Tarrant County’s Class of 2013 takes center stage

Posted Sunday, May. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Brilliant blue skies seemed to reflect the hope and dreams of 113 academic all-stars who gathered Wednesday at the Fort Worth Water Gardens for a celebratory group portrait.

The valedictorians and salutatorians represented the top two graduates from public, private and charter high schools in Tarrant County. Their portrait created a snapshot of the larger Class of 2013, a can-do generation just beginning a journey of challenges and remarkable possibilities.

Valedictorians are the students who have achieved the highest academic grade-point averages in their class. Salutatorians receive the second-highest average. Often, the two positions are separated by the slimmest of fractions.

Class sizes in most public schools are measured in hundreds of students, so achieving this status requires a prolonged effort of 13 years and a rigorous course load to eventually come out on top.

Several schools had three honor graduates, with co-valedictorians or co-salutatorians, an example of the keen competition of academic ability.

A trio of honor grads from The Oakridge School in Arlington came in matching white dress shirts and yellow ties.

Some students who attended had graduated early. Salutatorian Grant Hase from Northwest school district’s Steele Accelerated High School in Roanoke graduated in December. Hase proudly displayed his Texas A&M University student ID as he checked in at the sign-in table.

Several honor students could be heard discussing the task of finishing their commencement addresses, a valedictorian’s and salutatorian’s major duty at graduation.

As the students took their spot for the photo, Carlos Mucharraz, Arlington Heights High School’s valedictorian, turned to his peers.

“I said, ‘If they put us in a room together and locked us in, do you think we could make something great happen?’ And they all immediately said, ‘Of course. We’re sure of it,’^” said Mucharraz, who plans to study biochemistry or molecular biology at Northwestern University.

Students certified as the highest-ranking graduates at a Texas high school qualify for an exemption from tuition during their first two semesters at a Texas public university. Most top grads also receive additional private or university scholarships based on their academic achievement.

Many of the seniors arrived at the photo shoot — the first of its kind sponsored by the Star-Telegram — with parents, most of whom were less composed than their sons and daughters.

When Star-Telegram photojournalist Rodger Mallison finished capturing the images, he invited the observing gallery of parents to step forward to his prime spot on a ledge overlooking the students.

Something got to us about the way mothers, fathers and grandparents moved forward with cellphones and cameras to record enmasse that bittersweet moment of pride and yes, sorrow that every parent of a graduating senior understands.

But perhaps the most poignant moment of the day came when the students were given an opportunity to thank those who helped get them to the place they were standing.

Applause, cheers and whoops seemed to drown out all other sounds at the busy Fort Worth landmark. But it only seemed to magnify our hope for the future.

Fort Worth school district

Arlington Heights High

• Valedictorian Carlos Mucharraz, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

• Salutatorian Samuel Bates, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.

Carter-Riverside High

• Valedictorian Elizabeth Aguilar, Texas A&M University, College Station

• Salutatorian Eduardo Villa, Texas A&M University, College Station

Diamond Hill-Jarvis High

• Valedictorian Rocio Robledo, Texas A&M University, College Station

• Salutatorian Jennifer Montiel, University of Texas at Austin

Dunbar High

• Salutatorian Diona Willis, TCU, Fort Worth

Eastern Hills High

• Valedictorian Carolyn J. Estrada, University of Texas at Arlington

North Side High

• Valedictorian Maria Pacheco, Duke University, Durham, N.C.

• Co-Salutatorian Abel Cerros, University of Oregon, Eugene, Ore.

• Co-Salutatorian Zayra Ramos, Texas A&M University, College Station

O.D. Wyatt High

• Valedictorian Avery J. Brown, Jackson State University, Jackson, Miss.

• Salutatorian Ulrik A. Rodriguez, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls

Polytechnic High

• Valedictorian Nguyet Nguyen, TCU, Fort Worth

• Salutatorian Melissa Chaparro-Santillan, TCU, Fort Worth

Success High

• Valedictorian Imani Issa, Tarrant County College, Northeast

• Salutatorian Tika Khatiwada, Tarrant County College, Northeast, and University of Texas at Arlington

South Hills High

• Valedictorian Shayanne Delin, Texas A&M University, College Station

• Salutatorian Lanicia Carver, TCU, Fort Worth

Southwest High

• Valedictorian Cody Davis, University of Texas at Austin

• Salutatorian Ashley Menendez, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Trimble Tech High

• Valedictorian Karla O. Alvarado, Texas Woman’s University, Denton

• Salutatorian Kimberly Bui, University of North Texas, Denton

Alvarado school district

Alvarado High

• Valedictorian Paige Woodard, Tarleton State University, Stephenville

Arlington school district

Arlington High

• Valedictorian Julie Hong, Dallas Baptist University

• Salutatorian Michael Andrew Atwood, University of Texas at Austin

Bowie

• Valedictorian Radhiyah Himawan, University of Texas at Arlington

• Salutatorian Mary Dang, University of Texas at Arlington

Lamar

• Valedictorian Connie Siu, Massachusetts Institute of Technoloy, Cambridge, Mass.

