May 25, 2018

Tinisha Anisa Eve (Barran) Simpson, 2018 valedictorian, Arlington Community High School

Tinisha Anisa Eve (Barran) Simpson, 2018 valedictorian, Arlington Community High School.

Tinisha Anisa Eve (Barran) Simpson isn’t going to downplay the work it took to become valedictorian of her high school, or the hardships she overcame to reach the top of her class.

The former was part of the game plan.

“I actually did plan to become the valedictorian,” said the 18-year-old Arlington Community High School senior, who will graduate June 7. “This accomplishment was very important to me because I wanted to show my full potential. … Reaching this goal took a lot of long hours reviewing notes and taking every class seriously.” 

The latter, however, was part of life’s circumstances. Some would have buckled under far less, but Tinisha excelled under the pressure.

One of four children, Tinisha had to adjust to a new language and culture after her family’s move from their native Trinidad and Tobago, a small, dual-island Caribbean nation, to Indianapolis. “My mom moved here in hopes of a better life and more opportunities for us,” said Tinisha.

She also endured the divorce of her parents, followed by a stint with homelessness. “When we eventually got a home it was far away, so I walked to school every day. Although I was facing so many obstacles, I still stayed focused on my school work,” said Tinisha.

Academics wasn’t the only area of school that consumed Tinisha’s attention. Determined to be well-rounded, she participated in cheerleading, volleyball and cross-country. She also was a member of student government and the National Honor Society, and served as social awareness officer of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG).

She credits language arts teacher Adam Zoibi with pushing her to be her best self.

“I’ve had many different classes with Mr. Zoibi throughout high school (debate, etymology, English, composition). He is my favorite teacher because he pushed me to do my best, and in all of these courses he helped me become a better writer,” said Tinisha.

Overall, she believes IPS does a great job of pushing each student to have future goals. “Something IPS did to help me was make sure I got a good education. They did this by renovating Arlington into a more helpful environment. For example, we had great teachers and after-school help.” 

This fall, Tinisha will be a biology/pre-med student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Her ultimate goal is to become an anesthesiologist.

Tinisha said what she’s been able to accomplish is attainable for others, but wants current and future IPS students to know that it takes dedication. “Studying is important. You’ll never truly understand the material unless you take that extra time to review the work. Also, it’s very important that you become organized in every class to avoid procrastination,” she said.

Her advice for students is to stay focused and not let adversity throw them off course.

“There are many things that will happen during high school that can be distracting. However, never let it stray you away from your schoolwork, especially your freshman year,” said Tinisha. “It’s important to stay on top of your grades so you don’t have to worry about making up any classes later on.”