The big three

What it’s like to be the top three ranked in the class of 2019

by Amanda Nguyen, Staff writer

Seniors Eralp Orkun, Leo Zamora and Rachel Beese have been the top three in the class of 2019 since the end of the 2017-2018 school year. While they have excelled academically throughout high school, school work doesn’t consume their lives. All three are highly motivated individuals both inside and outside the classroom, showing that in order to succeed, you just have to be willing to work for it.

“I think one of my greatest strengths to keeping a high-class rank has been my work ethic,” Orkin said. “It’s something my parents have been encouraging me since I was a young child.”

Seniors Eralp Orkin and Rachel Beese have been in the top three since the beginning of their high school careers. Although it wasn’t his motivation to be in the top three, Senior Leo Zamora made his way up to second in the class just this last school year.

“Rank never placed any pressure on me since I began as 13 in our class,” senior Leo Zamora said. “Every rank I’ve gained has been a significant improvement from where I started. I never went out of my way to increase my rank, it was just a side effect of being passionate about my classes.”

Orkin and Zamora are both enrolled in the IB program while Beese is an AP student. Being an AP student means that participating students take on more individual classes. Students are allowed to take as many classes as they want so they can focus on certain subjects. All classes take a test at the end of the year that allows them to get college credit depending on their scores. IB students are a part of an international program which means that more world schools recognize their scores. They are required to take certain classes and a certain amount of tests and are a part of a larger community.

“Being in AP classes ables me to have a more flexible schedule,” Beese said. “I always get as much work done in school as much as possible since I’m in work mode a school.”

Zamora stresses how important it is to study and participate in things you are passionate about.

“I’ve chosen classes in subject areas I hope to continue studying in the future,” Zamora said. “Although my grades haven’t been straight 100’s like some of the other top ten students, I’ve been committed to understanding every topic in my classes instead of focusing on the grade.”

Being in advanced classes and working closely and competitively with the people ranked above or below can be difficult, according to Beese. But for most students, it actually brings them closer together.

“I’m actually not too concerned about keeping my class rank,” Orkin said. “Most of the other people in the top ten are good friends of mine and work just as hard, if not harder than me.”