• Salutatorian Tiffany Ying Wang, University of Texas at Arlington

Martin

• Valedictorian Benjamin Yang, University of Texas at Austin

• Salutatorian Kate Danyu Chen, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

Sam Houston

• Valedictorian Alma Guadalupe Luna, TCU, Fort Worth

• Salutatorian An L. Ha, Texas A&M University, College Station

Seguin

• Valedictorian Daniel Nguyen, Southwestern University, Georgetown

• Salutatorian Brandilyn Monene, University of Texas at Arlington

Birdville school district

Birdville High

• Valedictorian Vy Ngoc Phan, Vanderbilt University, Nashville

• Salutatorian Rebekah Maria Brand, University of Texas at Austin

Haltom High

• Valedictorian James Morgan Sawyer, Baylor University, Waco

• Salutatorian Vy Vu, University of North Texas, Denton.

Richland High

• Valedictorain Ryan Itoh, TCU, Fort Worth

• Salutatorian TJ Wilkins, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla.

Burleson school district

Burleson High

• Valedictorian Alaina Grace Smith, Texas A&M University, College Station

• Salutatorian Morgan Abigail Seamster, Trinity University, San Antonio

Burleson Centennial

• Valedictorian Lauren Peters, Abilene Christian University

• Salutatorian Dylan Johnson, University of Texas at Austin

Carroll school district

Carroll Senior High

• Valedictorian Eunice P. Lee, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Castleberry school district

Castleberry High

• Valedictorian Alycea Vitela, Texas A&M, College Station

• Salutatorian John Alegria, Texas A&M, College Station

Crowley school district

Crowley High

• Valedictorian Mary Elbanna, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson

• Salutatorian Taylor Baumgard, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

North Crowley High

• Valedictorian Megan Goh, University of Houston

• Salutatorian Bailey Barksdale, Texas A&M University, College Station

Eagle Mountain

-Saginaw school district

Boswell High

• Valedictorian Joseph Hood, Texas A&M University, College Station

• Salutatorian Coby Felts, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.

Saginaw High

• Valedictorian Garrett Tow, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla.

• Salutatorian Prisca Pungwe, Baylor University, Waco

Everman school district

Everman Joe C. Bean High

• Valedictorian Rebecca Tran, Texas A&M University, College Station

• Salutatorian Paola Gonzalez, University of Texas at Austin

Grapevine-

Colleyville school district

Colleyville Heritage

• Valedictorian Katherine Alexander Tees, Rice University, Houston

• Salutatorian Kimberly Ha, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.

Grapevine High

• Valedictorial Daniel Minsuk Kwak, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

• Salutatorian Erin Elizabeth Risk, University of Chicago

Hurst-Euless-

Bedford school district

L.D. Bell

• Valedictorian Serin Thomas, University of Texas at Austin

• Salutatorian Michael Vincent Adams, University of Texas at Austin

Trinity High School

• Salutatorian Pradyotha Kanchustambham, University of Texas at Dallas

Keller school district

Central High

• Valedictorian Younghoon Daniel Lee, Rice University, Houston

• Salutatorian Samuel Isaac Etkind, University of Texas at Austin

Fossil Ridge

• Valedictorian Betty Le Tong, University of Texas at Austin

• Salutatorian Ruzseth Anne Sandoval Dela Cruz, University of Texas at Austin

Keller High

• Valedictorian Cayla Marie Martin, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

• Salutatorian Sonya Annie Mannala, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Timber Creek High

• Valedictorian Chandler Kae Funderburg, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla.

• Salutatorian Allison Marie Thomas, Dallas Baptist University

Kennedale school district

Kennedale High

• Valedictorian Isabelle Erickson, University of Texas at Austin

Lake Worth school district

Lake Worth High

• Valedictorian Diego Vega, Texas A&M University, College Station

• Salutatorian Kaleigh Bell, University of North Texas, Denton

Mansfield school district

Frontier High

• Valedictorian Katherine Do, Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene

• Salutatorian Jay Harkara, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson

Legacy High

• Salutatorian Samantha Singarella, University of Texas at Austin

Mansfield High

• Valedictorian Megan Marie Broussard, Rider University, Lawrenceville, N.J.

