May 25, 2018
Jennifer R. Argumedo, 2018 valedictorian, Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities.
Jennifer R. Argumedo carried a lot on her shoulders as a 5-year-old. At an age when most girls are just learning to read, she did most of the reading and speaking for her family.
She recalls translating complicated calls from doctors and finding her own help for homework questions. Instead of looking to her parents for answers, Jennifer says she was the “designated source of knowledge” in her household. Her parents moved from Mexico about a year before she was born. Their English and education were limited.
Looking back, Jennifer wishes her teachers were more understanding of the challenges she faced. “Instead of providing me with motivation, reassurance and the supplementary help I needed, they complained that I expected to be ‘spoon-fed.’”
But that changed during Jennifer’s freshman year at Broad Ripple, thanks to a teacher who helped her begin realizing her full potential. “This teacher would pull me aside and encourage me to participate in class,” she recalls. “She told me that what I had to say was insightful and important. That’s the first time I was told that by a teacher.”
Despite these challenges, Jennifer will graduate as valedictorian of her class at Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities on June 7. “I have established a bountiful educational career by being persistent, assertive, and by pursuing the necessary help,” she said.
She’ll also graduate knowing she has paved an easier path for future Latinos facing similar challenges. With the help of her principal, she founded a Latino Inclusivity Team, which she hopes will be implemented in other IPS schools.
“I recruited students, gave presentations to teachers and staff, and distributed resources,” she said. “Basically, I tried to help teachers better help their Latino students.”
Jennifer has always aspired to be valedictorian. “Despite my parents’ limited education, school was always a priority in my household, which fueled my academic endeavors from a young age.”
Jennifer is president of her school’s National Honor Society chapter, vice-president of Student Council, and captain of her delegation to the 2018 Tufts University EPIIC Symposium (Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship). She said participation in the EPIIC program helped her recognize the importance and practice of time management, intensive study, research, and independent and communal work. It also provided her with an important mentor.
“I have become well-acquainted with (Broad Ripple Parent Involvement Educator) Mrs. Lou Debruicker’s desire to help students realize both their academic and personal goals.”
This summer, Jennifer will begin college at Indiana University, where she plans to major in international studies. “With a degree in international studies, international business and Spanish, I retain a vision of earning corporate leadership in an international humanitarian organization.”
Jennifer wishes she had recognized her potential earlier in her educational career. “I wish I knew that being assertive did not devalue my ability to be reserved, but rather fortified my aspirations. I wish I knew that late nights and canceling plans would be worth it.”
Stepping onto the stage as valedictorian, she certainly will prove that it was. “The title is great on its own, but the fact that it is the last graduating class at Broad Ripple High School makes this honor even more meaningful.”