Valedictorians and salutatorians announced for Hemet high schools

The Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) has announced the names of the students who were honored as valedictorian
and salutatorian for the graduating class of 2017. Congratulations to all these amazing students!

■ By Mary Ann Morris / Editor

Photos courtesy of HUSD
Calysto Patrick, College Prep High School’s valedictorian.

College Prep High School

Calysto Patrick was named valedictorian for College Prep High School’s class of 2017. Calysto earned an overall GPA of 4.19 and a SAT score of 1180. She has also earned 14 college credits through dual enrollment and will complete five more credits this semester, all while maintaining A’s in her college courses.
She was Associated Student Body president, and has been accepted to her first choice college, California State University, San Marcos. Her goal is to become a registered nurse.





Ruth Amaro, College Prep High School’s salutatorian.

Ruth Amaro, salutatorian, has an overall GPA of 4.09, scored 1070 on the SAT and has also completed several college classes through dual enrollment.
Ruth volunteers as a cross-age tutor to middle school students.
She has applied to University of California, Davis, University of California, Santa Barbara, and California Lutheran University.
Ruth hopes to become a veterinarian and enlist in the U.S. Navy Reserves.






Matthew Collins, Hamilton High School’s valedictorian.


Hamilton High School


Matthew Collins’ SAT score of 1250 and his 4.0 GPA made him a natural choice for valedictorian. He plans to attend Honors College at The University of Northern Arizona or a University of California school to study computer science and pursue a career in research and development for unmanned aerial systems. He has earned academic honors as a perennial principal’s honor roll recipient, was vice president of the National Honor Society, a member of the California Scholarship Federation and the founder of the Drone Club. He earned the MVP award on the track team for two consecutive years.





Russell Collins, Hamilton High School’s salutatorian.

Russell Collins ranks No. 1 in his class, carries a GPA of 4.14 and scored a 1220 on the updated SAT. He also plans to attend the Honors College at The University of Northern Arizona or a University of California school to major in civil engineering. His more than 1,000 hours of community service earned him a Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Award. Russell attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards retreat where he worked with other leaders with the mission of service. Russell played for the soccer team all four years at Hamilton. He is the president of the National Honor Society and a member of the California Scholarship Federation.






Michael McGivney, Hemet High School’s valedictorian.

Hemet High School

Michael McGivney its valedictorian with a GPA of 4.44 and a SAT score of 1550. Michael is currently president of the ASB. He is a member of our Water Polo team and served as captain this year. Michael has been a distinguished member of our Academic Decathlon team and Math League. He is an Eagle Scout and has won multiple awards and recognition, including four years as a Presidential Gold Award for Academic Excellence. After high school, his aim is to attend California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and major in Bioengineering with the goal of creating prosthetics and engineering tissue.




Anusha Koka, Hemet High School’s salutatorian.

Anusha Koka is salutatorian with a GPA of 4.52 and a SAT score of 1460. She founded the school’s Habitat for Humanity Club during her high school tenure and has been an active member. She is a member of the Chamber Singers, Mock Trial Team, runs track, and has participated in Advanced Women’s Ensemble and Tennis. Anusha is ASB vice president, has earned numerous academic awards, including AP Scholar and AP with Distinction — she was even named Citizen of the Year during her junior year! She hopes to attend a major medical program and major in biology, pre-medicine with the goal of becoming a physician. She devotes countless hours to community service.




Isabel Michel, West Valley High School’s valedictorian.

West Valley High School

Isabel Michel is ranked first amongst West Valley’s graduating class of 394 students, with a GPA of 4.49, in addition to earning a score of 1450 on her SAT. Isabel is dedicated to her school, running on both the cross country and track & field teams and serving as president of the California Scholarship Federation. She led the school’s Academic Decathlon team for 3 years. She has taken every Advanced Placement course offered at WV, and was ASB secretary this year. Isabel has helped facilitate the Hemet Public Library’s Summer Reading program since 2012. Isabel hopes to attend Stanford University or the University of California, Berkeley.



Kristina Usenko, West Valley High School’s salutatorian.

Kristina Usenko has earned a 4.18 cumulative GPA, and a composite SAT score of 1370. Kristina played water polo for four years, including three years as a varsity player, and helped lead her team to a second round CIF appearance. She has been involved with Link Crew for two years, and serves as an AVID tutor for underclassmen. She plans to attend Loma Linda University, after either Biola University or UC Irvine. Kristina wants to become a registered nurse, specializing in pre-natal care or pediatrics.




Zachary Miller, Tahquitz High School’s valedictorian.

Tahquitz High School

Zachary Miller’ has a GPA of 4.35 and SAT score of 2190. He serves as ASB president. Zach is also president of the Key and Calculus clubs. He played for the water polo and swim teams and this year served as captain for both. He was a founding member of the school’s Academic Decathlon team, represented Tahquitz as a Boys State Delegate, earned recognition through the California Scholarship Federation, and received National Merit Commendation for scoring in the 99th percentile on the PSAT. He has already been accepted into Yale and California Berkeley Universities, but is waiting to hear from Harvard and Columbia Universities.




Elise Thrift, Tahquitz High School’s salutatorian.

Elise Thrift, with a GPA of 4.47 and a SAT of 2030, was a shoe-in as Tahquitz’ salutatorian. She is an active member of the Key Club, a member of the California Scholarship Federation, and an accomplished pianist. Elise has been accepted to University of California, San Diego, San Diego State University and others. She plans to become a physician. Elise represents what Tahquitz hopes to embody in all of its students: determination, hard work, high quality character, and someone you can count on to do what is right.







Elisha Dayag, Western Center Academy’s valedictorian.

Western Center Academy

Elisha Dayag has earned a GPA of 4.26 and a nearly perfect SAT score of 1580. Elisha has demonstrated a high level of success in the classroom and in a variety of student activities. He has been a cross-country runner throughout high school and is heavily involved in West Valley’s Academic Decathlon team. He earned five gold medals and four silver medals in this year’s competition. In addition, he broke the Riverside County record for total points earned in the competition’s history. Elisha has successfully taken eight AP courses and completed eight college courses. After high school, he plans to major in applied mathematics at a private college.




Cole Alley, Western Center Academy’s salutatorian.

Cole Alley is salutatorian with an overall GPA of 4.36 and a SAT score of 1450. He is an active member of the WCA Robotics program and participates on a team that has been to the World Championships three times in the past five years, and was most recently ranked 7th out of more than 11,000 teams world-wide. Cole has taken a rigorous course of study including eight AP courses and 11 college courses, as well as having been involved in Civil Air Patrol at Hemet-Ryan Airport for the past four years. He plans to attend the Air Force Academy, but since he is only 16, his goal is to attend another college until he is old enough to apply.

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