• Salutatorian Yuan-Min Lo, University of Texas at Austin

Timberview

• Valedictorian Blake Alan Rainey, Southern Methodist University, Dallas

• Salutatorian Martin Maurice Estes, University of Texas at Austin

Northwest school district

Byron Nelson High

• Valedictorian Morgan Christine Schmidt, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

• Salutatorian Jenna Scarlett Erickson, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Northwest High

• Valedictorian Caren Stuebe, Boston University

• Salutatorian Amanda Walker, Baylor University, Waco

Steele Accelerated High

• Valedictorian Jonathan Hilgendorf, University of North Texas, Denton

• Salutatorian Grant Hase, Texas A&M University, College Station

Springtown school district

Springtown High

• Valedictorian Madeline Sloan Marsh, TCU, Fort Worth

• Salutatorian Kittie Elizabeth Sandlin, Abilene Christian University

Weatherford school district

Weatherford High

• Valedictorian Rebecca Harlow, Texas A&M University, College Station

• Salutatorian Michael “Bailey” Hulsey, University of Texas at Austin

White Settlement school district

Brewer High

• Valedictorian Rebecca Craft, Trinity University, San Antonio

• Salutatorian Emily Cotton, University of Texas at Austin

Private schools

Calvary Christian Academy, Fort Worth

• Valedictorian Courtney West, Abilene Christian University

• Salutatorian Giang Nyugen, University of Texas at Arlington

Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts

• Valedictorian Grace Frazor, Converse College, Spartanburg, S.C.

• Salutatorian Kirstin Hill, Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle

Fort Worth Country Day

• Valedictorian Kaelyn Scoville, University of Texas at Austin

• Salutatorian Meghann Kasal, Swarthmore College, Pa.

Grace Preparatory Academy, Arlington

• Valedictorian Joshua John Joens, University of Texas at Arlington

• Co-Salutatorian Andrew Joseph Estes, Dallas Baptist University

• Co-Salutatorian Tylar Chance Cowart, Texas State University, San Marcos

Grapevine Faith Christian School

• Valedictorian Emily Anderson., Texas A&M University, College Station

Nolan Catholic High School, Fort Worth

• Valedictorian Madeleine Anne Marshall. University of Texas at Austin

• Salutatorian Patrick Richard Phelps, University of Tulsa, Okla.

The Oakridge School, Arlington

• Valeditctorian Melissa Geisel, Washington University, St. Louis

• Co-Salutatorian Carter Fraser, Washington University, St. Louis

• Co-Salutatorian Amit Narawane, University of Texas at Austin

Pantego Christian Academy

• Salutatorian McKenna Avery, University of Texas at Arlington

Temple Christian School, Fort Worth

• Valedictorian Michelle Renee Tadlock, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago

• Salutatorian Duncan Forrest Simoneaux, Texas Tech University, Lubbock

Trinity Valley, Fort Worth

• Co-Valedictorian Chatwin Mabry Jackson IV, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.

• Co-Valedictorian William Douglas Jones, University of Chicago

Those who were not able to attend Wednesday’s photo shoot include:

Dunbar High, Fort Worth

• Valedictorian Brittany Johnson, Texas A&M University, College Station

Eastern Hills High, Fort Worth

• Salutatorian Melissa Baltazar, Texas A&M University, College Station

Paschal High, Fort Worth

• Valedictorian Willis Harvey, University of Texas at Austin

• Salutatorian Erik Nguyen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.

Western Hills High, Benbrook

• Valedictorian Larry J. Runnels, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

• Salutatorian Juhun Bae, Rice University, Houston

Aledo High

• Valedictorian Heather Nickelson, Baylor University, Waco

• Salutatorian Madison Bennett, Texas A&M University, College Station.

Alvarado High

• Salutatorian Amanda Cadenhead, Texas A&M, College Station

Azle High

• Valedictorian Jamie Backiel, University of Texas at Austin

• Salutatorian Kyle Petter, Baylor University, Waco

Trinity High School

• Valedictorian Wendy Davidson, University of Texas at Austin

Kennedale High

• Salutatorian Theresa Dinh, Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa

Lake Ridge

• Valedictorian Kirsten Brown, University of Texas at Austin

• Salutatorian Ashley Marino, Baylor University, Waco

Legacy High

• Valedictorian Laura Baker, Northeastern University, Boston

Summit

• Valedictorian Nicholas James Toliver, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla.

• Salutatorian Christina Waiyin Koo, University of Texas at Arlington

Carroll Senior High, Southlake

• Salutatorian Hope A. Miller, Texas A&M University, College Station

Westlake Academy

• Valedictorian Taylor Braun, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.

• Salutatorian Jordan Lee, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

Covenant Christian Academy, Colleyville

• Valedictorian Shelbie Leigh Embrey, University of Texas at Austin

• Salutatorian Katherine Brady Meadows, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Fort Worth Christian School, N. Richland Hills

• Valedictorian Holly Marissa Hague, Texas A&M University, College Station

• Salutatorian Payton Glenn DeLong, Harding University, Searcy, Ark.

Grapevine Faith Christian School

• Salutatorian Andrew Paul Aitelli, University of Texas at Austin

Pantego Christian Academy

• Valedictorian Daniel Norwood, Harding University, Searcy, Ark.

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657 Twitter: @shirljinkins Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326 Twitter: @jessamybrown

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