Valedictorian and salutatorian announced for class of 2019


David Eskichyan

Online Editor-in-Chief Michael Chidbachian was named Valedictorian and Yearbook Design Editor Karina Mara was named Salutatorian.

Cassia Ramelb

Online Editor-in-Chief Michael Chidbachian and Yearbook Design Editor Karina Mara celebrated the announcement that Chidbachian would be the class of 2019 valedictorian and Mara would be salutatorian.

“I wasn’t that shocked because, in junior year, I was a semester ahead of most of the students, so I assumed I would be (valedictorian),” Chidbachian said.

Principal Deb Smith announced the highly-anticipated recipients in the Thursday morning announcements on March 28.

“It was difficult because my class, in particular, has a lot of talented and educated students in it,” Mara said.

With many activities apart from school, both Chidbachian and Mara continued to set goals high in school.

“I know they were very involved in Daniel Pearl Magnet (High School),” journalism teacher Adriana Chavira said. “I’m hoping they get active in their campus because that just makes college way more fun.”

With a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) grade point average (GPA) of 4.35, Chidbachian is the vice president of National Honor Society and participated in a math research project at California State University, Northridge. He continues his persistent work with Board Member Scott Schmerelson’s Board District Three’s Student Advisory Board.

Mara is the treasurer for National Honor Society, plays on the Birmingham Community Charter High School’s varsity tennis team and volunteers for Rotary Thanksgiving Lunch-ins, the Northridge Library, is tennis court monitor, all with an LAUSD GPA of 4.3.

“There is definitely a lot of stuff going on outside of school,” Mara said. “I didn’t stop trying to do my best throughout the four years.”

Both of Chidbachian’s and Mara’s post-graduation plans aim to pursue mathematics. Chidbachian aspires to have a career in advanced mathematics, computer science or engineering. Mara hopes to be an undergrad in applied mathematics or actuarial science, later transitioning to law.

For the 2019 fall semester, Chidbachian and Mara committed to the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Set your mind to the things you want to pursue in life,” Chidbachian said. “Go for it and make your own opportunities.”

Chidbachian has earned the Math Excellence High Honor Roll award while Mara was awarded numerous Player-of-the-Matches for tennis and Silver place President’s Volunteer Service Award for the second most volunteer hours.

“They are both very great well-rounded students,” Chavira said. “They are not only involved in academics but extracurricular activities.”

Both beginning in Chavira’s Journalism 1 class, Mara has been on newspaper and yearbook staff for two years while Chidbachian finishes his third year. Their demanding workloads hasn’t stopped the recipients from putting extra work in. Apart from their dedication to The Pearl Post and Prestige Yearbook publications they exceed expectations while helping newer staff.

“Being involved in the publications takes about of time and dedication,” Chavira said.

When her grades were slipping and sports was stressful, Mara continually pushed to succeed her expectations.

“I asked help when I needed it,” Mara said. “I didn’t lose hope when it was getting difficult or when I had a failing grade.”

As graduating seniors, Chidbachian and Mara leave big shoes to fill for next years recipients.

“Be resilient and try to persevere,” Mara said. “It’s not going to be easy, life will always be hard. If you really want it, you can try to get it.”