This month, thousands of students hit a major milestone as they donned their caps and gowns and received their diplomas. And from East Contra Costa high school campuses, a few have risen to the top. This year's valedictorians are:

Antioch High: Anahita Mehrabi earned the highest GPA -- 4.46 -- while taking the most rigorous course of study. She will attend UC Berkeley and pursue a career as a medical doctor. She was born in Iran, moved to Antioch as an elementary student and learned English as a second language.

"She is a wonderful representative of our diverse student body," said Principal Louie Rocha.

"She truly blossomed from her public education in the AUSD."

Deer Valley: There are two, thanks to a tie "as calculated out to the ninth decimal point," said Principal Ken Gardner of the 4.452380952 GPA for both. Vipul Kashyap will attend UCLA, and has been the treasurer of Future Business Leaders of America and involved with ACE Academy. Mariam Issa will attend UC San Diego, and has been treasurer of the CSF and a member of several sports teams, including captain of varsity soccer.

Dozier-Libbey (Antioch): Johan Kim has a cumulative grade-point average of 4.286, and plans to attend UC Berkeley in the fall to pursue his dream of becoming a neurosurgeon.

Johan has served as an academic coach and writing tutor for two years, and is currently a senior class officer.


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"On campus, Johan has challenged himself by taking every AP and honors course offered at Dozier-Libbey," said Principal Nancie Castro.

Freedom High (Oakley): Kaela Noble earned a 4.27 GPA, and has taken eight Advanced Placement classes over the past three years, never earning less than an A in any class. She'll attend Cornell University and study biology or neuroscience, with a goal of attending medical school. She has received many accolades, including NHS scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Commendation. "She has (also) volunteered many hours at school helping teachers and being a tutor," said Principal Erik Faulkner.

Heritage High (Brentwood): Landy Gu has a GPA of 4.35 and will attend UC San Diego. An accomplished mathematician and critical thinker, Gu is focused on solving problems to "make this world a better place," said Principal Larry Oshodi.

"I am convinced he will be very successful in that quest as he goes on to college to pursue a career in biomedical engineering.

"We are very proud of his accomplishments."

Liberty High (Brentwood): Dustin Schuette has taken the most rigorous course of study, including 10 Advanced Placement classes.

He ranks No. 1 in his class with a 4.37 GPA. Dustin plans to study engineering at University of the Pacific. "Dustin is an intelligent, articulate and thoughtful student," said Principal Pat Walsh.

Pittsburg High: Amiel Stephen Piano Paz has a 4.86 GPA and will attend Stanford to pursue a career in the biomedical or engineering fields.

When Amiel was 4 years old, his family immigrated to the United States.

His mother gave up her career as a doctor in the Philippines to give him a better educational opportunity. "

Amiel realized he had to strive for good grades to have a better future. This determination has led him to be the current valedictorian," said counselor Jasreen K. Jawanda.