Superintendent fetes all HS Grads with Ice Cream celebration
BY MIKE KEENEY
Aldine ISD held its fourth annual Superintendent’s Top 10 Scholars Celebration on Thursday, May 11 at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center.
The event is held annually to recognize the Top 10 scholars at each of the district’s 10 high schools.
The Top 10 students were treated to ice cream and received medals to signify their standing as the top academic achievers at their respective high schools.
The students were also given the chance to share with the audience what college or university they will attend and what they will major in. This group of Aldine seniors have been accepted to John Hopkins, Harvard, Yale, the University of Michigan, Boston College, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University the University of Houston and many other prestigious institutions of higher learning.
Chief of Staff Sheleah Reed delivered the welcome and congratulated the seniors for their hard work to reach Top 10 status in their respective classes.
“This is truly a special event, and I am so excited that we can gather to celebrate the academic accomplishments of our outstanding scholars,” Reed said. “Graduation is right around the corner, and a new journey is about to begin. It’s a big deal to receive the rank of 1-10. You’ve worked hard to get here. Continue to reach for the stars as you embark on your collegiate careers. Keep the work ethic that earned you this recognition here today.”
Reed then introduced the key note speaker, Blanca Soto. Soto is a graduate of Aldine High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental design from Texas A&M University and her Masters of Architecture from the University of Houston. She currently serves as a project manager at PBK Architects, a Houston-based firm specializing in designing educational facilities. She is also a licensed architect in the State of Texas.
Soto shared with the students her story of her journey that took her to where she is today.
She knew at the age of 12 that she wanted to be an architect.
Soto was born in Mexico and at the age of one, she and her family immigrated to Houston with few resources, with two small children, unaccustomed to the language, but her parents were determined to provide a good life for her and her sibling.
“Because of my parents’ struggles, I think I had to grow up a little faster,” she said. “My humble beginnings really made me understand that just being in this country is a blessing in itself. I understood from a young age that I really needed to take advantage of the opportunities that came my way and advantage of all the help that was offered.”
Soto challenged the Top 10 scholars to continue to work hard and take advantages of opportunities when they are presented to them.
“There is no straight path toward success,” Soto said. “Everyone has their own path and their timeline. A&M was no easy walk in the park. I went to school with people way smarter than me, with people who had more cultural experience, with students who had generations of college graduates in their family. But that was ok. I just had to keep working hard and at the end of the day I graduated alongside these same students, some of who became friends.
“Today, I am amongst some of the brightest students in Aldine who I know will achieve great things. You all have already heard so many cliches this senior year from your teachers, your parents, your counselors, and unfortunately for y’all, I’m joining the same list. It’s ok to work a little harder than most, it’s ok to fail, it’s ok that sometimes life gets in the way. You all have already achieved the honor of being the Top 10 students in your class. Don’t let it stop there. This achievement is yours. You’ve earned it and I know you will work for a lot more.”
Following Soto’s remarks, Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney delivered remarks of her own letting the Top 10 scholars know this event is one of her favorites of any school year.
She congratulated the Top 10 scholars as being some of Aldine’s “best and brightest students.”
Dr. Goffney also shared with the scholars the importance of the medals they each received.
“The medal you are wearing now symbolizes your hard work and dedication,” she said. “It reminds me of a quote that I go back to often that has served me well when I need a bit of motivation or just a push in the right direction: ‘Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.’”
She said she hoped the students will take that quote to heart as they advance in their academic careers.
“You all understand this because you’ve sacrificed many nights doing what you had to do – like all-night study sessions to pass a test or finish a project – to be where you are today. You understand that reaching a goal requires hard work and dedication – and that it isn’t always fun or easy. I’ve been there. I understand. Like you, I was an earnest and hard-working student. My grandparents, Big Mama and Papa, encouraged education and wanted me to work hard so I could go somewhere and do something good with my life and I wanted to make them proud. In fact, I kept the middle initial “M” for my maiden name, McGowen, as a reminder of the sacrifices and support they gave me as I grew up. A first-generation college student, I was all business, all work, all the time. And thanks to that work ethic, I graduated from Coldspring-Oakhurst at the top of my class. I’ve been there.”
Dr. Goffney also challenged the Top 10 scholars to make the most of their opportunities in college and beyond.
“Make memories. Take advantage of every opportunity to be involved, student government, choir, sports, set. Try it all! And finish. Live your best life and have fun. On behalf of myself, our Board of Trustees, and the administrative team, congratulations on a job well done.”
The Top 10 scholars from each Aldine ISD high school are:
ALDINE HIGH SCHOOL
AVALOS P-TECH HIGH SCHOOL
BLANSON CTE HIGH SCHOOL
•Sophia Mari Waterhouse
•John Ezekiel Cabalquinto
•Delilah Alize Sandoval
•Ana Barbara Navedo Alvarez
CARVER HIGH SCHOOL
•Ryan Jamyra Randolph
•Eniola Oluwatoyin Awe
•Ryen Kynnedi Nellum
•Mariam Joana Kamara
•Zane Larue Justice
•Skyla Imari Gallow
•Delores Monea Sells
•Miliani Jahmia Huff
•Jessica Alexis Rivas
DAVIS HIGH SCHOOL
•Joselyn Lemus Escamilla
EISENHOWER HIGH SCHOOL
•John Nhat Duong
•Mia Dariana Palacios
•Eric David Cardenas
•Sydney Rose Prier
•Maritza Cristal Apolinar
•Tahamid Jarif Bhyiyan
•Katelyn Leah Reyes
HALL SUCCESS ACADEMY
•Jacqueline Arellano Castaneda
MACARTHUR HIGH SCHOOL
•Abeiro San Juan
•Nadxieli Jimenez Bielma
NIMITZ HIGH SCHOOL
VICTORY EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL
•Yoselyn Rebekah Owolabi
•Nashaly Guadalupe Diaz
•Isabel Kaithlyn Pamfile
•Cody C. Vilaiya
•Jonathan Alexander Ortega
•Jonathan Alexander Bush
•Mayowa O.S. Ogunbowale
•David Elias Almanza