York College Valedictorian Praises College and Faculty

Arlene K. Best, valedictorian of the Class of 2008, came to York College after graduating high school in the Caribbean island of Trinidad. Majoring in Marketing, Best was a member of the York College Honors Program, where she was a research assistant to its director, Psychology Professor, William Ashton.

“I had such great professors,” said Best, a Thurgood Marshall Scholar. “I appreciate the way they made me feel. I do not mean the frustration I felt when I realized that an exam and a project were due on he same day. No. Rather, I refer to that feeling of transcendence and accomplishment when they challenged my mind.”

The valedictorian also makes clear, the importance of a mentor such as hers. “Dr. Ashton was such a great mentor,” said Best. “Because of him I can do anything now. He opened up a lot of opportunities for me.” According to Best, who wrote her thesis on consumer psychology, she has plans to attend graduate school for a master’s degree in business. However, she will work in finance for a year before embarking on those plans.

Growing up in a financially challenged household, Best learned at a young age, the value of sacrifice and hard work, from her mother. “I learned early,” she says, “that cable TV was not something my mother taught I needed. But I learned that the value of education is incalculable. I knew that obtaining a good one would be the way to rise above my circumstances; so I worked to quench my thirst for knowledge, with vigor. I would not allow poverty to define who I am; nor let it limit my ability to succeed. And here I am today.”