Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) celebrated the graduating class of 2021 with an in-person send off and honored its students who had shown excellence in their academic studies.

While DUSD moved away from the titles of “valedictorian” and “salutatorian” six years ago, the district offers the title of Gael Scholar.

“Anyone who has a 4.0 GPA has the distinction of being a Gael Scholar,” said Dublin High School (DHS) Principal Maureen Byrne. “We feel that anyone receiving a 4.0 or above has already gone above and beyond, and we wanted a way to honor them. The Gael Scholar distinction does that.”

Byrne said approximately 100 students qualify as Gael Scholars each year, with several competing to give the Gael Scholar Speech at graduation. She noted the pool this year was exceptional, with students who have exceeded in rigorous classes while isolated at home during a worldwide pandemic.

This year’s Gael Scholar speech was given by Rebecca Yee, 18, of Dublin. Earlier this year, she submitted a video to the panel, which selected her for the honor and said she enjoyed the experience. Her goal during high school was to broaden her knowledge and experience.

“I think a lot of my motivation to take a lot of these advanced classes was to get ahead in academics and to hone in on my abilities, and to prepare myself for college and be able to handle stress and balance,” said Yee. “I just wanted to learn more about different subjects.”

Yee said she enjoyed her time at Dublin High and appreciated the support she received from teachers and administrators alike. She will attend California Polytechnic State University in the fall and hopes to apply to veterinary school after graduating.

“I’m interested in anything along the way pertaining to animals, but that’s the path I’m planning right now,” said Yee. My passion has always been with animals, which is ironic, because I was never allowed to have dogs or cats growing up . . . but the veterinary pathway is something I’ve always known I wanted to do.”

During her time in high school, Yee was part of the California Scholarship Federation, the Blood Drive Club and Spanish Honors Society. She enjoys reading, roller skating and journaling.

The DHS senior class president also gives a speech at graduation, and this year the class president was Dilsher Singh, 17. Dilsher also held the honor of Gael Scholar. He said his emphasis during high school was on the biomedical field, and he joined the school’s biomedical academy his sophomore year to focus on his studies.

“I either wanted to go into the culinary academy or the biomedical academy, and I decided STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) was a better fit for me,” said Dilsher. “My motivation was the satisfaction that I was growing as a person . . . I wanted to join the biomedical academy so I could help others and do more for other people.”

Dilsher will attend UC Berkley in the fall and plans to study biology. He said one of the school’s attractions is the biology and business double major program, where he can add business and economics to his scientific studies. He plans to attend medical school and become a family care specialist.

“I feel like family care is good for me,” said Dilsher. “I don’t only want to work with adults or only kids. I want to work with a variety of ages, and I think family care will suit me. I want to build relationships and work with patients over the long term.”

During the past four years, Dilsher was part of the Sikh Honors and Service Society, a club focused on helping others, feeding the homeless and practicing selfless care. He was also part of the track and field team, competing in shotput and discus.

Byrne said she is excited to see the big things these students move onto in the future.

“Rebecca is a wonderful student,” said Byrne. “She is involved in our Biomedical Academy and has excelled as a student and individual. Dilsher was new to student government this year and did a phenomenal job promoting class unity and spirit.”