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Class of 2017: A look at Davidson's rising stars

The valedictorian Rupa Palanki is big on scientific research. The 18-year-old has a provisional patent on a pyroelectric energy harvesting device. (WPMI)

Hundreds of students are walking across the stage this week in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

Wednesday 299 students at Davidson High received diplomas. There are plenty of rising stars among Davidson's class of 2017.

The valedictorian Rupa Palanki is big on scientific research. The 18-year-old has a provisional patent on a pyroelectric energy harvesting device.

"I wanted to see if there could be a device that would harness changes in temperature and wind and see how that could be used to generate power," Palanki said.

She developed it at USA's College of Engineering. She says her interest in the science world started in the 6th grade.

"I've always really been interested in energy and application in the energy field because it's such a pressing issue in our society today and especially as we move into the future," she said.

In 2007 Clariy Kengengy and his family moved from war-torn Tanzania, a country in Africa to the U.S. He faced a few obstacles when he first arrived.

"I only knew how to say hey," he said. He says learning English took some time.

"It was kind of hard knowing five languages as a kid and then trying to learn another one," Kengengy said.

While learning, he stuck to what he knew, soccer and that helped him become one of the top athletes in the state. Kengengy says he's excited about his future.

"I'm really excited," he said. "This is the first step of life in my opinion."

Palanki is going to the University of Pennsylvania and Kengengy is going to William Carey University for business.

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