NRHS valedictorian, salutatorian coupled together at graduation

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 13, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Ever since they started dating in eighth grade, Gabby Ferraioli and Ryan Richardson have been nearly inseparable.

At Nansemond River High School, both joined the Key Club and were tapped for membership in BETA Club. They volunteered together at the Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless and Nansemond Parkway Elementary School.


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He came to cheer her on at the soccer fields, and she was always in the stands when he played football and baseball.

Early last month, the couple found that they’d finish their Warrior academic careers together.

Ferraioli’s grade point average of 4.43 won her the valedictorian honor, while Richardson barely lagged pulled up with a 4.32 – good enough for the salutatorian’s seat.

&uot;We both made straight A’s up until our junior year,&uot; Richardson said. &uot;Then I got a B in English and she didn’t. I just made good enough grades to stay ahead of third place. The competition’s probably the only reason I stayed in second, to keep up with her.&uot;

To push their GPAs past 4.0, both took several honor and advanced placement English classes.

&uot;I almost felt like breathing a sigh of relief,&uot; said Ferraioli, who along with Richardson and the rest of the 20 top Warrior students found out her class rank at a School Board meeting in May. &uot;I’d worked really hard, and it had been pretty stressful. I was glad that it was over.&uot;

Balancing athletics and academics had taken its toll on the Lady Warrior.

&uot;Time management was a big thing for me,&uot; Ferraioli. &uot;Ryan can listen to things once and remember them, but I’m a visual person; I have to have a picture of something to remember it.&uot;

She and Richardson will continue their educations together this fall – they’ll be living in the same dorm at Virginia Tech. He hopes to major in mechanical engineering; she’s still not sure what she’ll study.

&uot;I like to take stuff apart and put them back together, and I love cars,&uot; Richardson said. &uot;I may try to get my masters in automotive engineering.&uot;

Ferraioli said she is leading toward some sort of science career.

&uot;I’m not really interested in English, math or history, so there isn’t much left!&uot;

Nansemond River’s graduation will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the school. Tickets are required for the event.