Students Graduating Top of Class Credit Success to Their Testimonies

Marana High Graduates
Left: Richard Rigby, Valedictorian; Right: McKay Boyack, Salutatorian. Images via

Each year, Marana High School in Arizona honors the top graduates with a breakfast. This year, 6 of the top 10 students in attendance at this breakfast were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including both the valedictorian and the salutatorian.

Richard Rigby, valedictorian, and McKay Boyack, salutatorian, both agree that they can’t claim all the credit for their success. Rigby told Arizona Mormon News:

“I can’t take a lot of credit…[All of my achievements] are due to my family and how I was raised.”

Arizona Mormon News reports that Rigby was born in Hong Kong and lived there until his parents divorced when he was three years old. At that point, he and his older sister went to live with his mother, while Rigby’s older brother stayed with his father. Rigby concludes that the divorce greatly impacted his life, as did being raised by his mother and grandmother.

Rigby’s mother, due to illness, was unable to care fully for him and his sister. Seeing this, Rigby’s grandmother took all three of them in. She began signing Rigby up for various extracurricular activities which, according to Rigby, had a great impact on his academic success. Arizona Mormon News lists some of his extracurricular activities:

  • being a member of the cross country team all four years of high school (lettered on the varsity squad for two years, president of the team for a year)
  • being a member of the tennis team (four years on varsity, number-one player for two years, and won the Coach’s Team Leader Award twice)
  • being the co-founder and vice president of the school’s ping pong club.
  • serving on the Prom committee
  • participated in Key Club all four years (an organization that teaches leadership skills and community service)

Above all of these activities and experiences, Rigby says his testimony, Church participation, and seminary class were invaluable to his academic success.

“My testimony of Jesus Christ has definitely helped me. I wouldn’t be valedictorian if I hadn’t been raised Mormon. The Lord has helped me so much.”

Rigby has received a scholarship to Brigham Young University, and will begin his college education after he returns home from his two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Boyack was also involved in various after school activities where she was:

  • a 4-year member of Key Club

  • a 2-year member of Mu Alpha Theta (an honor society for mathematics)

  • a member of National Honor Society

  • a part-time employee at a local library

Boyack, along with Rigby, says she never could have succeeded without the gospel of Jesus Christ. Arizona Mormon News reports Boyack saying:

“My testimony of Jesus Christ has affected my ability to achieve this and other honors. Without it, I wouldn’t have as strong a work ethic as I have, because a lot of my work ethic is ingrained with my testimony.  Prayer has helped me with important tests, comforting me when I know that I’ve studied all I can and just relying on the Lord to help me get through school and the rough patches.”

Boyack has decided to attend Brigham Young University-Idaho in the fall, studying Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. Boyack had the opportunity to speak at both her high school graduation and her seminary graduation, noting that she believes seminary to be an invaluable source she will draw upon many times in the future:

“Those qualities that I’ve learned in seminary, both spiritually and socially, will impact me the rest of my life, I think.”

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Kylie is a writer at and graduate of BYU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She grew up in a Chicago suburb where she gained a passion for the Chicago Cubs. She enjoys writing and live event video production.