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valedictorian 2024 from Lamar High School, Emiliano Gutierrez Berlanga
Posted in , , on June 5, 2024


It’s graduation season and we are celebrating the Class of 2024 valedictorian and salutatorian for all eight Arlington ISD high schools. Meet Lamar High School’s valedictorian Emiliano Gutierrez Berlanga.

NAME: Emiliano Gutierrez Berlanga

SCHOOL: Lamar High School

COLLEGE: Harvard University


〉What is one piece of advice you would give an incoming freshman?

The one advice I would give to an incoming freshman is to dare to go outside your comfort zone and try everything. My freshman year I didn’t really get to do that because we were hybrid, and we didn’t get to be on campus every day. Even sophomore year, some of the clubs seemed to fade out. But I would say try all the extracurriculars you can be part of, join every club. That’s coming from someone who did practically every club available.

〉If you were a superhero, which one would you be and why?

My answer is a little bit niche, but I would want to be The Flash Barry Allen, but an important little niche aspect is I would want to be Barry Allen when he is a Blue Lantern. The Blue Lanterns are similar to Green Lanterns, but they focus on hope. I think that would more encompass me as a person as well as some super cool speed and some Blue Lantern patterns.

〉What are you most excited about after graduation?

Honestly just kind of having that independence of making my own schedule, learning subjects that I want to learn specifically, learning more about our government system and just having the overall freedom of not having the monotonous every day public school education. It was very tiring sometimes when waking up at 7:30 just thinking five more minutes, please, I just want to go to sleep. It’s about choosing your own schedule and I get to listen to your needs instead of having to go through a general system.

〉Who inspires you the most and why?

The beauty in life is we find inspiration in everyone. If you don’t learn something new about yourself or the world from someone you encounter then you’re not really doing yourself justice. I think there’s inspiration in everyone. You can find inspiration from everyone you meet. If I had to isolate it to one person, I think it would be my mother. My mother is my biggest inspiration. She has always motivated me and always shown me what hard work and dedication can do. I truly respect her and she’s honestly kind of the one person I can always rely on to lead me towards my next goal.

〉What’s been your favorite high school memory?

It would be March 28 – Ivy Day. I remember I was so anxious that day I even told me my mother, ‘Would you be OK?’ because she was as equally invested in my education in what happened after high school. I remember asking her in the car, ‘Would you be OK if I don’t get into an Ivy, if I don’t get into any of these schools?’

She said, ‘You know what, I think you’re going to get into at least four.’ At that point I thought it was just that mother support and she was trying to say things to calm my nerves.

Through the day teachers were asking me, ‘Hey, when’s Ivy Day. Isn’t it today?’ I asked them if they wanted to be added to my email list. That contributed more to my anxiety.

Once I got home, I think it was 5:04 when all the results came out. It was truly a whirlwind of emotions. I applied to all eight Ivys, and I decided to open them alphabetically. That was probably the worst decision I could have made that day. It messed with me.

I opened Brown’s letter – rejection. Columbia – rejection. Cornell – rejection.

So, after three rejections I was feeling emotionally overwhelmed and then I opened Dartmouth and got accepted and a weight lifted off my shoulders. Then I opened Harvard and got accepted. Princeton accepted. UPenn – waitlisted, and Yale – accepted.

It’s so hard to remember that moment because I was feeling so many emotions. That is my favorite high school memory because it wasn’t just a moment of surreal joy, but then I immediately sent text messages to my closest friends and then emails to my teachers with screenshots of everything. I felt so much love and support. It was truly one of my favorite memories even with the low points.