Return to Headlines

March 9, 2016 - Best friends announced as valedictorian, and salutatorian

Jasmine Pimentel and Olivia Martinez have shared many milestones since becoming friends with one another in kindergarten. The senior students grew up on the same street in Maybrook, New York, they attended the same schools – and when they graduate from Valley Central High School this year, they’ll also share the same stage.

the valedictorian and salutatorian of Valley Central High School's class of 2016 pose

On March 3, 2016, Olivia was in gym class, and Jasmine was in American Law class when hall monitors arrived and asked each student to follow them to the principal’s office.


“I’ve never gotten called to the principal’s office before,” Olivia said. “I was a little nervous.” 


When the pair arrived at the office, they were greeted by Valley Central High School’s principal, Jayme Ginda-Baxter, bearing balloons in each arm and the news that Jasmine is the class of 2016’s valedictorian and Olivia is the salutatorian. The students earned the distinction by having the highest, and second-highest weighted grade point average out of their class of 342 students.  


“I was completely elated,” Olivia said. 


When the students aren’t studying, they have plenty of other activities to keep them busy. Jasmine is on the math team, Science Olympiad, and Senior Council. Olivia is in the Science Olympiad and Youth and Government Club. A dancer since the age of three, she also squeezes tap, ballet and pointe classes into her schedule. Both students are in all National Honor Societies – math, science, social, Spanish and English.


“I can’t begin to tell you how hard-working and deserving these students are,” Ms. Ginda-Baxter said. “I am so proud of them for earning this honor.”


“We’re so happy for each other,” Jasmine said.


“I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else,” Olivia chimed in.

After graduation, both students plan to attend college. Olivia’s top-choice school is Northeastern University in Boston and Jasmine’s is Columbia in New York City. 

“I would tell other students to never underestimate yourself,” Jasmine said. “You’re capable of more than you think. If you put your mind to it, you can achieve any goal.”