Valedictorian transcended middle school experience and rose straight to the top

Kaycee Salguiero was the odd girl out who was made fun of in middle school. “I was overweight; I liked to read comic books, and I wasn’t very girly,” she said. The put downs started to follow her into high school, and one day when she was feeling hopeless, she confided in her grandmother. She told me, “You are so much greater than you think you are.”

Kaycee decided to believe it. “My outlook changed,” she said. Instead of trying to make friends with the teens who tormented her, she put her energy into her schoolwork. It paid off big, and in the friend department, too.

On June 1st she graduated as valedictorian from the Electronics/Robotics Program at Whittier Tech where she was a captain on the school’s Robotics Team. Kaycee earned a 4.29 GPA in all honors classes and has enrolled at Wentworth Institute of Technology where she will pursue a degree in electrical engineering.

“I started to make school my priority and zoned the harassment out and once they realized it didn’t bother me, it stopped,” she said. “I started to make real friends and now I am surrounded by them. I can’t find enough chairs at the table.”

She joined Whittier’s SkillsUSA Team, was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society, and worked at the Information Technology Help Desk at Whittier, a prized co-op job that had her trouble shooting issues with Macbooks and iPads used by students and teachers.

The daughter of Jennifer Curtin and Helder Salgueiro of Methuen, Kaycee is a first generation college student. She went home crying tears of joy after she received the news from the director of guidance that she had finished tops in the Class of 2017.

“This has been a dream of mine since eighth grade but I wasn’t sure it would happen,” she said. “For a long time, I really struggled with who I am. I had to tell myself you are beautiful no matter what. It was hard for me to realize that.”

She has been ranked first in her class since her freshman year, and was awarded the Outstanding Vocational Technical Student in April from the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators and the Massachusetts Vocational Association.

“To receive that was surprising,” she said. “I thought I was just a regular student who worked hard.”