Local high school valedictorians share their dreams as they walk past graduation

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As the best of the best in the class of 2017 march past graduation, they have the power to shape our future.

ABC11 Together highlights the strength of human spirit, good deeds, community needs, and how our viewers can help.
The Triangle attracts some of the best and brightest minds from all over the nation, and a lot of that talent is homegrown, that's why ABC11 Together is putting together a project to celebrate the brightest young minds in the Class of 2017.

The project is called "Best In Class," and 50 high school valedictorians from around the viewing area lined-up at the North Carolina Museum of Art to share their hopes and dreams for the future with our cameras.

With GPA's like 5.0, 5.25 and 5.39, it's no wonder they're at the top of their class.

As the best of the best in the class of 2017 march past graduation, they have the power to shape our future.

"I plan on going to NC State for biomedical engineering," said Andrew Bond, valedictorian at Clayton High School.

"I hope to connect theater to mathematics in order to teach children mathematics," said Kristen Gilyard, who was top of her class at Broughton High School.

"The reason I have a drive is I want to achieve my dreams," said Robert Lachapelle, valedictorian at Hobgood Academy.

Some of those dreams are very personal.

"I didn't really settle on to biomedical engineering until last year after my brother was hit by a car," said Abigail Nacional, valedictorian at Heritage High School. "And so both of my brothers are autistic, and I've always been curious about the causes behind and like if I cure can be discovered."

As our cameras captured the moment, parents beamed with pride.

"Her sister graduated two weeks ago from medical school and they will both be attending Harvard," said Kristen Gilyard's mother, Pamela Gilyard.

"There's definitely a little bit of competition between me and my older siblings," Kristen said.

Now, as they prepare to embark on a new journey, some parents have a word of advice.

"Keep grounded," said Abigail Nacional's father, Anthony Nacional. "Always remember what your parents have taught you, your values at home."

"I'm always here, and it's always a great thing to call mom," Pamela Gilyard said.

You can expect to hear a little bit more about each of these 50 valedictorians on air and online, under the ABC11 Together tab, starting June 19 as we celebrate graduation season through mid-July.
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educationabc11 togethergraduationhigh schoolRaleigh
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