, Natalie Portman, Mary Tyler Moore, Bette Davis, and Carey Mulligan. My favorite movies include Casablanca, Singin' in the Rain, and Amelie. I like playing my violin and ukulele in my spare time. I also love volunteering for the Hospice of the Valley and giving back to my community.

Amy Lu, 18

My hometown is Gilbert, Arizona. I was born in Flushing, New York. I have lived in Gilbert for seventeen years and have one sister.

I received about $60,000 in total scholarships.

I am planning on attending University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business. I plan to pursue a career that combines life sciences and management.

A little about the student: I enjoy running, playing the flute, taking part and organizing in Chinese cultural activities and drawing.

James Park, 18

I was born in Mesa and have lived in Gilbert 14 years. I have one sibling.

I have received $4,500 in scholarships and plan to attend the University of Pennsylvania

I hope to become a computer programmer and possibly own my own tech company.

A little about the student: I enjoy playing tennis and listening to classical music. I also spend a lot of my free time playing fantasy football and League of Legends. During my time at Mesquite, I have been a part of Academic Decathlon, Speech and Debate, Ecology Club, Heart Health Club, A World of Difference, Math and Science Club, and Quizbowl.

Pranav Ambadi, 18

I was born in Dayton, Ohio, and we have been living in Gilbert for 11 years and I have 1 brother and 1 sister. I have received $285,000 in scholarship money. I plan to attend the University of California: Berkeley. My career goal is to pursue the medical field.

A little about the student: My favorite subjects are the sciences, biology specifically. Outside of academics however, I am very passionate about music. I have played the violin since fifth grade, have played in the school orchestra since then until 10th grade, and have played in the East Valley Youth Symphony since 2007. I have also played piano since the age of 5. For fun, every Sunday I play soccer with some of my friends. I am a volunteer at the Phoenix children's hospital, and am a council member of my school's Ecology Club, which recycles around the school every Thursday and participates in Saturday volunteer events locally.

Nevada Dehority

Senior Class President

I was born and raised in Gilbert. After attending Plays Del Ray from kindergarten to sixth grade, I went to Mesquite Jr. and then Mesquite high school. I grew up with an older sister and younger brother, both of which have or will graduate from Mesquite. Freshmen and sophomore year I worked on the Mesquite newspaper, and was even Historian of Key Club my second year on campus. I joined student council my junior year and had the priviledge of planning prom as well as a talent show and homecoming. Senior year I knew I wanted to make a difference so I ran for senior class president. This year I helped plan homecoming again, as well as headed my own event, Mr. MHS. The event raised over $1200 for Autism Awareness. The life lessons I learned in student council are what I will remember most from high school.

In the fall, I will be attending Arizona State University's Mary Lou Fultons teachers college to major in elementary education. I plan on starting off as a kindergarten teacher and then go back to get my masters and doctorate to hopefully move up to a principal. I'm excited for my future, but I have high school to thank for all of it.

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