During graduation practice on Tuesday morning, Corcoran High School senior Julia Davila learned she was going to be one of the school's valedictorians — a title given to the senior or seniors with the highest GPA.
Corcoran High School has 11 valedictorians this year. Principal Antonia Stone said the title goes to any student with a GPA of more than 4.0 throughout all four years of high school.
“We usually have 11 to 14 valedictorians,” Stone said. “I feel great about it.”
Julia said she was "shocked" to be named a valedictorian.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I did. I am very happy," Julia said. "I didn't want it to go to my head. I didn't see it coming.”
Part of the valedictorian responsibilities at Corcoran High is giving a speech at graduation. Julia said she already had one prepared since she planned on giving a speech anyway.
“It’s based off a quote by Martin Luther King Jr.,” she said. “‘If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.’”
Julia said she decided to go with the quote because many students will face challenges after high school whether it is in college, the military or at work. She said it is important to keep striving forward even when people think they can’t.
Julia plans to major in astrophysics at University of California, Berkeley in the fall. She said she hopes to do some type of research to explore outer space and possibly work for NASA. She will pay for college with the Col. James G. Boswell scholarship she received of up to $100,000 of paid tuition for all four years of college.
The number of valedictorians in each Kings County high school varies from high school to high school, according to school officials. Some schools only recognize the student with the highest GPA while others recognize students who have more than a 4.0 GPA.
Schools with only one valedictorian and salutatorian — usually the second highest GPA — are Sierra Pacific High School, Hanford High School and Avenal High School. Hanford West High School and Lemoore Middle College High School have two valedictorians and one salutatorian. Lemoore High School has one valedictorian and two salutatorians.
Local high school graduations are slated for Wednesday through Friday — the last day of school for the 2015-16 school year. Lemoore Middle College High School students graduated on May 20.