By Nancy Whitney
Wylie High School has released the names of their 2015 graduating Valedictorian and Salutatorian and these two stand out in more ways than one.
Callahan Martin has attended Wylie schools since third grade and will graduate this year as the valedictorian with a 5.72 GPA, on the weighted scale. She has taken all AP and Pre AP classes during her years at High, allowing her to receive the higher GPA.
“There was never a freshman slump,” she said. “I came into it ready to work. I knew people were going to slack and I didn’t want to fall behind.” Freshman year she held her second highest GPA only behind her senior year.
She may not have known what she wanted to do when she began her years at High as a freshman but looks towards college years with bright eyes and an enthusiasm that is contagious.
“I liked so many different things as a freshman I was just trying to find a balance of them all,” she said. “But I figured it out along the way.”
She plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin in the business honors program, looking at a double or triple major in marketing and Spanish,.
“I am unsure whether I will continue my school career after that or go directly into the job market,” she said. “There are a ton of great opportunities coming out of business honors that have a 100 percent job placement.”
Callahan was accepted into Duke University as well as UT Austin, but chose UT after receiving a four-year full ride scholarship, stating she valued the highly esteemed business honors program that UT Austin provided.
During her four years at High she has participated in choir, served as choir president; National Honors Society, serving as President; actively involved in her church youth group; sang in praise band occasionally; Spanish Honors Society; Council of International Affairs; Student Council; played tennis for a year and performed in the Wylie High production of Hairspray last year.
Choir and NHS were on the top of her list of favorite activities she participated in throughout her years in High School.
“I am not quite sure how I manage to juggle it all,” she said. “You have to find a balance. It is important to make time for family, friends and school work, you just have to weigh them based on priority.”
Two years ago she received valuable advice from a senior named Amanda McEnroe.
“She told me be involved in everything you can, make time for everything you can. If there is an event and you don’t know if you were invited, just go, because you will have a good time. You want to be a well rounded person.” Callahan said. “Do everything you can, just be aware of when you need to study and when you need to work.”
Callahan shared kind words about Principal Virdie Montgomery, saying he has been a great influence and always very personable, but her favorite faculty member is Mrs. Philipose, humanities teacher and NHS sponsor.
“I can always go to her about things or anytime I am struggling with school,” she said. “I feel so comfortable with her and she is such an amazing person. I just enjoyed having her as a teacher.”
Callahan lives in Wylie with her parents Tena Harvey and Daren Martin. She has two older siblings, Madison and Jordan
Najib Gazi is this years salutatorian. With a sparkle in his eyes and a bounce in his step he shared his wisdom, experiences during the high school years and plans for the future.
Najib will be graduating with a 5.68 weighted GPA, also participating in numerous AP and Pre AP courses.
He looks forward to attending University of Texas Dallas this fall, majoring in political science, and intends to attend law school following his years at UTD.
“I chose political science because I am good at math and science, which isn’t always so fun, but arguing and debating are fun to me,” he said. “And it will allow me to help people.”
Najib was also accepted to Rice and SMU, but turned them down.
“They just weren’t offering me the same money that UTD was,” he said. “UTD will be paying me to go there, where at Rice and SMU I would have to pay to go there.”
Najib said that being successful isn’t so much about talent as it is work.
“Anyone in the top ten or fifteen would tell you, they aren’t there because they are smarter than anybody,” he said. “They are there because they worked harder.”
Najib has been involved in numerous activities during his four years at High. He played Varsity Soccer three years, participated in AcDec (academic decathlon), National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, has served on StuCo (student council) and participated in BPA, HOSA and CIA.
“I have loved playing soccer but this year I really enjoyed BPA,” he said. “Outside of school I love hanging out with my friends and playing soccer.”
Najib said, if you want to find success you have to push yourself to what you want to do because you will regret it if you don’t.
“Also, care about what you do,” he said. “It will help you in life. Once you start actually caring about something you will see what a difference you are making.”
Although he wishes he had tried harder his freshman year, he has put most of his effort into these last three years.
“I wasn’t really a slacker but I wasn’t trying either,” he said. “I think if you are a current freshman and you are falling behind a little just work hard and get in touch with your teachers more. Once you start working with them they become more open to you.”
“Mrs. Fajardo and Mrs. Philipose have been two important teachers to me. They both care so much about what they do and have really helped me along the way,” Najib said. “Mrs. Philipose specifically just understands me, coming from the same cultural heritage. She gives me advice and actually cares. Mrs. Fajardo I have only had one year with, but it was enough to build a good relationship with her.”
Najib moved to Murphy from Richardson in third grade. He lives with his parents’ Akmam and Rubaiyate and has four siblings; Sabique, Asim, Wafia and Sameeha.
Both Najib and Callahan remembered fondly the win during the High and East football game fall 2014.
“The crowd went nuts,” he said. “Nothing on video could ever show exactly how everyone felt after that moment.”
It is a moment they will both always remember and take with them as they exit the doors of Wylie High in June.
Najib shared that the top six or seven graduating students this year all earned higher GPA’s than the valedictorian had last year.
“We have a very competitive class,” Callahan said. “And everyone wanted to be included in Top 20 day.”
Top 20 Day is an opportunity for the top 20 graduating students to tour Wylie, take pictures at various places, enjoying going out to eat together.
Both Callahan and Najib will share their Valedictorian and Salutatorian with their graduating class June 6 at the Wylie Events Center.
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