May 25, 2018

Tania M. Pliego Torres, 2018 salutatorian, Arsenal Technical High School

Tania M. Pliego Torres, 2018 salutatorian, Arsenal Technical High School.

Tania M. Pliego Torres didn’t know much – if anything — about the honor roll or becoming valedictorian/salutatorian during her elementary and middle school years. The International Baccalaureate school she attended graded on a number, not letter, system and didn’t spend much time on either topic.

Tania also admits she was just as focused on having fun and creating memorable experiences as she was about maintaining good grades.

It wasn’t until she discovered she had straight A’s on her report card during her freshman year at Arsenal Technical High School that her eyes opened to the possibility of earning a top spot in her graduating class.

Tania kept working hard and was told by engineering teacher Joseph Ferguson at the end of her sophomore year that her GPA had landed her squarely in the salutatorian spot.

“Since that day, I made it my goal to keep my grades strong, as well as my GPA, to ensure that the title of salutatorian was going to be officially mine.” she said. “To reach this goal, I studied to reinforce my understanding of the material and made sure that I turned in all of my assignments on time while also balancing extracurricular activities.”

On June 7, Tania will graduate as salutatorian from Arsenal Tech. It’s a title this daughter of immigrant parents, who traveled from Mexico to the United States when her mother was six months pregnant with her, doesn’t take lightly.

“Throughout my journey in the United States, my parents have taught me to work very hard but to also not get caught up in ambitions through money or material possessions,” said Tania.

Salutatorian is also a title that wasn’t easy to maintain, especially since Tania never wavered from making sure that she also had fun in school.

Throughout her four years at Tech, her extracurricular activities have ranged from sports (soccer and tennis) to leadership programs. A lover of the arts — specifically singing and dancing — Tania is a member of the Tech show choir, gospel choir, theater and barbershop quartet.

“I absolutely love theater and show choir. My favorite part about performing is seeing the expressions on the little kids faces and having this ability to tell stories that guide them through challenges and uplift their hearts through imagination,” said Tania.

Her love of the arts is definitely something she wants to keep nurturing during the next phases of her life.

In the fall, Tania will attend Purdue University in West Lafayette, where she will major in brain and behavioral sciences in the distinguished Purdue Honors College. Her career goal is to become a medical professional for children — either a pediatrician or a pediatric neurologist. She’s still trying to decide.

But she also wants to become a vocal arts teacher or a theater director at the high school level “because music has impacted my life in a major way and has helped shape the person that I am today by helping me break out of my shell and become more outgoing,” said Tania. “I believe that music can make a big impact in the life of a child, especially during the sensitive high school years.”