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By Jeff Pack
Staff Writer 

Corona named FUHS Valedictorian for 2019-2020 school year


Last updated 4/25/2020 at 12:49am

Emiliano Corona is named valedictorian for the Fallbrook High School 2019-2020 school year. He will attend Stanford University in the fall and plans to major in economics.

In yet another sign of the times, Fallbrook High School principal Narciso Iglesias informed the valedictorian and salutatorian for the 2019-2020 school year that they had earned their statuses in a Google Hangout call with the students and their parents Friday, April 17.

Due to social distancing and stay-at-home orders brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the naming couldn't be done in a traditional way.

That change didn't stop Iglesias from raving about the two students.

"Both these students are super deserving, they are hard-working, studious beyond words and just great, awesome humble human beings," Iglesias said. "I am so proud of them and their families have just been part of every aspect of our community and always 100% supportive."

Emiliano Corona was named valedictorian and Audrey Gillcrist is salutatorian.

"They are tremendous, tremendous scholars. They're our top two for sure," Iglesias said. "In the sense of academics and achievements – I am very proud of them."

The Village News talked with Corona Monday, April 20, after receiving the news. Gillcrist will be featured in a follow-up story in the next edition of the Village News.

When asked what being named valedictorian means to him, he said hard work was the first thing that came to mind.

"Hard work does really pay off," he said. "Trying hard and keeping that determination up helps you in the end."

He said he learned hard work and determination from his parents.

"I think it really comes from my upbringing," Corona said. "My parents were very supportive of me throughout. My grandparents, my entire family were all behind me and they supported all the decisions I made. Especially last year when I took so many AP classes, including this year, they were like, 'If you feel that you can do it, go ahead. If you want to push yourself, we believe in you.'"

Seeing now that his hard work did, in fact, pay off, he said it has inspired him to keep working.

"I'm determined to just keep pushing forward and keep this train rolling through college, through life, through my job," Corona said. "Just keep pushing forward, keep working hard and eventually it will pay off."

Corona said he will attend Stanford University in the fall and plans to major in economics.

"Maybe there will be some good jobs when this is all over," he said, laughing, referring to the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

On that topic, Iglesias said he is working with a graduation committee comprised of parents and staff on how best to handle it.

"Right now, I am getting some insight in regard to possible preferences for graduation," he said. "Of course, we're going to adhere to all U.S., state and county authorities and the recommendations and the recommendations that they provide."

He did not provide a timeline on when a decision would be made, only that they are working to present the best ideas forward for the ceremony.

Corona talked about the very real possibility that there won't be a traditional graduation ceremony this year.

"Seeing all the friends that I've made and all the people that, even though I'm not their friend, I still recognize," he said. "(Possibly) not being able to celebrate something like graduation with them really is bittersweet.

"I feel there's nothing really we can do. It definitely is better for us to stay home and even if they have to push (graduation) back, it makes sense. However, it is unfortunate that we can't have a big ceremony and have our friends and families there. But I feel like as long as we have something in the end, it will be fine."

He said he is thankful for having grown up in Fallbrook.

"I have loved to go through my life here in Fallbrook," Corona said. "Being in such a close community, it's something that not a lot of people get to experience, especially in like something like a big city with thousands of thousands of kids."

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected]


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