Pahokee Valedictorian Hopes to Start His Own Company

Fabian Machaen, Pahokee High School’s valedictorian, moved around a lot in his early years of school, and that helped him focus on academics.

Born in San Diego, Machaen went to school in Tijuana, Mexico, and Huntington Park, California.

“I spent up to sixth grade between California and Mexico and moved to Pahokee in seventh grade. Moving around, I learned to focus on school more than on friends, until I settled down here,” Machaen said.

Machaen moved to Pahokee with his family when his stepfather found a job in the sugar industry at Florida Crystals Corp. His mother is a stay-at-home mom. He has an older brother, an older sister and a sister who is 3.

He credits his mother, Fabiola Arrendondo, stepdad, Guillermo Magana, and father, Jose Machaen, with encouraging him to do his best.

Machaen, who was in the school’s International Baccalaureate program, achieved a 3.98 GPA and a 4.96 HPA. He has accrued about 20 college credits and was dual enrolled at Palm Beach State College starting in 10th grade.

“It wasn’t my main priority, being at the top. I just did my best and got to where I am now,” Machaen said. “I just try hard, really. I studied whenever I felt like I needed to study but did not go crazy with studying.”

He expects to start classes this summer at the University of South Florida where he will major in business management. He would like to start his own company and be his own boss someday.

Machaen was involved in school activities and was president of the student council in 11th grade. He also was on the bowling team, the track team and served as president of the debate club. He was in the National Honor Society and was vice president of Interact Club.

A lot of his time was spent playing a sport he is passionate about, soccer. He has been on the varsity team since seventh grade and became captain in eighth grade.

“I am a defender. We had some good years and some really bad years. Last season we had more wins than losses,” Machaen said.