Winter, Monterroza tops in NPHS Class of 2018

Winter, Monterroza tops in NPHS Class of 2018

NPHS Class of 2018 valedictorian Victoria Winter, left, and salutatorian Erickson Monterroza.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Though North Providence High School’s Class of 2018 valedictorian does not yet know what her future holds, she says being president one day is not out of the question. Victoria Winter will graduate at the top of her class in June with a 4.36 grade point average, while Salutatorian Erickson Monterroza earned a GPA of 4.357.

Winter will attend Yale University this fall, and has not yet declared a major. While she enjoys computer science, she said she has many interests and wants to cast a wide net. Monterroza will study computer science at Boston University, with hopes of becoming a video game programmer.

Winter, 18, and Monterroza, 17, shuffled among the top three spots in their class, locking in their final places in April.

“I was constantly checking the ranking,” said Winter. “It was a big relief when I found out I was valedictorian.”

In addition to Princeton, Winter was also accepted to Harvard College and was wait-listed at Brown University. She applied to five of six schools as a QuestBridge finalist, and says that her acceptance to Yale was the most rewarding moment of her high school career.

“For the past four years, I knew I wanted to be the valedictorian and get into a top school because I was following in the footsteps of my sister, Michele Winter. She was the valedictorian for the class of 2014 and attended Brown University,” she said. “I am extremely competitive and so I always pitted myself again her high school career and wanted to match if not top her accomplishments. So after working extremely hard I was extremely happy that it had all paid off with an acceptance to Yale.”

Winter looks forward to being freed from focusing on her friendly sibling rivalry when she goes to Yale.

The daughter of Hyn Jung Na is a youth advocate with the North Providence Youth Commission, vice president of community outreach for the DECA program and editor-in-chief of the Cougar Courier newspaper. She is assistant stage manager of the drama club, co-captain of the swim team and captain of mock trial. She also volunteers as a lifeguard and swim instructor for the North Providence Pool and Fitness Center.

Other extracurricular activities Winter took part in include International Club, girls tennis, Model Legislature, Varsity Athletes Against Substance Abuse, Academic Decathlon and Math Club.

Many people joke that one has to give up a social life to be a well-rounded student, said Winter, and in a sense they’re right.

“In the end, though, I did not want to give up a social life either, so the thing I always gave up was sleep,” she said. ‘I pulled lots of all-nighters and would average about three to four hours of sleep beginning in my junior year.”

She has earned a slew of awards and accolades, including the Rhode Island Civic Leadership Award, Quest for Excellence USA Award, QuestBridge College Prep Scholar and Match Finalist, AP Scholar, Excellence in AP/URI Writing 104, Excellence in AP U.S. History and MVP for girls tennis singles. She placed first in principles of finance at DECA and second in speech in the honors division of the Academic Decathlon.

Winter said her best memory of NPHS will be pranking her jokester chemistry teacher Mr. Cicerone last year by filling his office with balloons.

NPHS’s salutatorian Monterroza said he did not strive to rank first or second, but only to please his parents, Lorna and Miguel Monterroza.

“It was a pleasant surprise to me,” he said. “Despite the fact that I was not planning on it, becoming salutatorian was very rewarding, as it shows that the time and effort I invested on my work was not for naught.”

In middle school, he said he was always one letter grade short in a class to make the honor roll, so he did not expect to finish so high. He said he was aiming for straight “A” grades in high school to make up for his middle school grades.

Monterroza said it was his teachers that he will miss the most when he graduates.

“They are so supportive. You can always talk to them, even if you weren’t in class,” he said. “I could not ask for better teachers.”

Monterroza served as an officer for Nerd Herd and entertainment editor for the Cougar Courier. He is a member of the Drama Club, Math Club and the boys tennis team. During his time at NPHS, he earned perfect attendance, was inducted into the National Honor Society and achieved bi-literacy in Italian, according to the Avant Assessment he took.

“They are both extraordinary students, and their success is a tribute to themselves, their family and the teachers they’ve had since they started schooling,” said NPHS Principal Joseph Goho. “Having a valedictorian accepted at both Harvard and Yale is an extraordinary honor and serves as the ultimate proof that NPHS continues to provide a very high standard of educational excellence.”

NPHS honored the entire top 10 of the Class of 2018 last Thursday, May 10, at the school’s first Top 10 Breakfast. With Winter and Monterroza at the helm, other seniors with the highest GPAs this year were Aisha Siddiqui, Jared Rubino, Stephen Grivers, Mohamed Amer, Alexandra Azevedo, Sabrina Melo Goncalo, Mya D’Amico and Emily Palumbo.

Goho said, “the top 10 students at NPHS have worked very hard since kindergarten on academics, athletics and co-curricular activities, culminating with their top ranking in the senior year of high school. We are so proud of their long-term success and thank them for all they have done to enhance our school. We wish them success, health and happiness as they take the next steps in the journey.”

The top ten students in North Providence High School’s Class of 2018 are, from left, Emily Palumbo, Mya D’Amico, Sabrina Melo Goncalo, Alexandra Azevedo, Mohamed Amer, Stephen Grivers, Jared Rubino, Aisha Siddiqui, salutatorian Erickson Monterroza and valedictorian Victoria Winter. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)