Atascadero High School senior Jonathan Dolan is known as a fierce competitor on the Greyhounds cross country and track and field teams and is no slouch in the classroom either.

Dolan earned the top honor in the class — valedictorian — by finishing with a lofty cumulative 4.56 grade point average.

He was recognized when Atascadero High School celebrated its graduates on Wednesday, June 10, via a drive-by-parade-style ceremony. Each student received their diploma in front of the city’s most iconic structure, the Rotunda. More than 350 students made their way around the Sunken Gardens, including graduates from Paloma Creek and ACE.

While many valedictorians address their classmates during the graduation ceremony in a speech, Dolan left the honor to the class Salutatorian Anneline Breytenbach.

For a student to earn a GPA of over 4.0, they must not only take advanced placement classes but also excel in them. A.P. classes are created to test above-average students through critical thinking, prepare them for college, and, at times, provide a substantial workload, which is why Dolan chose two of them as his hardest classes at AHS.

“I took A.P. Physics, which was pretty hard in terms of concept, but in terms of the total work I did, A.P. Environmental Science was a lot,” Dolan said.

The now-former Greyhound is officially a Bear as he is attending the University of California at Berkeley this fall and will major in Civil Engineering. The wiry and sometimes shy senior applied to several of the top schools in the nation, including the top universities in California, and made it into nearly all of them.

“Berkeley was definitely up there as one of my favorite choices,” Dolan told The Atascadero News. “I also applied to Harvard, Stanford, UCLA and Cal Poly. I didn’t make it into Stanford or Harvard, but I did make it into Berkeley, UCLA and some other local schools, but Berkeley was pretty high up there on the list.”

While studying Civil Engineering, Dolan will join the UC Berkeley triathlon club as he is among the top young athletes in the country. This past November, Dolan made a trip to Florida and came home a national champion. The 17-year-old won the Aquathlon National Championship, which featured a 1,000-meter swim followed by a 5-kilometer run.

“It is one of the more established club programs,” Dolan said.

As for his ultimate future, Dolan is still unsure but is looking forward to the opportunities in front of him.

“I am just hoping that I can design some roads and bridges and stuff,” he said. “I don’t really know what I’ll be, but there are a lot of great opportunities, and I am psyched to find out what I am able to do.”

Getting through this together, Atascadero