The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The Pearl Post

  • June 7Grad Nite for the Class of 2024 on Wednesday, June 12
  • June 7Graduation of the Class of 2024 at 5:30 p.m. at Mulholland Middle School on Tuesday, June 11
  • June 7Senior Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11
  • June 7Last day of instruction on Tuesday, June 11
  • May 31Minimum Day on Monday, June 10
  • May 31Finals schedule is from Wednesday, June 5 - Friday, June 7

The Pearl Post

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The Pearl Post

Appreciation and achievement: Top students look back on high school experience

Valedictorian Alan Ruiz is grateful for the support from his family and friends, as well as the life lessons he has learned during his time in high school. (Maggie Simonyan)

As valedictorian of the Class of 2024, senior Alan Ruiz looks back on all he has learned from high school and is excited for the future ahead of him.

“I like to challenge myself but it is very easy to slow down and lose motivation,” said Ruiz, Print Editor-in-Chief of The Pearl Post. “That’s when my support system kicks in. My friends and family have been there for me throughout all four years of high school.”

Ruiz is ending his school year with a 4.367 GPA, having taken nine Advanced Placement classes and four honors classes total. He helped The Pearl Post win the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Best of Show 1st place for Best News Website for small schools and 5th place for Best News Magazine for small schools. 

Ruiz also participated in different activities to keep himself busy during his high school years. This included being a part of the LAUSD District 3 Student Advisory Council with Board Vice President Scott Schmerelson and being a part of the Los Angeles Zoo Teen Council for Conservation, where he is currently a mentor.

“You learn a lot about yourself socially in high school,” Ruiz said. “You are able to find who you are and that is an experience that I’ll never forget. I am so glad I didn’t put all my focus on schooling because I got to explore that side of me.”

As a statistics and data science major, Ruiz is planning to attend University of California, Los Angeles next year. He hopes to one day become a sports analyst for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Salutatorian Maggie Simonyan is excited to take all of the lessons she learned throughout her time in high school to university and beyond. (Alan Ruiz)

Dedicating her time and effort to her coursework and extracurriculars, senior Maggie Simonyan is the salutatorian for the Class of 2024 after years of dedication and perseverance. 

Some of her extracurriculars from the last four years include being on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Youth Council, researching transgenerational trauma after genocides and founding Armenian Youth Education Aid, an international nonprofit organization that works to improve education for Armenian youth in low-income communities and villages. Simonyan serves as president of the nonprofit organization and reaches out to different organizations in Armenia along with working with a variety of people, mayors and governors of cities to see what support is needed for their schools. 

Of all her achievements, Simonyan is most proud of obtaining a certificate of recognition from the Republic of Armenia for her nonprofit. 

“It was a really huge achievement because I’ve been doing a lot of work with my nonprofit internationally for three years now,” Simonyan said. “Getting that sort of recognition from that country meant that our work was being noticed and it meant we were spreading awareness for the work we had been doing.”

With her senior year culminating, Simonyan has totaled 12 Advanced Placement classes and six honors classes throughout her time in high school. Going forward, she wishes to pursue a degree in international relations with a second degree in economics at Stanford University. Beyond university, she is considering doing fieldwork in Armenia to aid the people there due to the passion she’s always had about giving back to her homeland along with how proud she is of her heritage and people.

“I don’t regret or wish I did anything differently in my four years of high school,” Simonyan said. “Everything that I have done was a lesson learned and I’m excited to take those lessons with me to college.” 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Aidan Lia
Aidan Lia, Staff Writer
Aidan Lia is a junior in his first year as a staff writer for The Pearl Post. While in school, he plans to join multiple clubs and really enjoy school life at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School. When not in school, he enjoys meeting up with friends and playing video games. 
Jasmine McNair
Jasmine McNair, Staff Writer
Jasmine McNair is in her first year as a staff writer for The Pearl Post and is in the 11th grade. She enjoys listening to music, being with friends and baking during her free time. McNair aims to improve her writing skills, boost her confidence and form better communication skills. This is the perfect opportunity for her to try something new and be more involved with her school.
Maggie Simonyan
Maggie Simonyan, Sports Editor
Maggie Simonyan is The Pearl Post Sports Editor and this is her first year on staff. She currently serves as the school Student Body President, National Honor Society President and is the founder of the non-profit organization Armenian Youth Education Aid. During her free time, she likes to read books, go on runs and perform Armenian dances. As a senior in high school, she is most looking forward to preparing herself for college and life beyond this year.
Alan Ruiz
Alan Ruiz, Print Editor-in-Chief
Alan Ruiz, a senior, is so excited to work on The Pearl Post this year as the Print Editor-in-Chief. In his third year on the DPMHS Student Media staff, Ruiz is looking forward to refining the writing, editing and photography skills that will help him pursue a career in journalism. Outside of school, Ruiz participates in the Student Advisory Council for LAUSD Board District 3, contributes to the Los Angeles Zoo Teen Council for Conservation and manages his sports news YouTube channel called All Things Dodgers. He also enjoys organizing and volunteering at school events, playing baseball and spending quality time with family and friends.
Donate to The Pearl Post
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Pearl Post Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *