Culture

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.

Credit: Vallejo City Unified School District

“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.

Credit: Ivette Ramos/ Facebook

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.

Credit: Vallejo City Unified School District

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.”

READ:A Mexican Teenager Just Became The First Minor In 100 Years To Be Accepted Into A Post-Graduate Program At Harvard

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Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

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Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

Beverly Hills, one of the most well-known destinations in the country and world has long been a thriving and prime area for real-estate. Long before it was colonized by the Spanish, and was largely populated by rich white elites, the Indigenous people of California known as the Tongva, thrived there.

Hundreds of years later, in the 1830s, when the area was colonized, Maria Rita Valdez Villa, the granddaughter of Spanish colonists Luis and Maria Quintero and the great-granddaughter of an African slave was granted the original 4,500-acre of Beverly Hills, then known as El Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas.

Yes, as it turns out the foremother of Beverly Hills was a Black Latina!

During her ownership, Maria Rita oversaw cattle ranching and farming.

According to LA Magazine, Rita “was well known for holding a yearly celebratory rodeo under a famous eucalyptus tree at what is now Pico and Robertson boulevards.”

Sadly, after working the land for so much time, three Indigenous Californian outlaws attacked the ranch in 1852. The attack led to a shootout amongst “a grove of walnut trees at what is now Benedict Canyon and Chevy Chase drives” and eventually in 1854 Maria Rita decided to sell the area to investors Henry Hancock and Benjamin D. Wilson for $4,000.

Perhaps there’s a chance for justice for Maria Rita in the end.

Recently, Los Angeles County officials revealed that they were contemplating returning a beachfront property that was seized from a Black family nearly a century ago.

According to the Guardian, Manhattan Beach used “eminent domain” in 1924 to force Willa and Charles Bruce, the city’s first Black landowners, of the land where they lived. “The Bruces also ran a resort for Black families during a time when beaches in the strand were segregated,” explained the Guardian in a recent report. “Part of the land was developed into a city park. It is now owned by Los Angeles county and houses lifeguard headquarters and a training center.”

Manhattan Beach county Supervisor Janice Hahn announced that she was looking into ways to restore justice for Bruce family. Options include delivering the land back to the family, paying for losses, or potentially leasing the property from them

“I wanted the county of Los Angeles to be a part of righting this terrible wrong,” Hahn explained in a recent interview with KABC-TV.

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A Black Teen Earned Over $1 Million In Scholarships From 18 Colleges That Accepted Her

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A Black Teen Earned Over $1 Million In Scholarships From 18 Colleges That Accepted Her

Shanya Robinson-Owens applied to over 20 colleges and has been accepted into 18 of them.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the high school senior has also been offered more than $1 million in scholarship money. The 17-year-old Philadelphia teen currently attends George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science but is headed towards a pretty bright and educated future.

According to a recent interview with “Good Morning America” the star student earned $1,074,260 in scholarships.

“We are overjoyed,” Robinson-Owens aunt told the show in a recent interview. “I knew she wouldn’t have a problem getting into colleges, but we didn’t know they would award her this much money in scholarship funds.”

Shanya, who was accepted to Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; La Salle University in Philadelphia; Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri; Temple University in Philadelphia and Cabrini University in Radnor, Pennsylvania, told GMA that she “wasn’t really expecting it” so many offers let alone so much money.

The senior currently holds a 3.2-grade point average and is a member of the school’s yearbook committee. She also works as an intern alongside her Chinese language teacher.

When it comes to the advice she’d give other students, Shayna says it’s important to “take your time” with your work and the application process.

“You really have to be patient,” Shanya explained. “Stay focused. If you need to have some time away, it’s OK. You can tell your teachers that because they know you’re stressed.”

“We’ve always been extremely proud of her,” Shanya’s aunt, Christine Owens, explained to GMA. “My mother has helped raise Shanya since she was a baby. We’ve just been working as a team making sure Shanya keeps God first in anything she does and she is succeeding.”

Speaking about Shanya, her school principal Ted Domers told GMA that Shanya is a “well-respected student at her school.”

“In addition to being a part of a movement to bring more social action to our school, she’s involved in a number of extracurricular activities that show the breadth of her skills, from robotics to journalism,” Domers explained. “It is a privilege for us to count Shanya as one of our own and we are excited to see her create opportunities for her future.”

Shanya has yet to make a college pick.

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