Two valedictorian candidates named for 2016 school year


With three weeks left of high school, seniors Morgan Baumann and Guadalupe Gomez-Navarro are anxiously awaiting the year to be over so their valedictorian status can become official. Valedictorian is awarded to the student with the highest grade point average (GPA). This year, both reached the maximum 4.8.

As a freshman, Morgan Baumann never planned on becoming valedictorian. After his first semester, however, he ended up with straight A’s, and ranked as number two in his class. When his sophomore year started, Baumann developed a mindset to get straight A’s for the rest of high school. A few times, Baumann said, he had to work extra hard in the second quarter after earning a ‘B’ in his first to maintain his ‘A’ for the semester.

“At some point you just have to take priority in things and develop an obligation for yourself, so you can get the work done,” he said of his dedication.

At the beginning of his senior year, Baumann had four Advanced Placement  (AP) classes. Though already busy, when his art teacher offered him the opportunity to take AP 3D Studio Art, he couldn’t refuse. Although he had an immense amount of work being thrown at him, he agreed.

The task of taking five AP classes and extracurriculars was no easy feat. Many nights, Baumann wondered how he would get through his work after such long days. With the right mindset, however, he powered through.

Baumann’s teachers agreed that he is deserving of valedictorian largely because of his good behavior and participating in class.

“[He was] Probably one of the best students I ever had,” said physics teacher Steven Jacobson. “Always does what he’s told and gets his work done.”

After graduation, Baumann is thinking about going into industry and engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. To prepare, Baumann became a founding member of the Spring Valley robotics team. At the same time, he has been working on computer graphic programs and making art.

Throughout his years at Spring Valley he has won many awards such as, the Voice CCSD Art, Scholastic Art in writing, Create Award, and Nevada’s Best Robotics.

When Gomez-Navarro first started high school, she said it was hard for her to manage time. With after school activities and keeping up with her honors classes, it seemed like there was always something to do. As a student athlete, it was overwhelming to try and keep up her grades, but Gomez-Navarro never gave up. Today, she looks back at those times and is glad that she learned how to manage her time better both for her title as Valedictorian and the real world.

“I probably wouldn’t be as accomplished as I am if it wasn’t for this strategy that I gained,” said Gomez-Navarro.

Teachers say that she is a top-notch student and has a great work ethic in class.

“She does everything she could possibly do to be successful,” said AP Government teacher Sandra Thornton.

Gomez-Navarro is involved in many extracurricular activities such as, varsity tennis, track and field, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and the Senior Committee. She has been accepted to both UNLV and UNR (University Nevada, of Reno), but has decided on UNLV.

Gomez-Navarro said her goal after high school is to go to medical school and accomplish her dream of becoming a nurse. Gomez-Navarro’s outstanding achievements have won her many awards including: the All State Academic Player for Tennis, Female Scholar  Athlete of the Year, SVHS Senior Scholar Athlete, and the SVHS Tennis MVP. She also has been nominated for scholarships such as the Las Vegas Sun Standout Awards scholarships and academic scholarships from UNLV that will grant her $1,800.

Although both seniors have been told they could get into more prestigious colleges, both chose to go to UNLV to save money in the long run.

“I would pick anything so that I wouldn’t be in debt,” Gomez-Navarro said jokingly of her decision.

Going to UNLV allows both students to collect the Millenium Scholarship, which is only awarded to students who attend a Nevada college or university.

Baumann agreed that UNLV would give him the education he needed without putting him in unnecessary debt.

“The biggest thing was money,” Baumann explained of his decision.  “A lot of poeple always told me you should go to a better school, but looking into it, they all say they’ll pay for it even if you have debt. You can take out loans. But I did some research and a bunch of people, especially at Stanford, said people are still walking out of school with hundreds and thousands of dollars in debt.”

Both are excited to move forward as Rebels at UNLV.