FAIRFIELD — They are the 86 students who during their soon-to-end local high school careers made getting A grades routine.
On Thursday evening, they stepped to the balloon-lined stage at the Fairfield Community Center to be celebrated. They shook hands with the local mayors and school board members and other dignitaries as the crowd applauded.
But before the 2014 Highest Honors Award Ceremony came four years of striving. The highest honors students had to master the secrets of academic achievement.
Several of them before the ceremony gave their approaches. None of it sounded glamorous.
“Time management and just making sure I had enough time studying for certain classes,” said Raiza Balancio of Rodriguez High School.
Plus, when she didn’t understand something, she got it clarified immediately.
Balancio will attend the University of California, Irvine next year and study biological sciences.
Nick Perrando of Fairfield High School said he considered it a huge honor to be included among the students standing in line to enter the ceremony. But he didn’t simply end up there among these select few.
“The secret for me has been to do my homework and make sure I stay on top of anything the teachers assign and not procrastinating,” Perrando said.
Perrando will attend the University of California, Los Angeles and study actuarial mathematics.
“I think it’s just hard work and determination the entire time,” said Vincent Blake of Armijo High School.
He’ll attend Solano Community College for two years and then intends to transfer to a university to pursue a career as a biotechnology engineer.
For Amrinder Bhandal of Armijo High School, academic success meant keeping things in perspective. He sees sports as part of the high school experience, but not something that comes ahead of classes.
“I think you have to put school first,” he said.
He’ll attend the University of California, Davis to study pharmaceutical science, though he said his major could change.
The highest honors students each received a gold tassel to wear during graduation. They heard praise from the two local mayors.
“Undaunted by the events of 9/11, you began your academic careers,” Fairfield Mayor Harry Price told them. “And here you are tonight – excelling.”
Then he had a tongue-in-cheek mission for them, or at least half tongue-in-cheek.
“We look to you to solve the problems we have created,” Price said.
Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez told the students they were being recognized for their dedication and achievement. He urged them to set their aims high, joking that they could go beyond being a mayor of Suisun City and become a member of Congress or the president.
But those are all potential achievements for the future. For this evening, the 86 students could take satisfaction in their efforts over the past four years.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.