York College Valedictorian Praises College and Faculty

June 9, 2008 | York College

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.”