WENDELL — Abimael Torres Rivera marked more than one milestone when he earned the valedictorian title for East Wake’s School of Engineering System’s Class of 2013.
Not only did he achieve a personal goal, but he became the first student of Hispanic origin to be named the school’s valedictorian.
“That really made my family proud,” Torres Rivera said. “I didn’t even realize it until (East Wake SES principal) Mr. (Sebastian) Shipp told me I was the first one.” He will deliver part of his valedictory address in Spanish during Tuesday’s graduation ceremony.
For his family, the accolade is nothing short of a miracle.
“My mom gave her testimony at church after the awards night and she told everyone that when she was pregnant with me, she prayed to God to give them a smart child. He listened.”
The N.C. State-bound Rivera earned the top academic honors in his class with a 4.932 grade point average.
The son of Ismael Torres Ruiz and Annette Torres of Zebulon, he plans to study Criminology with a minor in forensic science.
Admittedly influenced by television shows like Criminal Minds and Law & Order SVU, Torres Rivera says he hopes to land a job with the State Bureau of Investigation before eventually working with the FBI where he hopes to work in behavioral sciences.
Torres Rivera’s easy smile belies an intense focus on the things that are important to him.
“I push myself a lot. If I get an assignment, I feel like I’ve got a mission. I’ve got to get it done,” Torres Rivera said.
While the classwork has always been important to him, Torres Rivera has avoided becoming a one-dimensional student. He was an officer in the Interact Club at the school and a member of the Green Club. He was also a member of the Spanish Honor Society, the Beta Club and the National Honor Society. Outside school he serves as the youth praise leader at his church and played drums during Sunday morning services.
Those are just a few more of the reasons Annette Torres can be proud of her son.