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Ventura County Valedictorians

More than 70 young people are graduating at the head of their class from Ventura County high schools this month.

The following list of valedictorians around the county does not include top students at Adolfo Camarillo High, Channel Islands High or Oxnard High, where valedictorians are not selected until later this month. And as a matter of tradition, neither Ventura High nor Buena High in the Ventura Unified School District selects valedictorians.

THOUSAND OAKS HIGH SCHOOL

Patrick Fisher

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GPA: 4.00

College: USC

Career plans: CEO of a high-tech company

Life goals: In my life, I would like to own a dog, be the person my dog things I am, go bungee jumping, be a good father and husband, and have my face sketched for the Wall Street Journal.

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Melissa Nicole Kiefer

GPA: 4.00

College: UC Santa Barbara

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Career plans: Physician

Life goals: I hope to live a successful, healthy and happy life, and inspire others to strive to be their very best.

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Ashwin Ramakrishnan

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GPA: 4.00

College: UC San Diego

Career plans: I would like to pursue a fulfilling career and enjoy a good family life. I hope to be able to help as many people as I can through medicine, and make a difference in the world. I want to be a strong role model and a leader in my community. I am certain my spiritual beliefs will carry me along the way.

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Alexis Sowa

GPA: 4.00

College: Stanford University

Career plans: Medical

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Life goals: I’d like to become a Rhodes Scholar, qualify for the Olympics in diving, contribute to the discovery of a cure for cancer, and have a positive impact on peoples’ lives.

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Linda A. Szema

GPA: 4.00

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College: UCLA

Career plans: Electrical engineer

Life goals: I hope to come up with some invention or advancement in technology so that I may improve the quality of life for human beings. I’d like to be able to make a difference for many people.

WESTLAKE HIGH SCHOOL, WESTLAKE VILLAGE

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Jessica Borelli

GPA: 4.00

College: UC Berkeley

Career plans: Special education teacher

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Life goals: My greatest and most noble goal in life is to become a devoted mother of at least three children and a wonderful wife to my equally involved husband. I also want to affect the lives of the emotionally disturbed children I teach, provide a tangible role model for children who have none in clear sight, and help society to place more emphasis on the value of education.

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Scott Dragicevich

GPA: 4.00

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College: Stanford University

Career plans: Professional baseball

Life goals: I would like to be happy in my life. I want to raise a family and love my job (whether it will be baseball or anything else).

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Darren Joe

GPA: 4.00

College: Princeton University

Career plans: Business owner

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Life goals: To bring forth all my enthusiasm and energy to my family and job. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep an even perspective and never take the blessings I have for granted. I would like to be the best “papa” possible and leave a mark on the people I come into contact with.

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Amanda Malone

GPA: 4.37

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College: Harvey Mudd College

Career plans: Medical research

Life goals: Through my research, I would like to make a lasting contribution to the medical field that improves the quality of life for people around the world.

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Ganesh Shankar

GPA: 4.00

College: Stanford University

Career plans: Pediatric thoracic surgeon/administrative medicine

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Life goals: Every day I hear of stories when people do no get sufficient health care because of a lack in money, not only in this country, but around the world. I want to make a difference in making health care that much more accessible.

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Veeral A. Desai

GPA: 4.00

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College: UC Berkeley

Career plans: Undecided

Life goals: I define my lifelong goals and pursuits in terms of one thing--happiness. I believe that I will make all my choices regarding careers and family with respect to what will make myself and those around me happy. Being around people I love and environments that I can thrive in, I feel confident I can achieve success and fulfillment in whatever path I choose. Throughout high school, I have been able to maintain a very positive outlook on life, and as a result, I feel like I have grown so much from this experience. I hope I can maintain my outlook and hope to continue and grow in college and beyond.

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Helena Horak

GPA: 4.00

College: University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Career plans: Peace Corps or other humanitarian organization, before settling into a permanent job.

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Life goals: In my life, I would like to use my talents to work for the benefit of mankind. By dedicating my life to medicine or medical research, I would be able to help many people and pass on some dreams and hopes for a better future.

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Amie Johnson

GPA: 4.80

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College: USC

Career plans: Motion picture or magazine industry

Life goals: While having a career is important to me so that I can be financially independent. I feel that having a family is extremely important to me as well. I have had an incredible close relationship with both my mom and younger sister and I want to be able to have that with my own children also. Happiness and fulfillment are what I’m striving to achieve.

Aaron Rackoff

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GPA: 4.00

College: Brown University

Career plans: Undecided

Life goals: I want to make enough money doing something I enjoy to travel the world. I want a family I’ll love and a small circle of very close friends.

