Best and Brightest 2016 - WNEM TV 5

Best and Brightest 2016

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

TV5 was proud to honor some of the best and brightest high school students from around Mid-Michigan.

“It’s tough, but you discipline yourself and really have your goals set out. It’s all worthwhile at the end,” said Jelani Taylor, a Beecher High School salutatorian.

That same sentiment was shared among many of those that attended the 2016 Best and Brightest celebration.

Some of the area’s smartest graduating seniors came together to celebrate all they had accomplished.

Ashlee Lambert, Beecher High School valedictorian describes it like this.

“It’s not really words to describe how I feel. It’s ineffable. It’s just like, that’s how I feel.”

It’s kind of overwhelming because everything just builds up to this moment and it’s realizing, wow, we’re graduating in less than a month now. It’s an accomplishment, and I’m proud,” commented Reanna Kettle, North Huron School’s valedictorian.

And for many of the students, they didn’t just study hard, they excelled in other areas as well.

Students like Mary Rose Clarke, Dryden High School’s salutatorian.

“Lots of extra hours, volunteering, putting up with college courses, high school courses, multitude of sports and clubs.”

Some did it all for their own person goal, such as Shane Mauer, North Huron School’s salutatorian. “Growing up as a kid I always talked to my dad about it, oh, what if I got salutatorian?”

For others, it was their family that pushed them to succeed.

“My sister, she got salutatorian, so I was always like, OK, I need to do better than her now,” said Kettle.

But for some of these graduates, this honor is more than just a cap and gown. It’s proving something to the community and to yourself.

Like Esteban Vaneguez, Alma High School’s valedictorian, and first generation American.

“So really kind of nice to see that the American Dream can still, in some way, play out. So I’m happy this means good things. I had a fortune time in this community and this country. And I hope to be going onward and upward from here.”

And for others, it wasn’t a new country they had to overcome, instead, it was their own community.

“So we come from a less fortunate neighborhood, so for us to be here is already overcoming. And a million people telling us that we can’t be the greatest, that we wouldn’t be able to make it, that we can’t be valedictorian, that it’s too hard for us to do it. And we made it,” said Lambert.

>>Slideshow: 2016 Best and Brightest<<

Copyright 2016 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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