Graduating seniors Melinda Fagundes and Joe Terry found out this week they grabbed hold of the top GPA numbers among Churchill County High School’s class of 2017.
“I haven’t gotten a B since fifth grade,” said Fagundes, who grasped the top GPA. “I figured when I got into high school, I thought I would get lower grades.”
Fagundes said she just kept working toward that goal she had set for herself, focusing on school like she had been doing since she was little. She said she wanted to be a valedictorian since seventh grade.
“It was a little bit of a surprise,” she said.
Fagundes credits consistency and participation as actions that earned her top marks in classes. The student also was varsity soccer captain this year and vice president of the school’s FFA chapter as well as its National Honor Society.
“My favorite part of high school is the extracurricular activities,” she said. “I have made friendships that will last for my whole life.”
Fagundes is attending Texas A&M University in the fall to study to become an agricultural engineer. She said she’s going to at first focus on agriculture systems since that area is in line with the type of engineering she wants to do, then move into agricultural engineering.
The future aggie explained she would like to work for one of the larger agriculture companies to help design tractors, making them “simpler and easy to use for the average farmer.” She has some family in Texas and said she hopes that will help with any homesickness but is also very excited.
This summer, she added, her family is going to the Azores (off the coast of Portugal) because that’s where her grandfather’s family is from.
“It may seem trivial now to do all this work from your teachers,” she said when asked what she might recommend to younger students. “But it’s important to continue to work on it; it helps you get in to a better school and reach your college goals.”
Co-valedictorian Joe Terry is headed to the University of California, Davis, in September to begin his eight-year experience of becoming a veterinarian. He said he plans to return to Fallon eventually.
“I want to give back to my community for everything they’ve given me,” he said warmly.
Another future aggie, Terry will be studying animal science, and he said becoming a vet was something he decided the beginning of his senior year. He added his father raises livestock on their home ranch.
Terry mentioned he’ll be living in a dorm and has a roommate from New Jersey he has been corresponding with a lot and learning about east coast differences.
In high school, Terry participated in track and field including cross-country, was student council secretary, National Honor Society treasurer and involved with Students Taking on Prevention.
When asked, Terry gave some advice to younger students.
“I’d say the secret is to take as many honors classes as you can,” he said. “Challenge yourself. I decided to take advanced placement classes also because that adds to your GPA. Definitely get yourself out there … and take college readiness classes.”
The prospective vet said he’s sad high school went by so fast but enjoyed his time on student council and garnering school spirit — and is also looking forward to a summer job.
Ally Steele achieved third in her class and is also recognized as a co-valedictorian.