Boston Public Schools celebrates Class of 2008 Valedictorians
BOSTON - Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Boston School Committee Chair Elizabeth Reilinger, Superintendent Carol R. Johnson and proud classmates and family members yesterday honored the 38 valedictorians of the Class of 2008 in the Boston Public Schools (link to list below).
The Boston Harbor Hotel hosted a luncheon for the students and their families, marking the 10th year that Boston has held a celebration for the top graduate of every Boston public high school. Jorge Quiroga from WCVB-TV welcomed the guests, including members of the Boston School Committee, elected officials, community leaders and representatives from several local colleges and universities, along with school administrators and teachers. The event was co-sponsored by Reebok, Harvard University, and other partners. Each valedictorian received a college dictionary from Barnes and Noble, a gift certificate from Reebok, and other gifts.
The 38 students come from neighborhoods across the City of Boston. A total of 10 of them have been students in the Boston Public Schools since Kindergarten. Fifteen of them came to the U.S. from countries as diverse as China, Nigeria and Haiti. They plan to attend the nation's top colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Brandeis University, MIT, Tufts University, Boston University, Northeastern University, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, Smith College, and Boston College, among others.
Thao Nguyen, of Dorchester, the valedictorian from Excel High School at the South Boston Education Complex, spoke to the attendees about her path to graduation. Thao came to the United States four years ago barely able to speak English. Within two years she found herself in the honors program at Excel and eventually became the battalion commander of JROTC. She thanked her family as well as all of the teachers, administrators and staff for their support over the past four years. Thao is deciding between attending Northeastern University and Boston University next year.
The first Valedictorians Luncheon was held in 1999 at the City's Parkman House. Its success enabled the luncheon to become an annual event and a fundraiser for the City of Boston Scholarship Fund, which has provided tens of thousands of dollars in financial assistance to Boston residents attending college in Massachusetts.