IDEA top grads ready to venture beyond Valley

SAN BENITO — Jimmy Richmond told himself it was going to be OK if he didn’t get in.

The Valedictorian of San Benito’s IDEA Academy knew that Brown University was a difficult school to get into, but after visiting the campus his freshmen year of high school, he knew that was the place for him.

“I felt it,” Jimmy said. “I felt that that was the school for me.”

Jimmy was accepted and starting this fall, he will join an elite group of students that will take part in the Program in Liberal Medical Education or PLME, a program that puts freshmen on an eight-year track to receiving their medical degree.

“I feel like I’d learn a lot from a place that is so diverse,” Jimmy said.

Even though he is excited to learn about new cultures, moving half way across the country will be something he’ll have to get used to.

“That’ll be tough,” Jimmy said. “Thanksgiving at my house is a grand time and missing that will make me sad.”

While there are a lot of things he knows he’ll have to get used to such as harsher winters and spending Thanksgiving away from his family, Jimmy said he has the support he needs to make it.

Both Jimmy and salutatorian Gabriela Hernandez know the transition from high school to college will be a difficult one.

Soon they’ll be in new cities surrounded by new people and new challenges.

Both students agree that it’s the friends they made along the way that will be the hardest part of leaving.

“I won’t see them like I normally do but they’re part of me,” Jimmy said. “They build who I am. They know every part of me almost as much as my parents and siblings do.”

To Gabriela, starting over with new people is going to be difficult.

“There’s not going to be a lot of people who know me or know what I’ve been through,” Gabriela said.

Gabriela will be studying Hotel Administration in the fall at the University of Texas at Austin.

During her high school years, Gabriela found that she enjoyed planning school events for student government.

After being encouraged by a teacher to take part in a hotel administration camp at Cornell University, Gabriela decided she wanted to continue planning events and learning everything there is to know about maintaining hotels.

During the summer both Jimmy and Gabriela plan to get jobs and work to save money for the upcoming expenses of starting school.

“There is a lot that I have to do to get ready,” Gabriela said.

Jimmy Ryan Richmond

UNIVERSITY: Brown University

MAJOR: Comparative literature, Program in Liberal Medical Education

ORGANIZATIONS: Robotics, National Honor Society, Cross Country

Gabriela Nicole Hernandez

UNIVERSITY: University of Texas at Austin

MAJOR: Hotel Administration

ORGANIZATIONS: Student Government