Eduardo Yepiz kept himself pretty busy as a student at Nogales High School.
He was a member of the Apaches’ varsity tennis team and the school’s Future Business Leaders of America chapter all four years at NHS. He was also part of the Science National Honor Society, the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society, serving as president of the latter organization during his senior year.
And those were just his extracurricular activities. In the classroom, Yepiz participated in the demanding International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program in addition to his regular high school studies.
Wasn’t it tough to carry a workload like that?
“It was extremely tough,” he said. “Especially with the IB diploma – the curriculum is extremely rigorous. So I would go to sleep late and I would wake up very early. It was tough; I just had to put in a lot of work and dedication.”
In the end, Yepiz’s hard work paid off. He not only fulfilled his high school requirements and responsibilities, he graduated with the second-highest grade point average in his class, earning the title of salutatorian of the NHS Class of 2020.
His motivation for it all, he said, was his dream of attending a top-flight university. And he’s reaching that goal as well, having earned admission to the University of Notre Dame, where he’ll enroll in the school’s college of engineering with the intent of majoring in computer science.
Through it all, he said, he had support – but not pressure – from his parents Sergio Yepiz and Mayra Romero.
“They never put any pressure on me. They let me be independent, they allowed me to just focus on myself and I didn’t have to worry, ‘Oh, I have to get good grades for my parents,’” he said.
As for his teachers who especially helped him along the way, Yepiz cited Marcia Mendoza, who taught the business class he took during his junior year, and Jennifer Valenzuela, the IB program coordinator who taught his calculus class, “even though it was difficult.”
“I don’t know why, I just like numbers,” Yepiz said of calculus. “I really enjoyed that class.”
As for his favorite high school memories, Yepiz pointed to the Future Business Leaders of America leadership conferences he attended with his chaptermates during his sophomore and junior years. The conferences were “very competitive,” he said, “and I just had a lot of fun with my friends because we got to go out of Nogales and to Tucson or Safford.”
Another top memory came during his freshman year, when he was part of the NHS boys tennis team that advanced to the semifinals of the Division II state tournament. It was the only time the Apaches reached the final four during his career, though who knows how far they would have made it this year if the coronavirus pandemic hadn’t cancelled their season.
“That year was spectacular,” he said of his freshman tennis campaign. “It was just so competitive and we had so much fun. And since I was a freshman, I had so much to learn from the upperclassmen. I really enjoyed that moment.”