This California High School Student Will Become The First Ever Latina Valedictorian At Her School
A nightmare scenario became a dream come true for Natalie Ramos this past week. The senior from Jesse Bethel High School in Vallejo, California, is set to make history after her story went viral. Ramos will become her high school’s first Latina valedictorian after she allegedly had to fight for the distinction. This is how it all went down.
Jesse Bethel High School has changed course and will allow Natalie Ramos to enjoy her moment as valedictorian without sharing the stage.
“I am sending this message to address the many messages of concern we have been receiving regarding the selection process for the JBHS Valedictorian,” Cusi wrote in a letter addressing the viral controversy the school started. “Over the last few days, we have been working to ensure that the GPA calculations were done correctly. The selection process outlined in our handbook on page 14 reads as follows: ‘Valedictorian: The student with the highest ‘weighted academic GPA 9-12’ in academic classes from 9th grade through the first semester of senior year will be chosen the valedictorian for the class.’ Based on this criteria, and the updated GPA calculations, I am delighted to announce that Natalie Ramos is the Valedictorian for JBHS for the Class of 2019. I am looking forward to celebrating with Natalie and her classmates as they graduate in June.”
According to the Times Herald, the controversy started with Ramos’ counselor, who didn’t properly tell her that her GPA was the highest in her academy but not necessarily in the overall senior class. The high school is among many Vallejo schools divided into subject matter academies.
Natalie Ramos was supposed to be the valedictorian for her class but school officials tried to change things last minute and make her share the stage, so she pushed back.
Ivette Ramos, Natalie’s mom, took to Facebook to get the word out that her daughter’s valedictorian title was being wrongfully taken away. She called out Principal Ramon Cusi’s intentions and says that it’s not fair her daughter has to share the title even if she had the GPA to show for it.
“My daughter Natalie is ranked #1 in her class with a 4.27 GPA,” Ramos said on Facebook. “She was told by her counselor that she would be the first Latina Valedictorian at Jesse Bethel High School and it seems like the Principal has a problem with that. Principal Cusi wants her to share the spot with 9 other students. This has never been done before at Jesse Bethel, why now? The moment a Latina becomes Valedictorian it seems to be a problem.”
Natalie’s sister even took to Twitter to show her support for her saying she “deserves the spotlight ” and urged followers to call the school to complain. The tweet’s replies were filled with replies calling out Principal Cusi for “discrimination” and “racism.”
Natalie would eventually issue her own statement in her mother’s Facebook post where she spoke up about the controversy.
“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,” Ramos wrote. “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.”
Natalie’s story was spread all over social media gaining support from people everywhere.
Many online questioned the school’s decision to not solely honor Ramos for her achievements. One user said that the school’s principal “has a problem w/that b/c wants her to share the spot w/9 other students. This has never been done before. Why now? #NatalieRamos.”
Another Twitter user said this happened because Natalie was a minority. They claim that Ramos deserves the honor and shouldn’t have to share it.
“The rules always seem to change when history or greatness is accomplished by someone that is a minority in an institution. Why should Natalie Ramos have to share something she worked hard for the past four years with her classmates? “
Shortly after the story went viral, the school district responded with a letter explaining the controversy.
The letter explained how the students’ GPAs were calculated and claimed that three students had indeed qualified to be valedictorians. Natalie’s sister took to her Twitter again to point out that Natalie’s GPA had in fact been lowered since the story had gone viral.
The reaction from Ramos’s family and people online has been nothing short of positive for this great achievement.
Natalie’s sister took to Twitter to thank everyone for the support in the last week and for doing their part to get the story out there. She even called out those that talked down on Natalie during the misunderstanding.
“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!” Ramos’s sister wrote. “AND for everyone who called my sister a liar and my family liars I’ve made you some humble pie!”
It was a crazy week for the Ramos family that started with anger and heartbreak over an achievement that should be celebrated. It goes to show the power of social media and what the support from family can do.
“I’m relieved,” Natalie told the Times Herald. “I think they’re doing the right thing now.”