The list of prestigious universities that want to enroll Heights High School valedictorian Emily Ramirez is impressive—Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Duke, Stanford, Wellesley, Pomona, and Rice.
Emily has decided on Harvard, however, partly because her sister is finishing her sophomore year there now. Since attending Harvard Elementary School, it has been a dream of hers to attend Harvard University.
The numerous acceptances have taken the sting out of her disappointment regarding an abbreviated senior year and graduation ceremony that is up in the air.
“I have been looking forward to our graduation ceremony since the start of my senior year, especially after I made valedictorian,” Emily said. “With the uncertainty surrounding graduation, it’s a little disheartening not sharing this moment with our classmates, teachers, families, and mentors who helped us. Nevertheless, this is an accomplishment that I’ve worked toward for years, and even if I don’t get to celebrate it in the way I originally planned, I’m grateful for what I learned, both in and out of the classroom.”
As a senior class officer, Emily has been working with her principal, student activities coordinator, and classmates to come up with ways to keep their senior class engaged.
“Currently, we are working on finalizing our commemorative T-shirt,” she said. “We will be receiving our yearbooks, caps and gowns, and other items at a drive-through service. These small tokens serve as reminders of the many moments we were able to spend together.”
Emily credits EMERGE-HISD for supporting her throughout this process. “Their support during my college application process was invaluable,” she said. “They taught me to dream bigger and work harder, and that as long as I am willing to work for it, I can reach any goal.”
As a social learner, the valedictorian misses interacting with her classmates in the classroom.
“Although our teachers encourage discussion in our virtual classrooms, they are not as organic as they would be in a typical classroom setting,” Emily said. “But this experience has taught me to have more self-discipline as far as attending class and turning in assignments.
Emily is the chair of the City of Houston Mayor’s Youth Council, the president of ZIA Sisterhood, the director of St. Jerome Teen ACTS Retreat Group, the secretary of her senior class, and an EMERGE Fellowship Ambassador. She enjoys hand-lettering, playing guitar, and volunteering.