Scholars Banquet recognizes 90-plus high school seniors at top of their class

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The Houston Independent School District paid tribute to the top students from each high school’s graduating class during the annual Scholars Banquet on April 7.

In addition to their outstanding academic achievements, these 96 valedictorians and salutatorians have garnered more than $2 million year-to-date in scholarship and financial aid offers.

“We are extremely proud of our class of 2015 scholars, who have put in countless hours writing research papers, calculating math problems, and studying for exams in order to reach their goals,” said HISD Superintendent Dr. Grier. “Their hard work has paid off, and we are excited about what their future will bring.”

Among the students being honored at the event is Kevin Villalta, valedictorian at Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men and an EMERGE scholar. EMERGE was designed to help low-income and high potential students gain admission to and graduate from Tier 1 and Ivy League colleges and universities.Villalta was accepted into not just one, but five prestigious institutions of higher education: Cornell, Northwestern, Case Western Reserve, and Stanford universities, and MIT.

At the beginning of his high school career, Villalta struggled a bit, but now, he is making top marks in his five Advanced Placement classes, and he received a perfect score on the math portion of the SAT. Villalta credits his success to discovering a passion for math as a sophomore and finding a mentor in his math teacher, Saul Cantu.

“I am extremely proud of Kevin,” Cantu said. “He embraced his experience here, and soaked up everything like a sponge. His involvement with the math was critical. It really gave him a structure in which to excel.”

Leland is one of four HISD campuses to be celebrating its first graduating class this year. Others include Middle College High School at HCC-Fraga, the Middle College High School at HCC-Gulfton, and the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy.

List of HISD Class of 2015 Valedictorians and Salutatorians

Austin High School

Valedictorian: Yadira Banuelos

Salutatorian: Dayne Yulber Beronque

Bellaire High School

Valedictorian: Sophia Deqi Cen

Salutatorian: Aditya Srinivas Prasad

Carnegie Vanguard High School

Valedictorians: Brett J Gu & Seth Kennedy Taylor

Challenge Early College High School

Valedictorian: Gabriella Chehab Wannall

Salutatorian: Moises Tacam

Chávez High School

Valedictorian: Leticia Ortega

Salutatorians: Mireya Estrada & Thanh Hang Thi Tran

Davis High School

Valedictorian: Ashley Espinosa

Salutatorian: Maricela Villegas

DeBakey High School for Health Professions

Valedictorian: Teresa Angela Lee

Salutatorians: Rachel Marie Shenoi & Poornima Lakshmi Tamma

East Early College High School

Valedictorian: Jenniffer Arce

Salutatorian: Dariana A. Resendez

Eastwood Academy

Valedictorian: Joshua Nugent

Salutatorian: Jennifer Cruz

Energized for E-STEM Central High School

Valedictorian: Elijah Malik Harris

Salutatorian: Briana Denae Myles

Energized for E-STEM West High School

Valedictorian: Jonathan Aiseosa Oviawe

Salutatorian: Jaquelin Banesa Aroujo

Furr High School

Valedictorians: Tohana Lorett Espitia-Avendano

Salutatorian: Estefani Berrios-Turcios

High School for Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice

Valedictorian: Miyanna Jante Kirksey

Salutatorian: Luis Erik Zuniga

High School for the Performing & Visual Arts

Valedictorian: Claudia Isabel Heymach

Salutatorian: Steffanie Renee Alter

Hope Academy

Valedictorian: Courtney Jones

Salutatorian: Marina Duran

Houston Academy for International Studies

Valedictorian: Paul Flores

Salutatorian: Cristian Alexander Vences

Jones Futures Academy

Valedictorian: Devonnya Latrice Polk

Salutatorian: Kyle Dashone Christmas

Jordan High School

Valedictorian: Rogelio Servin Espitia

Salutatorian: SheElla Maleah Mott-Guillory

Kashmere High School

Valedictorian: Giovanni De’Andre Johnson

Salutatorian: Arron Dwayne Reese

Lamar High School

Valedictorian: Christiana Parrish Sullivan

Salutatorian: Hannah Rose Anderson

Lee High School

Valedictorians: Dashuang Liang & Xiao-Shuang Liang

Liberty High School

Valedictorian: Liangzheng Huang

Salutatorian: Verenice Elizabeth Reyes Ramirez

Madison High School

Valedictorian: Luis Gerardo Pineda

Salutatorian: Idalia Castro

Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men

Valedictorian: Kevin A. Villalta

Salutatorian: Jonathan Bond

Middle College High School – HCC Fraga

Valedictorian: Elizabeth Concepcion Manjarrez

Middle College High School – HCC Gulfton

Valedictorian: Cindy Raquel Flores

Salutatorian: Wendy Elenia Quijada Figueroa

Milby High School

Valedictorian: Julissa Angelica Enriquez

Salutatorian: Salma Leticia Chavira

Mount Carmel Academy

Valedictorian: Joseph Malveaux

Salutatorian: Bianca Garcia

North Forest High School

Valedictorian: Sandrine Ntanyosha

Salutatorian: Deron Wiley

North Houston Early College High School

Valedictorian: Rolando Osorio

Salutatorian: Sara Dalila Arguelles

REACH Charter High School

Valedictorian: Ilsel Estefania Cuevas

Salutatorian: Angel Miranda Scott

Reagan High School

Valedictorian: Denia Lisette Martinez

Salutatorian: Brian Lara

Sam Houston Math, Science & Technology Center

Valedictorian: Pablo Calderon Galaviz

Salutatorian: Jeniffer Ramirez

Scarborough High School

Valedictorian: Guadalupe Janet Perez

Salutatorian: Precious Cheray Robinson

Sharpstown High School

Valedictorian: Pedro Portillo

Salutatorian: Michael Keith Julian

Sharpstown International School

Valedictorian: Emir Oliverio Zamudio

Salutatorian: Maduabuchi Akoma

South Early College High School

Valedictorian: Mirla Fabiana Estrada

Salutatorian: Wendy Carolina Argueta

Sterling High School

Valedictorian: Robert S. Childress

Salutatorian: Ronald Mejia

Texas Connections Academy Houston

Valedictorian: Ty Mason Trusty

Salutatorian: Shannon Delaney McNatt

Waltrip High School

Valedictorian: Joey A. Hernandez

Salutatorian: Theresa J. Perez

Washington High School

Valedictorian: Nakiyah Myasia Scott

Salutatorian: Michael Anthony Ortiz

Westbury High School

Valedictorian: Melissa Loredo

Salutatorian: Stacey Febe Peralta

Westside High School

Valedictorian: Laura Chang

Salutatorians: Genki Titus Oji & Emily Wang

Wheatley High School

Valedictorian: Krystal Jernea Turner

Salutatorian: Eliazar Banda

Worthing High School

Valedictorian: Rachel Allene Weatherspoon

Salutatorian: Heaven Lee Murphy

Yates High School

Valedictorian: Jason Covarrubias

Salutatorian: Dajah Cade

Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy

Valedictorian: Deronisha Lashae Arceneaux

Salutatorian: Ariana Aurora Vasquez