Spotlight on Education: Truckee High School senior Robby Heck is this yearand#8217;s valedictorian |

Spotlight on Education: Truckee High School senior Robby Heck is this yearand#8217;s valedictorian

Jason Shueh/Sierra SunFrom left, Truckee High Schooland#8217;s salutatorian Brett Ruffon, valedictorian Robby Heck and salutatorians Naomi (Marry) Brown and Sara Swietamski. The high school had a three-way tie for its 2010 title of salutatorian.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Inside the halls of Truckee High School there is a telling vibe of anticipation. School is almost over. Graduation is June 12. And amid the din of summer plans and final assignment sights sits Robby Heck. Age 18. A senior. This yearand#8217;s valedictorian.

Dressed in blue jeans and a purple and grey striped sweatshirt, Heck is headed to UC Berkeley next fall where heand#8217;ll join the universityand#8217;s 35,000-plus student body, about 25,000 of those his fellow undergraduates and eight of his potential professors being Nobel Laureates, according to the schooland#8217;s website.

Over the course of his high school experience Heck conquered barrages of tests, Advanced Placement classes and is now sporting a healthy 4.0 grade point average.

For Heck, itand#8217;s time to move on.

and#8220;Itand#8217;s kind of hard to stay focused right now,and#8221; said Heck. and#8220;You kinda want to take a break before college, but Iand#8217;m just trying to get Aand#8217;s this last quarter, so thatand#8217;s what Iand#8217;ve been focusing on.and#8221;

With his bevy of academic accolades, Heck said his decision to enroll at UC Berkeley wasnand#8217;t made lightly and took some time for him to weigh options. Heck will be pursuing an undergraduate program in business.

and#8220;It was between Cal and UCLA. And I really didnand#8217;t want to be that far from home,and#8221; he said. and#8220;Plus, Los Angeles is just crazy. The traffic and all the people there really just didnand#8217;t fit for me.and#8221;

Standing within the nebulous buffer between two life chapters and#8212; high school and college, youth and adulthood, childhood and freedomand#8212; Heck takes in his past four years. He talks of friends he wants to keep in touch with, reading assignments he did for a history class, not to mention winning the state soccer championships two years straight from 2008 to 2009.

Then there is his science teacher, Mrs. Susan Lowder.

and#8220;My favorite teacher Iand#8217;d probably have to say would be Mrs. Lowder because she puts up with me,and#8221; Heck said with laugh. and#8220;Sheand#8217;s just really good at what she does, sheand#8217;s passionate about teaching and she actually cares about the kids.and#8221;

Heck also credited his parents who encouraged him to take the challenging classes, who offered the meaningfully subtle and#8212; and at times not so subtle and#8212; nudges.

and#8220;Theyand#8217;re proud of me,and#8221; he said. and#8220;My mom was actually the one who pushed me to take all the extra AP classes this year and I think it helped.and#8221;

Despite long study hours he said high school propelled him to discipline himself with a firm work ethic, something he said he intends to hone in a university setting.

and#8220;I want to keep working hard. I want to keep up this high level of work. Thatand#8217;s what Iand#8217;m most nervous about for college,and#8221; Heck said. and#8220;I want to have fun but I want to do well at the same time.and#8221;

According to the U.S. Census, Heck will Join the ranks of roughly 17.2 million undergraduates across the nation. When asked his feelings about the nationand#8217;s recent rollercoaster of financial uncertainties and unemployment pressures, Heck said heand#8217;s optimistic.

and#8220;To be honest I havenand#8217;t really thought that far ahead. But If I work hard I think I should be able to find something. Iand#8217;m ready for it,and#8221; he said.

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