Being the Smart Kid

Smart, dedicated, and kind. Those are the three words Josue Ramirez would use to describe himself. Not one to play with his grades, Ramirez has never gotten a B grade or less and has managed to set himself apart academically from other students in a school like A-TECH where it seems like everyone is extremely smart.

It’s not an easy thing to do, being one of a kind academically in A-TECH. Hours spent on homework a night, your fingers getting cramped because you just wrote over 20 pages of notes, making countless Quizlets because they help you and your friends study, getting frustrated because you just can’t seem to figure out this math problem, getting 3 hours of sleep a night for one week straight because the workload is insane. That’s what it takes to be a stand out student at A-TECH.

Ramirez is currently a freshman taking Human Geography, his only AP class, but in his sophomore year, he will quadruple his AP workload by taking four AP classes.

“Some people might call me an overachiever for it, but it’s something I care about. Maybe four AP classes are too much for a sophomore year, but it’s a challenge I am glad to take on,” Ramirez said.

If it’s a challenge he wants, it’s a challenge he’ll get. According to, it is recommended that sophomores take one to three AP classes. They suggest you take one challenging class and two less demanding classes to balance yourself out. Ramirez will be taking on AP World History, Psychology, AP Spanish, and Calculus AB. Each of these classes is extremely rigorous and while some people might think it’s a bit much, Ramirez begs to differ.

“Yeah, this is a personal choice I made. I know my abilities and I believe I can handle four AP classes, sophomore or not. I mean, what really makes me that much different from a senior taking four AP classes? Time management? I have that. The brains for it? Also check. Younger people are just often underestimated,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez is clearly a very motivated student and just like everybody else, he has a driving force; the thing that motivates him to get out of bed and finish his homework even if what he really wants to do is take a nap, the force that makes him stay up all night studying for a test, or the simple will power just get up every morning to go to school when it’s the end of the year and you are simply over it.

“It’s my siblings. They’re probably my biggest motivation. They both graduated top thirty from A-TECH and I definitely feel a pressure to outdo them. Just regular healthy sibling competition. My parents are also definitely a huge driving force. They’re both immigrants from Guatemala and didn’t have the easiest life growing up. They grew up poor and neither of them ever got a formal education. My dad had to drop out in the 3rd grade and my mother had to drop out in the 6th grade, so being given this opportunity to study it would be disrespectful to my parents to not take advantage of it in the fullest, almost like saying everything you worked for doesn’t matter. I just want to make them proud,” Ramirez said.

Family. That’s something that matters to Ramirez. He belongs to a very tight-knit Christian family and has a close relationship with both of his siblings as well as his parents. Being a first generation American and possibly even a first generation high school graduate, Ramirez feels he has to take full advantage of the opportunity his parents didn’t have. His siblings did it, so why can’t he?

However, is he putting too much pressure on himself by taking four AP classes? One of his teachers seem to think so.

“[Sophomores] should take two AP classes at most,” Ramirez’s biology teacher, Danielle Belin, said. “I think [four AP] classes is a lot, however he’s a good student, and he kept his grade up in my class while taking Human Geography.”

A big question is probably: how does all this workload affect his social life? It does seem like there are many faces to Ramirez because he shows different sides of himself to different friends.

“I never hang out with Ramirez. I don’t offer a hangout session regularly, but when I do there’s always an excuse for why he can’t go. Probably school work or something,” a friend of Ramirez, Amaraini Reyes, said. “I mean, I care about my grades as much as the next kid, but I still make out time to hang out with friends.”

Although it seems some of his friends don’t see Ramirez very much, that’s not always the case.

“I love Josue,” a friend of Ramirez, Devynn Dunn-High, said. “He’s kinda mean, not gonna lie, but it’s in a funny way, not a rude way. Besides, he always helps with my homework and things of that nature. He’s a great guy. 10/10 would recommend.”

So Ramirez’s found somewhat of a balance between his school life, home life, and social life. He has found some time to do things he personally enjoys.

“I have a lot of free time on the weekends actually. My parents are quite strict, so I’m not allowed to go out a lot, but I do things I enjoy. I mean, I’m not a robot, I can’t work 24/7. My weekends are usually only ever packed when I have a major test the next week. I also try to keep frequent contact with my friends over text during the weekends,” Ramirez said.

With all the family reasons why Ramirez strives to be the best, he still has his own personal dream and ambitions.

“I’m not 100 percent sure what I wanna be, but I think I might pursue engineering. I mean, it’s my program area right now and I enjoy it, so it’s a serious consideration. I have three colleges in mind that I wanna go [to]: Stanford, UC Berkeley, or UNR. It kinda goes in that order; if one college doesn’t work out, I’ll just default to the other. I honestly can’t wait til the day I graduate. The smiles on my parents’ faces and the satisfaction I’ll feel knowing I finally made it [and] all that work has finally paid off [will make it worth it],” Ramirez concluded.