PAWTUCKET – Yareli Sanchez Martin is the valedictorian of the Class of 2023 at Tolman High School, and Julia Garcia is the salutatorian.
The first in her family to graduate high school, Sanchez Martin is daughter of Cecilia Martin Morales and Sergio Sanchez Gonzalez. She also has two younger sisters, one of them a freshman at Tolman.
Sanchez Martin will be attending Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., this fall to study accounting and computer information systems. This year, she participated in the DECA business club, yearbook club, student council, the national honor society (for which she is secretary), as well as in several volunteer programs.
Sanchez Martin also interned for a graphic design company and works part-time at Walgreens. Her senior coursework includes accounting, AP English language, an internship class, astronomy, and unified physical education. She also took AP Spanish during her junior year, which she speaks and writes fluently.
Her happiest memory at Tolman was making new friends. “I feel like I had a hard time making friends before and now I’m more outgoing and less shy. So I feel like meeting people here was my happiest moment,” she said.
She considers this time of year a bittersweet moment, and is excited for new opportunities.
“Four years is a long time of being in the same building, so I’m just glad that I’ll be able to go somewhere else and do new things, new hobbies too,” she said. I feel like here there were things (at Tolman) that I didn’t have time to do.”
She said her most challenging moment was finding an adult mentor to help her cope with the stress of school, which she found in Mr. Reynolds, her AP language teacher. Finding out she was the valedictorian was a huge surprise for Sanchez Martin.
“I always knew I was an above average student. A top student yes, but not the top one,” she said.
To her fellow classmates, she advises them to believe in themselves and to have self-confidence. “I wasn’t very confident in myself but look where I am at,” she said.
Garcia, who said she was so excited to learn of the honor, is the daughter of Julia Rego and has two brothers and one sister and is the youngest in her family.
Her coursework this year includes AP calculus, AP biology, AP English language, forensics, oceanography, fitness and nutrition, and unified physical education.
Garcia plans to attend Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass., this fall to study history and medieval/renaissance studies. For extracurricular activities, she participated in Mathletes for four years, Pawtucket Youth Commission, the DECA Business Club, and the National Honor Society, for which she is president.
Garcia said her favorite activity was Mathletes, and she also enjoyed her art classes at Tolman. Her favorite memory is from attending Senior Supper with her best friend, and the most challenging aspect of her time at Tolman was the many AP courses she took this year.
“I took a lot of AP classes so I really had to push myself hard for those,” she said. As far as college and the future, Garcia said she is looking forward to being more independent and studying something that she enjoys.
Garcia said she is glad that high school is over but she did enjoy most of her time while at Tolman. She is still currently revising her salutatorian speech, which took her several days to write. In her speech, she quotes her idol Princess Diana and will be thanking everyone before saying her final goodbye.
Welcome to the discussion.
Comments that will be deleted include:
What we at The Breeze would truly like to see are comments that add history and context to a story or that use criticism constructively.