Throughout high school, Rachel Cacho has worked hard to be the best she can be. Striving to be better than her older brother is what motivated her, she said. With a grade-point average of more than 4.0, Cacho will graduate as the top student of her class at Lodi Academy.
Over the last four years, the 17-year-old has been involved in sports, mainly basketball, flag football and volleyball. She was also editor of the school newspaper, on the yearbook staff and participated in the school student association.
It was her junior year, when she was involved in the most activities, when she realized something needed to change. The balance of academics and extracurricular activities became a challenge to manage. It was then she decided studying hard and time management were important for her success.
“It hit me that I needed to grow up and mature. It was probably the hardest year for me,” she said.
Doug Brown, principal of Lodi Academy, describes Cacho as an outstanding, very dependable student who is involved in everything.
“She has the ability to juggle things. She is very involved and yet she is able to manage all those tasks and be an achiever in all of them,” he said.
Cacho often counted on her music and Spanish teacher, Mr. Rodriguez, for inspiration during the difficult times. He was like a mentor to her and helped her learn a lot of life lessons. He would tell her to do what makes her happy and to never give up, she said.
“A lot of times I would go to him feeling down and helpless, and he would give me hope and bring my spirits back up,” she said.
Her favorite subject was biology, and this year she enjoyed anatomy. She likes learning how everything works, especially the human body and how intricate it is, she said.
Cacho lives in Lodi with her parents, Wilner and Reva, and her brothers, Bradley and Joshua. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the piano and running. Following graduation, she will be attending Pacific Union College in Angwin, where she plans to major in biochemistry. Eventually, she hopes to move to the Los Angeles area and go into pharmaceuticals.
“(My hope is) that she will utilize her talent, skills and intelligence to be a success,” said Brown. “And I’m sure she will be.”