With their common love of mathematics, the numbers 4.7 and 5.0 describe both students. Those numbers represent their 4.7 overall grade-point average — 5.0 during their senior years.
Tied for valedictorian honors, the two are also like brothers, definitely close friends.
Corten Singer and Sabahudin Redzepovic shared much else in common during a recent conversation on the PLHS campus. They chose a favorite place to talk: the European history classroom of Glenn Richard, a favorite teacher of both young men.
Both honorees were what one might expect of such highly talented youth: extroverted, smiling, talkative, polite and eager to share their experiences and talk about their futures with a constant twinkle in their eyes.
Following graduation, however, the two will be taking different paths.
“I’m heading up north a bit to UC Berkeley,” said Singer. “I visited last spring and am really excited to be going there. It’s a great campus.”
Singer said he plans to major in engineering, “most likely mechanical.”
Blessed with multiple college acceptances, Singer revealed one Berkeley advantage.
“I can still surf there,” said the current co-captain of the PLHS surf team, who cited math and the sciences as his strengths.
“I chose the University of Chicago because of its prestige and what it has to offer,” said Redzepovic. “I’m planning on majoring in economics, and it is tied with three other schools for the best economic programs in the entire nation. Political science and math are my passions.”
Redzepovic noted he is taking three math classes this year.
Outside of school, Redzepovic has worked in his family’s food business since the eighth grade. He has also played on the Pointers’ tennis team for three years, although he acknowledges “when I first started, I didn’t even know how to hold the racquet correctly.”
Now a team co-captain, he credits coach Mark Truver with believing Redzepovic had potential.
Both also took distinctly different paths to the Point Loma cluster of schools.
Singer and his parents, Giron Singer and Christene Gage, have lived in Ocean Beach since he was seven.
“I started elementary school at Kate Sessions (elementary) in Pacific Beach,” Singer said, noting “my mom was a second-grade teacher there and we were living in La Jolla at the time. I stayed at Kate Sessions until fourth grade, but come fifth grade, Dana was only a few blocks away.”
Singer has a sister (PLHS class of 2009) who is studying abroad in Spain as a student at UC Santa Barbara.
Redzepovic’s parents are Arslan and Vahida.
His story is far different. Redzepovic was born in Olm, Germany after his family left Sarajevo, Bosnia. Neither of his parents completed high school. Their route to San Diego took them through Louisville, Ky.
“We had a store in Point Loma, and there was five of us living in an office above it,” he said.
He entered Dewey Elementary School as a second-grader and continued through the cluster. He has an older sister (PLHS class of 2005) and a brother (PLHS class of 2007).
Singer and Redzepovic met at sixth-graders at Dana, where they were in seminar classes together and became “friendly competitors.”
Each estimated they spent three hours a night on homework throughout their high school years, with increasingly intense assignments.
Asked to list memorable teachers, Singer mentioned Lisa Graham (chemistry) and Cynthia Hedges (his English teacher all four years).
Redzepovic also named Hedges, Carl Luna (political science, whom he said helped shape his goals), and math teachers Ian Law (“a math guru”) and Brian Macky, who “both helped me all four years.”
Redzepovic recited a family message he heard often as a child.
“I was always told not to just try my best, but to be the best,” he said.
It appears Redzepovic and Singer have done just that.