At Jesse Bethel High School in Vallejo, California, Natalie Ramos should have made history. According to her guidance counselor, Natalie was going to become the school’s first Latina valedictorian, but after attending a meeting, she learned the school would have “multiple valedictorians.” Her story has recently gone viral after her mother, Ivette Ramos, posted it on Facebook.
“My daughter Natalie is ranked #1 in her class with a 4.27 GPA,” Ivette wrote. “She was told by her counselor that she would be the first Latina Valedictorian at Jesse Bethel High School and it seems like the Principal has a problem with that. Principal [Ramon] Cusi wants her to share the spot with 9 other students. This has never been done before at Jesse Bethel, why now? The moment a Latina becomes Valedictorian it seems to be a problem.”
Her sister additionally shared on Twitter that after her sister went viral, her GPA allegedly dropped, making her come in at number three.
Natalie has received her share of support, but she and her family have also been criticized. She ended up writing a message on her mother’s Facebook page to share her side of the story.
“I’m tired of seeing all this negativity amongst the multitudes of threads that have been made targeted towards me and my mother,” she wrote. “FIRST OFF, I’d like to state that I TOO was at the graduation meeting as a student representative for the Class of 2019. I heard what my principal said about there being ‘multiple valedictorians,’ AT THE MEETING an IMMEDIATELY knew there was something wrong. Why? Because I’m good friends with the majority of the other kids in the top ten. A lot of them are just as mad as me.”
She added that they know they all don’t have the same GPA and that her transcripts say that she came in at No. 1. Last semester, she had ranked No. 2, but she set off to change that.
“I’m extremely proud of myself…,” she said. “I’d also like to add that no one has said ANYTHING about discrimination. I’m simply stating that my counselor, who has worked at Bethel since it opened, told me I’d be the first Latina valedictorian. Knowing this, I know it makes it even more important to not share the spotlight with kids who don’t have the same GPA as me. Being the first is an honor in itself, and I don’t want my light to be dimmed by having to share something that I worked towards all four years with others who have expressed to me that they wouldn’t feel right receiving the same honor as I have.”
Remezcla has reached out to Ivette Ramos and Ramon Cusi for comment and will update if we get a response.
Update, April 24, 2019 at 4:50 p.m. ET: Natalie Ramos is officially her school’s valedictorian.