By Casie Duchak
For the Troy Daily News
TROY — As graduation draws near, seniors at Troy High School busy themselves with preparations. Their eyes are alight with excitement, the future almost within their grasps. Among the happiest of the soon-to-be graduates are seniors Jared Sherrick and Mariana Huerta who were notified that they have earned the honorable titles of valedictorian and salutatorian for the class of 2016.
Placing first and second in their class, it is obvious to teachers and peers alike that these two are the best of the best. Their work ethic and dedication to learning have carried them to the top; four years of hard work finally paying off. The titles are awarded not based on class rank, which is determined by GPA, but by quarter grades. Because of this, and the exclusion of exam grades, the valedictorian may not be in first place and the salutatorian may not be in second.
Jared Sherrick, lifelong resident of Troy, explained that he was surprised to learn that he was valedictorian.
“I know the race was very close throughout most of junior and senior year, so coming out in first feels absolutely incredible. I couldn’t be happier.”
Sherrick claims that he owes his success to the support of his family, his dedication to learning and his tendency to never shy away from a challenge. He has taken as many AP and honors classes as he could throughout his high school career and his favorite class is just a testament of his love of difficult problem solving.
“My favorite class is AP Calculus BC. I love math and problem solving, and I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it every once in a while.”
As if high level classes weren’t enough to keep him busy, Sherrick has also occupied his time staying active within the school and community. He has been in the Troy band program since sixth grade, he played football for two years, and is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He has also been involved with Reading Buddies, Pen Pals, Math Club, National Honor Society, and he joined Xtreme Bots his this year.
In addition to the honor of being named valedictorian, Sherrick has also been awarded the Rensselaer Mathematics Award and the Honda OSU Mathematics Award.
Sherrick plans on attending The Ohio State University to study Aerospace Engineering with a focus on Astronautical Engineering. He hopes to someday work with NASA or SpaceX to implement cheap, globally accessible Internet provided via satellite in order to provide free education to people everywhere.
Mariana Huerta, the class of 2016’s salutatorian, also plans on focusing her attention on math and science in college to become an engineer at the University of Texas at Dallas.
When she learned that she was to be salutatorian, she said that she was very happy and honored.
“I’ve been working very hard and doing the best I could in everything I’ve been involved in. It really helped that my parents were so supportive of me.”
Huerta, like Sherrick, has been involved in many school and community activities. President of the Math Club, she is also a member of Key Club, National Honor Society and Latin Club. She works part time at the Miami County Public Library and has competed on the cross country and swim teams. In addition to those activities, she also found time to participate in the Reading Buddies and Pen Pals programs.
Salutatorian is only one of many honors she has been given in her high school career. She has also received the National Hispanic Recognition Award, the Franklin V. Walter All-Scholastic Award, has been recognized as a National Merit Scholar Finalist and has consistently been on honor roll.
Both students are highly deserving of the titles they have been given and they encourage the students in the classes below them to work as hard as they can and be involved in as much as possible.
“I think my drive to learn drove me the most,” Sherrick said. “I have always placed learning ahead of earning a desired grade. I believe results will always follow where one’s passion lies.”
Huerta added, “Just doing what you’re supposed to is a big step, but to be your best you always need to take that a step further. Spend an extra hour studying at night, go in early or stay after school to ask teachers for help, do whatever you can to understand and excel in your classes.”
Graduation for the Trojan class of 2016 will take place on Saturday, May 28 at Hobart Arena.
Casie Duchak is a senior at Troy High School and a member of the Trojan Tempo.