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CVHS issues its first class
For the first time ever, Central Valley High School is graduating a class.

And five students have risen to the top as the cream of the class of 2008.

Valedictorian honors go to Husein Rashid while four are sharing salutatorian honors: Alex Morales, Yama Aborzai, Lupita Zaragoza and Chris Azevedo.

Central Valley High School opened up three years ago with only freshmen and sophomores, drawing down the overpopulated campus at Ceres High School. Ceres High School had approximately 2,500 students before Central Valley High School opened. CHS now has 1,400 students.

Being a part of the historic first graduating class are eternal bragging rights for the seniors who will be picking up their diplomas at 7 p.m. on Thursday. A big blow-up of the first graduating class will be posted in the school gym.

"I think it's really exciting," said Lupita Zaragoza.

Husein Rashid earned a grade point average of 4.32 to become the class valedictorian. He transferred to Central Valley High from San Lorenzo High School when his dad relocated here for a job. He found Central Valley's curriculum more challenging than his Bay Area school but the biggest challenge was having to start over making friends.

There was also a culture shock. "I came from a place where we had the BART and a movie theater and mall behind my house and I move out here and I'm out in the country now," said Rashid. "Very difficult. But the major improvement here was the school. The school here is definitely a lot better, especially the teachers. The teachers over here are very supportive and they're highly qualified."

Husein plans to attend U.C. Davis to major in biomedical engineering. He'd like to become a cardiologist primarily because he watched his uncle have problems after a heart attack because there were not enough doctors to tend to him.

"Before that I never would have considered becoming a doctor," said Rashid, the son of Naser and Fayza Rashid of Ceres.

Rashid's busy high school schedule was impacted by a job working at Subway in Salida.

Lupita, the daughter of Manuel and Maria Zaragoza of Ceres, plans to attend CSUS Stanislaus and then apply to U.C. Davis for medical school.

She balanced her intense homework against a job as a CPR instructor with the Red Cross.

Yama Aborzai, too, plans on attending U.C. Davis. He plans to play on the Aggies basketball team and study sports medicine. Yama, the son of Lemar and Nilofar Aborzai, played basketball during his three years at Central Valley High.

Chris Azevedo, the son of Andy Azevedo and Candy Carlson, plans to continue working while putting himself through Cal State University, Stanislaus. He plans to obtain a business administration degree and transfer into medical school. Chris is no stranger to hard work - he's been working at Papa Murphy's Pizza in Ceres.

"I had to go to school from 7 to 3 and my work I'd usually have to work 3:30 to 9:30. I'd have to go home and do homework. Usually I didn't go to sleep until 12 or 1 o'clock in the morning on a regular night."

Alex Morales plans to attend U.C. Merced. His aim is to transfer to UCLA and double major in computer science and economics and obtain a master's degree in business. The son of Ruben and Delfina Morales wants to become a financial analyst or any other job "working with numbers."

He found it challenging keeping up his high school studies while working in carpentry with his dad. "He taught me to balance time and how to set priorities," said Alex, "like to work hard to get ahead instead of going out with friends or trying to have a good time."

All five of the students were members of California Scholastic Federation (CSF) and National Honor Society (NHS).