Southridge High School Valedictorian's Story - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Southridge High School Valedictorian Shares Obstacles to Success

Posted: Updated:
A local student is anxiously waiting for acceptance letters from some ivy league universities. A local student is anxiously waiting for acceptance letters from some ivy league universities.

KENNEWICK, WA - A local student is anxiously waiting for acceptance letters from some ivy league universities. 
     
She is the valedictorian at Southridge High School, but works in the fields with her mom in the summer to help support her family. 

NBC Right Now got an inside look at a typical day at school Gianna Nino.

"I just want to be a good role model for my younger siblings you know, tell them to work hard, show them that we can do it,"explained the Southridge High School Senior. 

Nino was raised by a single mom and has three younger siblings. Soon, she will be the first in her family to go to college.

"It's a huge financial burden, college is, and I don't want to leave my mom with that on her own," she explained. 

Whether she is going to one of her three AP courses this year,  tutoring other students in math, band practice or one of many sports practices after school, Gianna is always on the go, and that does not stop once summer starts

"It's all day in the sun and it gets very hot and its not very fun," she said. 

Nino picks blueberries in the summer in the fields. She started working the summer after she turned 13 as a way to help her mom support the family.

"That definitely impacted me in a way that I can see that I have opportunities that not a lot of people get and I try to take advantage of them," she said adding people in the fields often remind her to continue studying so she does not have to go back to the fields every summer.

Gianna has a 4.0 GPA right now. She recently received the highest possible score at a music competition playing the bass clarinet and has applications out at Stanford, Yale and Harvard but said she does not want to Jinx herself and say which one she prefers. 

Her principal Steve Biehn said there is no one more deserving of valedictorian than Gianna. 

"Any kind of limitation you try to put on somebody like Gianna she just blows right through it she's just a great kid and she's an inspiration to us all," he said.

Gianna said her inspiration comes from her mom, she tells her to break past the stereotypes and stay focused on school.

NBC Right Now asked her, "What do you think she's going to be feeling the day you walk across the stage?"

"She'll be crying, she's very excited, I got my valedictorian plaque and she hangs it up and she looks at it every day and she's so excited about it," said Nino. 

Gianna is expecting to get letters from her top college choices sometime this week.

HD DOPPLER 6i
/