Olivia Arce

At the beginning of the year, Olivia Arce was determined to finish as one of the top students in her senior class, because if she didn’t, all of her hard work the past four years was “for nothing.”

“I took a lot of college courses and worked hard to make sure I kept my grades up to what they needed to be,” Olivia said. “I would have been very sad if (my grades) went down. I focused on school and my grades my entire life.”

Olivia’s hard work paid off when she found out she is this year’s Santa Gertrudis Academy High School salutatorian.

She attended elementary school in Riviera while her parents, Rosendo and Susana Arce, were teachers in the district.

In the sixth grade, however, Olivia began attending school in the Santa Gertrudis Independent School District, which was closer to her home in Kingsville.

In her four years at Santa Gertrudis Academy High School, Olivia was very involved in a number of activities including National Honor Society, Key Club International and was a drum major for the Mighty Lion Marching Band in her final two years.

Olivia said she has enjoyed her high school experience, although she said it might have been a bit quiet for the first few years.

However, this year she attended the homecoming dance and had some of the most fun she had ever had.

“It was just really fun to be out with my friends that night,” Olivia said. “It was so much fun that I was already looking forward to prom after.”

However, the COVID-19 pandemic closed school activities, which put an end to her plans on attending the prom and experiencing other group events at the end of her final year in high school.

Despite that, Olivia said she enjoyed the great, albeit short, year.

“Well, if you compare it to all the other year’s in my life, I would say that this year was probably the best,” she said. 

Olivia plans to attend Texas A&M University-Kingsville in the fall, but she is still uncertain of what her field of study will be.

She knows, however, that she will be able to make a decision soon, given her options.

Olivia said if she had any advice for incoming freshman about the high school experience, it would be to enjoy it, but to remember that all things are earned, not given.

“If you want something, don’t be afraid to go and get it because life wont be handed to you,” she said. “You have to make the things that you want to happen, happen.”

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