Last week, more than 700 Marana and Mountain View students started a new chapter in their lives.

The Marana High School senior class’ motto is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” For class valedictorian Richard Rigby, he set the path early in life and while he laid his own trails, he also stayed true to his path.

“It’s really a huge honor to be able to represent my class as valedictorian,” Rigby said. “It was an ambitious goal I set for myself as a child, and actually achieving it was very satisfying for me, although I know I can’t take any of the credit for my academic success. That falls on my family for supporting me since day one. I never would have gotten close without them.”

Rigby got it done in the classroom, but his quest to be valedictorian was not lost on others and it meant that his fellow students could occasionally give him a hard time.

Rigby said being the academic leader means he is called out for making a mistake or asking a question in class.

Both Rigby and salutatorian McKay Boyack are members of the Church of Later Day Saints and both will attend a school in the Brigham Young University system. Rigby will attend the Provo, Utah campus, but not before going on a two-year mission. Boyack will attend BYU-Idaho.

The two smartest of Marana’s Class of 2014 also competed in Academic Decathlon together and were members of the National Honor


Rigby was also an athlete. He spent four years on the tennis team, being named captain and being the team’s No. 1 player. He was also on the cross country squad and even co-founded the ping-pong club.

Mountain View also had athletes take the top two spots for academic success, John Reynolds is the class valedictorian, and the salutatorian is Samantha Werts.

Reynolds was a two-sport standout for the Mountain View, playing both football and wrestling. Reynolds was a four-year letter winner in wrestling and twice placed in the top-five in the state as a heavyweight.

Reynolds also participated in the Global Bowl in Spain this spring.

Reynolds will attend the United States Military Academy where he plans to study mathematics and plans a career in the Army.

“Everything I do in college is designed towards being the best leader of character that I can be in order to successfully lead a battalion of troops after I graduate,” Reynolds said. “This is not limited to the classroom either; I will undergo basic training, and during the school year I will have to focus on physical and military aspects of my character in addition to the academic aspects.”

Werts played on the Mountain Lions’ tennis team, also serving as a team captain. She also organized several fitness events and coordinated a dodge ball tournament. She has been very active in school, but has also found time away from school to volunteer with the Drexel Heights Fire Department and in a few different research projects, which should be good experience as she ultimately wants to be a global health doctor.

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