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Erin Sheley

GPA: 4.00

College: Harvard University

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Career plans: Law, journalism, politics

Life goals: My dream is to get a book published, and I would love to attain some sort of position (perhaps attorney general) where I can influence the way in which the country is run. More importantly, however, I want to have time to build a family and raise my children to have the same opportunities I did.

SANTA PAULA UNION HIGH SCHOOL

Steven Reeder

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GPA: 4.14

College: UCLA

Career plans: Law or government

Life goals: After completing all of the schooling which lies ahead of me, my aspiration is to obtain a fulfilling career in a field which never ceases to capture my interest. All the while, I would hope to have varied experiences in which I would sample what this world has to offer while at the same time helping other people.

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OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOL

Amanda Mary Vinson

GPA: 4.38

College: Stanford University

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Career plans: Physician

Life goals: I hope to in life always continue to serve the community in which I live and not to simply work in it. I also in the future wish to continue riding a showing Morgan horses as well as stay involved in animal service clubs and projects. Ultimately, I wish only to stay involved in everything that I am doing and always continue to learn from every situation I encounter.

NEWBURY PARK HIGH SCHOOL

Ian Wesley Lebby

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GPA: 4.00

College: UC Berkeley

Career plans: High school teacher or college professor in history or psychology

Life goals: As a teacher of young minds, I will attempt to replicate the gift my teachers have given me--the gift of education and desire to achieve. If I am able to affect just one person in their quest for knowledge, I will consider my life a success.

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HUENEME HIGH SCHOOL, OXNARD

Gaby Interiano

GPA: 4.26

College: UC Berkeley and then UCLA Medical School

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Career plans: Physician and surgeon

Life goals: To be the first person in my family to attend a four-year college and have a career. After accomplishing this, I plan to someday become an entrepreneur and open up my own practice. With this I will be able to tend to my own patients in my own office as well as working at a hospital.

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John-Paul Puno

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GPA: 4.54

College: UCLA

Career plans: Electrical engineering and computers

Life goals: I would, first of all, like to obtain my degree and have a successful career. Also, I would like to marry my sweetheart, Christine Caldejon, raise a family, and be a good father. Finally, I would like to be able to repay my parents for everything they provided for me and all the opportunities they gave me.

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Maribel Reyes

GPA: 4.34

College: UC Santa Barbara

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Career plans: Physical therapist or another health career

Life goals: I hope to accomplish my goals, graduating from a university and obtain my degree. I also hope to be able to help people who need it, either through my career or on my own. If I am able to do so, I would help students to go to a university. I’ve realized that there are many students that need financial aid and also orientation about colleges and universities.

OAK VIEW HIGH SCHOOL

Michael Dubrow

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GPA: 3.40

College: Cabrillo College near Santa Cruz

Career plans: Business owner, actor

Life goals: I would like to live peacefully without having to worry about a money shortage, I would like to have more money than I need. Saving for my future and my family is very important.

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NORDHOFF HIGH SCHOOL, OJAI

Spike Loy

GPA: 4.33

College: Stanford University

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Life goals: Take part in finding a cure for diabetes. Continue to travel the globe--visit all seven continents like my grandmother.

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Mathew K. Thomas

GPA: 4.33

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College: UC Berkeley

Career plans: Chemical engineer

Life goals: I would like to own a castle, be a Nobel Prize recipient, and have a family and be happily married.

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Laurel Westbrook

GPA: 4.33

College: UC Berkeley

Career plans: Journalist

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Life goals: I would like to win a Pulitzer Prize, be the editor or a large magazine or newspaper, and be happily married.

SIMI VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL

Vincent Chu

GPA: 4.30

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College: Harvard University

Career plans: Undecided

Life goals: Above all else, I would like to be a good person, content in knowing that what I do will help make a difference.

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Karen Daugherty

GPA: 4.30

College: California Institute of Technology

Career plans: Research

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Life goals: During the course of my life, I would like to learn to speak Gaelic and travel to Ireland, win the Nobel Prize in chemistry, learn how to fence, and become a five-time champion in “Jeopardy.”

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Dan Hampton

GPA: 4.30

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College: UC San Diego

Career plans: Neurosurgeon

Life goals: I would like to have a career in medicine. I want to be able to set up a clinic in Africa and have a practice here. I want to eventually have a family.

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Nirali Shah

GPA: 4.30

College: UC Berkeley

Career plans: Physician

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Life goals: My short-term goal is to pass my advanced placement exams. But essentially, I hope to make a small difference . . . and travel the world.


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