The Top Scholars’ Rise to Success

Taylor Harrison, Social Media Manager

Strenuous school days and sleepless nights are nothing new for Downey High School’s top students. Since their freshman year, Downey’s largest group of top scholars—fourteen in total— have kept their eyes on the prize by taking copious AP classes and using their free time to participate in numerous extracurricular activities.


These fifteen scholars include Melissa Morales, Daniela Salazar, Andrew Bilodeau, Brian Chavez, Danica Ferrer, April Martinez, John Choi, Yanni Ramirez, Marc Gepigon, Ma

riah Guerrero, Eduardo Bayardo, Dianna Jimenez, Robert Casteneda, and Alan De La Torre.


Valedictorian of the Class of 2017, member of the girls swim team, and ASB member Melissa Morales, 12, finds her motivation through genuine passion.


“The trick to managing so many things at once is that you have to be truly passionate about what you’re doing,” Morales said. “That way, when you’re pulling all-nighters left and right to keep your grades up, you don’t really mind because it’s all because you were doing something you love and makes you happy.”


Behind the brains and talents that these students exert, there is someone there to give them a pat on the back or to inspire them to rise to their fullest potential.


Friends and family motivate basketball player and ASB member Brian Chavez, senior, to be his absolute best.


“My friends and those close to me inspire me because they are such great people,” Chavez said. “I strive to be like them, and through them, I receive so much support just through little conversations and collaboration.”


Top scholar, Andrew Bilodeau, senior, explains his personal definition of success.


“Success never depends on money, GPA, or fancy clothes,” Bilodeau stated. “A successful person has people around them that truly appreciate them for who they are, better the lives of those around them, and feels fulfilled doing it.”


A handful of these students with a 4.5 GPA or higher will be recognized as they walk the graduation stage in a white robe and are handed their diploma. Until then, Melissa Morales, Brian Chavez, Andrew Bilodeau and Downey High’s eleven other top scholars continue their journey of success by maintaining phenomenal grades while keeping up with their time-consuming extracurriculars.