As Galt High School’s 100th valedictorian, Alyssa Hurst is at the top of her class with a grade point average of 4.47. But it’s not the first time the lifelong Galt resident has been in the minority.
She counts among the most challenging issues in high school as dealing with people who did not understand her religious beliefs and tried to influence her to change her ways.
“Some people did not understand why I chose not to cheat or use bad language or party all the time, and it was hard to explain why I would not go along with what everyone else was doing,” she said. “I know that choosing to live in the way I live paid off. I know that while standing alone in many instances was very difficult, I know that it was worth it in the end.”
Hurst is heading to Brigham Young University in the fall to pursue a degree in nursing, with an emphasis in neurology.
Ten years from now, she said she would like to have completed her education, landed a job in the nursing field and started a family.
“Also, I would like to be able to look back at my life and be able to say that I have never given up and have stayed strong in my moral values.”
Before starting high school, Hurst attended Valley Oaks Elementary and McCaffrey Middle schools. She is proud to have earned the highest grade point average this school year and credits her motivated mindset and hard work she said she puts into everything she does.
In her address to her peers, family and friends at Thursday’s ceremony, Hurst focused on achieving success through perseverance and what it means to be a warrior, the school’s mascot.
For future students, she suggests they have goals in mind for their futures as they go through high school. If students know that they want to get into a particular college, they will have a set goal and will be able to focus on why they want to do their best in school, she said.
The teacher who stands out the most to Hurst is Ursula Weaver. Hurst was a student in Weaver’s German class for four years and her teacher aide for two.
“She is the one teacher who was not only there to teach, but truly wanted to get to know her students and help in any way she can,” Hurst said. “I was always excited to go to her class because I knew I would have fun in an educational environment, and I could always feel her support and love.”
But English was her favorite subject as she loves read and explore different forms of literature, as well as write because it gives her the opportunity to express and form the ideas she has about life and apply it in an essay, she said.
Throughout high school, Hurst was a member of a number of clubs including California Scholarship Federation, Interact Club, German Club, Letterman’s Honor Society and Key Club. She also played both girls and co-ed tennis.
In the end, Hurst said without her favorite teachers, friends, church leaders and family — including parents Steve and Lisa, and siblings Justin, Brandon, Ashley (the school’s 2010 valedictorian) and Kelsey — she would not have the same motivation to succeed that she has today.
“(They) push me to do my best and encourage me through their examples of hard work and perseverance.”