A teenager in California will become her high school’s first Latinx valedictorian after she allegedly had to fight for the distinction at graduation.
Following an announcement that the school would be transitioning to having the top ten students honored at the graduation ceremony, rather than just one, Natalie Ramos pushed back against the change.
The senior at Jesse Bethel High School in Vallejo, Calif., used social media to speak out about having to share her number one spot with other students after her guidance counselor had already told her that she had earned it. The teen’s mom, Ivette Ramos, took to Facebook on Friday to express her disappointment over the initial announcement, where she even questioned Principal Ramon Cusi’s intentions.
“This has never been done before at Jesse Bethel, why now?” Ivette wrote. “The moment a Latina becomes Valedictorian it seems to be a problem.”
Natalie’s sister brought the post over to her Twitter page, where she said that her little sister “deserves the spot light [sic]” and urged followers to call Cusi to complain. Some people in the tweet’s replies called the principal out for “discrimination” and “racism.”
Still, Natalie issued her own statement in the comments of her mother’s Facebook post where she said that she never alleged discrimination, although she knew that the decision was unfair. The student even explained that the other students in the top teen agreed.
“A lot of them are just as mad as me. They know we don’t have the same GPA. We’re all good friends. We talk about college, our hopes and dreams, and amongst other things, our GPAs. My transcript clearly states I’m #1,” she wrote. “I’d also like to add that no one has said anything about discrimination.”
Natalie also made it clear that her disappointment wasn’t solely because her academic achievements were being undermined, but also because she was proud of becoming the first Latinx valedictorian at the high school.
“Knowing this, I know it makes it even more important to not share the spotlight with kids who don’t have the same GPA as me,” she continued. “Being the first is an honor in itself and I don’t want my light to be dimmed by having to share something that I worked towards all four years with others who have expressed to me that they wouldn’t feel right receiving the same honor as I have.”
On Monday, Cusi responded to complains with a letter explaining how students’ GPAs were calculated and claimed that three students had qualified to be valedictorian. Natalie’s sister took to her Twitter again to allege that Natalie’s GPA had in fact been lowered since complaints had gone viral.
Also After this story went viral my sisters GPA dropped and she went from #1 to #3. Retaliation ??? Call (707)556-5700 and tell Cusi he cannot change my sisters GPA and ranking drop because she told the world her story ! pic.twitter.com/V58qLhZnde
— Uhleeezzy (@aliyaamarii) April 22, 2019
Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Adam Clark didn’t comment on the ongoing controversy, or confirm any allegations about an adjustment to Natalie’s GPA. However, he provided Yahoo Lifestyle with Cusi’s latest update on Wednesday, which officially announced Natalie as Valedictorian for JBHS Class of 2019. The letter was also posted to the school’s Facebook page.
Natalie, Ivette and Natalie’s sister didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment. However, the student’s sister has since taken to Twitter to thank everyone for their support and congratulate Natalie on becoming the school’s first Latinx valedictorian.
My family wants to thank each and every one of you who took the time out of your day to address this issue ! Si se puede! My sister has the highest GPA and thanks to all of you will be the first LATINA valedictorian at Jesse Bethel High School ! pic.twitter.com/ttdqBPBbcO
— Uhleeezzy (@aliyaamarii) April 24, 2019
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