Apple Valley High School seniors to share the same stage

Graduation day brings them together from separate paths

As the names of the Apple Valley High School graduating class of 2017 are read on Saturday, June 3, during its commencement ceremony, the time in the spotlight will be brief for each one.

But the stories of their past, present and future go much deeper than that one moment in time that is likely to trigger different thoughts in the minds each student, parent, teacher and even other friends and family members.

They may recall good times and bad, success and struggle or even look ahead to what’s in store in the next years.

The newspaper offers the following reflections from three seniors in the Apple Valley class of 2017. They hint at the wide range of paths students have taken to reach this day and the divergent ways they will go in the coming years.

For one night, though, they will all share the same stage.

Nan Nongnuang

Nan Nongnuang

What activities or areas of study have you focused on in high school? 

During my high school years I tried different activities such as Apple Valley Role Models, Math Team, track and field, tennis, and the Performance Dance Team; however, two activities that I am most committed to are National Honors Society and National Art Honors Society. I have a strong passion for art so most of my electives were art courses such as painting and drawing. But I also love to be challenged by math classes so I took all the math classes our high school offered except for computer science.

What will you be doing upon graduation? What education or career path do you hope to pursue? Why have you selected that path?

After graduation I will be attending The University of a Wisconsin-Madison. My hope is to major in biology and to pursue a career in dentistry. I knew when I was fairly young that I wanted to be a dentist because people often tell me that I have a nice smile and teeth. It is one of the qualities that I am proud of. I want to help others to have a confident smile. I also consider it as an art form. I would love to work with my hands and to be challenged mentally; however, I wasn’t sure about being in other’s personal space so I did a field experience program through my school. I got a chance to shadow a dentist and got a first hand experience. The field experience program made me feel confident that dentistry is the right field for me.

What has been the most important thing you have learned in your high school career? What makes it important? How will you apply that to the next phase of your life?

The most important thing I have learned during my high school career is how to be more extroverted and to be willing to voice my opinions. I grew up as a shy kid, quiet at school but loud at home. But high school taught me to not be afraid to be different. It’s better to have people disagree with you than for them to not hear you at all. It’s a valuable skill because no matter what job I do in the future I have to be able to take my stance and learn to be a team leader.

Who has been your most influential mentor? What has the person done to motivate you or accomplish what you have?

The most influential person of my life would be my mom. The educational opportunities in my home country, Thailand, are very limited in comparison to those in America. So, my mom moved from her home for the better of my education. I saw how hard she worked for me and she taught me to value education. Therefore, when I am tired, I always think of what she has done for me and that I shouldn’t disappoint her. My main goal is to have a good job in the future so I can take good care of my parents.

My most influential mentor would be my middle school science teacher, Mr. Humbert. He was a teacher who students would never forget. He was always positive and cheerful. He showed me what it’s like to do what you love and I wish I could be as happy as he is doing my future job. He showed me that he cares about all of his students and he believed in me when I doubted myself.

Daniel Dessalew

Daniel Dessalew

What activities or areas of study have you focused on in high school?

Soccer, Talon (AVHS’ newspaper) sports writer, Student Council. Employment: Nike (Mall of America). Languages: English, Amharic, Italian

What will you be doing upon graduation? What education or career path do you hope to pursue? Why have you selected that path?

After graduation I will be attending University of St. Thomas. I plan on getting a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I don’t have a specific career path that I want to pursue yet, but I’m considering financial analytics and other careers that involve traveling.

What has been the most important thing you have learned in your high school career? What makes it important? How will you apply that to the next phase of your life?

The most important thing that I’ve learned from high school is that hard work always pays off. Whether in sports or academically there is no shortcut to true success, only hard work. I believe that hard work is important because without it you won’t get or accomplish what you want in life. Also there is no better feeling than achieving something that you worked hard for. In the future I hope to apply hard work in everything that I do.

Who has been your most influential mentor? What has the person done to motivate you or accomplish what you have?

The most influential mentor of my high school career has to be my freshman year English teacher, Kristine Valdivia (Eastview High School). She always pushed me to give the best of my abilities and to strive for success. Most importantly she taught me the values of dedication and humility.

Maldini Zambrano Mora

Maldini Zambrano Mora

What activities or areas of study have you focused on in high school?

I mainly have focused on sports because as a student-athlete I want to be able to leave high school knowing I was able to do something I love and look back at my high school career happily that I did the best I could in everything I did.

What will you be doing upon graduation? What education or career path do you hope to pursue? Why have you selected that path?

I have chosen to go to the military, mainly the U.S. Marine Corps because I want to be able to serve our great country, challenge myself and push my limits and to discover what great things I can do that I didn’t think I could do. I hope to pursue a career in law enforcement because I want to have different experiences, be an influence to my two younger brothers and be helpful to the people in the community.

What has been the most important thing you have learned in your high school career? What makes it important? How will you apply that to the next phase of your life?

The most important thing I learned in high school is how to adapt to unexpected changes in everyday life because it will come in very inconvenient times and we all must learn to react and adapt to those changes.

Who has been your most influential mentor? What has the person done to motivate you or accomplish what you have?

My mother has been a huge influence in my life because she has gone through hell and back and she always reminds me of how important my decisions are today that could help me or hurt me tomorrow. She is someone who I want to be proud of me because she is the only one who has been by my side and always will be in whatever I do in life.

Contact Tad Johnson at [email protected] or at twitter.com/editorTJ.