An Inside Look at What It’s Like to Be Number One

A Day in the Life of the Valedictorian

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

It’s 7:20 am and she is rushing to get to zero period, walking as quickly as she

can even though zero period started 20 minutes earlier. She spent all night trying to finish

assignments that are due that same day and only managed to get five hours of sleep.

Most people would think that the Moreno Valley High School valedictorian would be a

perfectionist with a packed to- do list with barely any free time, but the reality is that this

sounds nothing like senior Elizabeth Gomez. Standing with a 4.82 GPA, she is ranked

number one out of the entire 509 senior class of 2019.

Compared to the valedictorian stereotype, Gomez approaches school in a stress-free

matter and doesn’t let her academic responsibilities get in the way of other aspects of her life.

She admits to valuing school but doesn’t forget to value her friends as important as well.

“I put my friendships and connections first,” Gomez said “School is important, but you need a support system in life to move forward.”

In general, being a high school student comes with a huge load of stress. Finals, deadlines, and tests all can make a student feel overwhelmed and hopeless. In the article by the

American Psychological Association, it reports “Teens report that their stress level during the

school year far exceeds what they believe to be healthy (5.8 versus 3.9 on a 10-point scale)

and tops adults’ average reported stress levels (5.8 for teens versus 5.1 for adults).”

Gomez confessed that she feels stressed having to keep up her grades to keep her parents proud. “I know I have to make my parents proud and if they see a B, they’ll get mad” Gomez said.

Sometimes, her sleep has to even get sacrificed in order to keep up with assignments.

“Only when I don’t do homework all weekend, I’ll stay up all night, but it’s my own fault,” Gomez said. “School does get in the way of my sleep but it shouldn’t.”

The National Sleep Foundation reports that on average, “Teens report sleeping far less than the recommended amount — 7.4 hours on school nights and 8.1 hours on non-school nights.”

Being valedictorian comes with stress to keep the position but Gomez doesn’t let herself obsess over getting a bad grade.

“I don’t stress about it,” Gomez said “If I can retake it, I’ll retake it. Some things are out of your control so there is no reason to keep stressing about it. It happens, move on.”

Despite the tasks of school work and studying, Gomez struggles with challenges at home.

“My mom being sick has been my biggest struggle this year.”

Her mother is currently dealing with health issues and because of this, is having a hard time trying to balance both school and her home life. “All this stuff that is happening is out of my control which is why it’s the hardest thing.” Despite her mother’s condition, Gomez always manages to get her work done, even if it is last minute.

At first glance at her impressive grades, most would think that Gomez hits the books from the moment she comes home from school. In reality, she says “I’m almost never at home. I literally get home at like 6 or 7.” After eight hours of school, the only thing that keeps her sane at the end of the day are her friends. “We go out to eat, we have life talks, future talks, homework talks, stress cries. I don’t do any homework at home, I do all my homework in school.”

Gomez credits her time management as the reason for her position. She contradicts the typical valedictorian stereotype and her school habits are more similar compared to a normal high school student. Gomez says that she doesn’t see being number one as a precious label and instead sees herself as any other student trying to get through high school.

“In the end, it’s just a number. It doesn’t mean anything,” Gomez said.