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Alison Watson



NVUSD fosters safe and rigorous learning environments for all students – including those with exceptional knowledge and skills. Alison Watson, a Canyon Oaks Elementary alumna and one of New Tech High School’s 2022 valedictorians is one such student. 

Reflecting on his experience with Alison, Jon Southam, a New Tech math teacher, described how she started freshman year in Math 3 (most students start in Math 1) “Alison would ask me questions about our work in class that made me question my own thinking,” recalls Mr. Southam. “That's a good thing, as all of us educators know. Alison has a mind that I haven't seen in a student before and I'm excited to see what she does next."


In Alison’s graduation speech she listed a series of memorable experiences in which she was challenged through inquiry. Among these was “the Trial Project” in which world history teacher Andrew Biggs held “verbal sparring matches” to put Enlightenment Era historical figures on trial for crimes against humanity.  She also recalled the “awesome projects” of senior year including “engineering mind controlled cybernetic limbs, and prototyping satellites for national design competitions.”

Thinking of Alison and the satellite competition, Angelene Warnock, New Tech chemistry, Maker Space and leadership teacher said, “She is curious, hardworking, and always willing to jump into a new adventure. Case in point: I found an opportunity for my students to work with mentors from MIT to design a prototype microsatellite and program it to detect small scale plastics polluting the ocean. At the time, we knew next to nothing about the topic.” According to Ms. Warnock, when she brought the opportunity before the class, Alison said, "I have no idea, but that sounds interesting. I bet we can figure it out!" 

“And we did, '' said Ms. Warnock.“We taught ourselves about satellites, power and imaging systems, orbital mechanics, and the programming language, Python.”

Reflecting on these opportunities and experiences Alison said, “NVUSD has provided me with invaluable life experiences, such as the chance to apply for college, take hard classes in a safe environment, and allowed me to meet such great role models as my teachers.”


One of Alison’s great role models, New Tech English teacher SuzAnne Regalia, observed that “Alison has jumped into the universe with wide-eyed wonder, eager not only to see everything but to understand it in a deep and meaningful way.” 

No doubt, Alison will jump with that same wide-eyed wonder into her studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. It is not hard to draw lines between the experiences she has had as an NVUSD student and her plans to major in math and get more involved in the computer sciences.

Alison Watson delivers her Valedictorian speech at Memorial Stadium

Alison Watson delivers her Valedictorian speech at Memorial Stadium. Watch all of the great speeches in our livestream archive on our YouTube Channel.

  • New Technology High School