Say Hello to Ms. Beyonka Marshall. She is our new Vice Principal who, amongst other responsibilities will assist students with last names beginning with O thru Z. Ms. Marshal is a Vallejo High School alumni who graduated in 2000 after a storied academic and sports career at VHS. We asked Ms. Marshall to tell us about her return to Vallejo as a Vice Principal.
How excited are you to come to Vallejo High School?
* I am extremely excited! I am a Vallejoan through and through and this is very much a full circle for me. I am excited about being able to work with the students and families of the Vallejo community!
What differences can you see in students today, compared to twenty years ago? Positive and challenging.
*Positive: The students of today are very bold in who they are. Twenty years ago, it was kind of taboo to identify as anything outside of “the norm” or what was popular. For example, It was very much “hush-hush” if a student was a part of the LGBTQA+ community. In 2022, Students don’t think twice about it. I admire students of today not only for being so bold but also for being so accepting of each other.
*Challenging: Vallejo High students 20 years ago had tons of school spirit!! It was very rare for Friday night Football or Basketball games, track meets, tennis matches, etc to be empty of students cheering and representing Vallejo High. Sporting events were packed with not only students and parents but community members as well. 20 years ago the Vallejo v. Hogan football game was our Superbowl!! We had pride in our high school, we were a big family, and we were not afraid to represent! I think that is what’s missing for our students…a sense of pride.
What kind of student were you at VHS?
*I was a good student! I was friendly with everyone! You could always catch me laughing. I had friends of all kinds of backgrounds and ethnicities. I was in the Business Academy, I was involved in the Black Student Union, and I was also in the Willie B. Adkins program. I was a student-athlete and my sport was Track and Field (my name and likeness are located in two (2) spots on campus). I worked hard to get good grades and score well on the SAT because I knew I wanted to go straight into a 4-year college or university. I had great relationships with all of my teachers and school staff and really felt supported by them.
Ever get into trouble?
*LOL yes! I only got into trouble once and that was my 10th-grade year in Mr. Moreno’s Art class. I wasn’t horrible but I had an argument with another student during class. Mr. Moreno asked me to step out of the class to calm down and I mouthed off to him. He called my mother from the classroom in front of everyone!
Are there any teachers here that you had classes with between 1997-2000?
Yes! Mr. Moreno was my Art Teacher my 10th-grade year. That was the 97-98 school year.
* None I can really recall right now…I’m sure I have some though!
What was it like when you graduated? Did you have a plan?
*When I graduated just about everyone in my graduating class had a plan (or at least it felt like they did). I recall a lot of us sharing our SAT scores and helping each other fill out college applications and write entrance essays…we were determined! I knew I wanted to go to college and run track and so I was laser-focused my Senior year.
My graduation ceremony was all a big blur. I don’t remember much (I cried through most of the ceremony) but the fact that I was entering the real world and moving on to college was really overwhelming for me. After graduation, we all gathered in the quad with our families for pictures and I remember various branches of the armed services being there with oversized copies of signing bonus checks for students who enlisted. Graduation day was a great day!
What advice can you give students now about your experiences?
* High school is only 4 years so make the most of it! Have a plan! Or at least have somewhat of a plan! Remember your plans can change so be flexible! Utilize your counselors…they are here to help and guide you! If you need help on navigating the CSU/UC/HBCU college application, Trade School application, or even a Job/Career application, reach out to your teachers and staff. They have a wealth of knowledge so pick their brains. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself…Your future is Yours!