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SA3’s Top 3 celebrate accomplishments

As the valedictorian for Sharyland Advanced Academic Academy’s 2020 graduating class, Dylan DuCharme is prepared for life outside of high school thanks to his family.

Dylan Ducharme

“They’ve always encouraged my curiosity even if it led me to unusual places, and that’s a huge part of what makes me an avid learner today,” DuCharme said. “I’m also thankful to my friends, who have shared many memorable moments with me over the last four years and taught me what it is to be a teenager. I’m grateful for all the teachers I’ve ever had, because in some way or another they’ve introduced me to new ideas and information and motivated me to become a hard worker.”

That hard work will continue to pay off for DuCharme as he attends Rice University in the fall to major in physics and philosophy to become a physicist. 

Dylan, who is president of his school’s NHS president and the captain of the UIL social studies team, listed his AP Calculus teacher Jose A. Nava as his mentor.

“He has enabled me to see the beauty that lies within mathematics, and as a result, my passion for problem solving has grown immensely,” DuCharme said. “Even in my worst times, Mr. Nava helped me overcome doubt over my potential as a UIL competitor, AP student, or future college alum. I am ever grateful to have known him as a teacher, a coach, and a friend.”

DuCharme says he is grateful for the other faculty members at SA3.

“They all know me well and made these past four years of high school a close, personal experience, which I wouldn’t have gotten at any other high school,” DuCharme said.

Sebastian Guajardo Montalvo, son of Juan Manuel Guajardo and Sonia Montalvo, is the valedictorian for the 2020 graduating class of Sharyland Advanced Academic Academy. He will become the first student from his school to attend Johns Hopkins University.

Sebastian Guajardo Montalvo

“I fell in love with science and discovered that regardless of how much information was being thrown at me, I continued to fall in love more and more with the subject,” Montalvo said. “Since then, biology and its’ subtopics have been my favorite subjects to learn about and have aided in solidifying my aspirations to one day work in the medical field.”

Sebastian has volunteered at Rio Grande Regional Hospital and Mission Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to nurture his love for the medical field.

He credits his teachers, friends and family for motivating him to continue to improve his education these last four years.

“At many points it became easy for me to be overwhelmed in work and my friends were there to ensure that it was not all work and stress for me,” Montalvo said. “I am grateful for all the mistakes and errors that I made throughout the years. They have opened my eyes to a lot of things that I had previously been blind to and as a result I have learned a multitude of lessons that are invaluable.”

 Awards and honors received by Montalvo during his time in high school include being listed on the presidential honor roll (STC), named an AP Scholar with distinction, a National Hispanic Scholar, HOSA state qualifier, chess state qualifier and swimming regional qualifier.

Daniela Velazquez, daughter of Rosie Rivera and Ismael Velasquez, is the 3rd ranked student in Sharyland Advanced Academic Academy’s graduating class of 2020. This fall, she will attend Georgetown University to major in government and eventually become a human rights lawyer. 

Velasquez, who is the senior class president, named her older brother Victor as her mentor. 

Daniela Velasquez

“He is the one who constantly pushed me to do my best,” Velasquez said. “He was always there to help whenever I needed help with homework, or just life advice. Victor has encouraged me to never give up on my dreams and constantly tells me how proud he is of me. He is the first of the family to graduate from college, so I take much inspiration from that. If he could do it, then I can too. He has worked extremely hard to be where he is today and I admire how he always pushed through.”

With the end of senior year, Velasquez took time to reflect on her time on campus that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even with such an unexpected occurrence, they have been dealt with this the best they could, trying to make up for the things we have missed out on,” Velasquez said. “They have continuously supported each and every student every year to make sure we succeed.”

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