When NHS announced its Class of 2019 valedictorian, Francisco Sauceda was happy, but not necessarily surprised; he has been the top-ranked student in his class since freshman year.
“Knowing that… my hard work and my persistence paid off is kind of a relief. I can take a breath,” he said.
Sauceda, who studied in NHS’ International Baccalaureate program, credited his teachers, family, and the San Felipe church youth group for helping him find motivation to succeed.
“The value for education that I’ve had, I would say that it comes all the way down to all of the teachers I’ve had since kindergarten,” he said. “I’m lucky that I had teachers that had that motivation.”
In the seventh grade, Sauceda joined the youth group at San Felipe, which he said was a major influence on him.
It was a personally challenging time, Sauceda said, but the group brought out the best in him. “They’ve taught me, for me to value who who I am,” he reflected.
Sauceda became a coordinator for the youth group and also directs the church choir.
“It’s helped me a lot to be a leader myself” through the church, he said.
But, Sauceda added, it all began at home.
“My grandma taught me since the beginning,” he said. “She would have me do the times tables on paper when I was in kindergarten and every time I did a full time table she would give me a dollar.”
Sauceda said that his mother, who raised him and his five younger siblings on her own, has “always been there,” and that his stepfather was also supportive during his childhood.
Sauceda’s mother “motivated me to be what I want be,” he said. “She’s assistant manager at the Fastrip right now, and I’ve taken interest in business as well.”
Next year, he will head to Tucson to study at the University of Arizona, where he won a scholarship to study in the Eller College of Management.
Reflecting on his time in high school, Sauceda said he hopes others can also find power in education.
“I feel like education should be more valued. I want others to be motivated for what education has to offer,” he said.