When Mariah Franco becomes part of something, she isn't one to sit on the sidelines. When it came to local government, the Galt High School Class of 2013 valedictorian became then-Mayor Barbara Payne's intern.
When the school libraries of Galt Joint Union Elementary School District risked being closed because of a lack of funding, Franco became a member of the Re-Open Galt Elementary School Libraries fundraising group.
And when asked what career path she planned to follow, "become a doctor" wasn't enough of an answer for her.
She wants to become a renowned pediatrician with a vast amount of experiences, and reach out to inner city kids and families to educate them and provide health care for lower cost, this lifelong Galt resident said.
In the fall, she will attend University of California, San Diego to major in biochemistry and cell biology. In addition to studying to become a pediatrician, Franco plans to do research.
She started her education in Galt as a preschool student in the City Tots program. She attended Marengo Ranch Elementary School through fifth grade, then transferred to McCaffrey Middle School for sixth through eighth grades.
Her family has lived in Galt for more than 40 years. Her parents are Leo Velasquez Franco and Imelda Pascua Franco. She has one sibling, Myracle Pascua Franco.
Franco's most memorable high school experience was becoming part of the Lady Warriors golf team during her senior year.
"During the fun practices and competitive tournaments, our team bonded and learned life lessons," she said. "I gained more friends and learned that through hard work, one can overcome any obstacle and flourish."
Her favorite instructor was her AP government teacher, Alex Bauer, because he is energetic and keeps in touch with his students, she said.
"Mr. Bauer taught the curriculum and related it to current events," she said. "He helped us grow as individuals."
Throughout high school, Franco served as secretary for the city's Galt Youth Committee, high school board representative, president of the California Scholarship Federation, Asian Culture Club and a member of the University of California, Davis Early Academic Outreach Program. She was also a Friday Night Live mentor at McCaffrey Middle School and a member of the youth group at St. Christopher's Catholic Church.
Any words of wisdom for incoming freshman?
"There are more responsibilities and competition. You will meet interesting people, but stay away from peer pressure," Franco said.
"Find mentors and take advantage of the opportunities that come your way," she added. "Early on, identify your passions and sharpen up your leadership skills. Remember to always do your personal best!"
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.