The Houston Independent School District celebrated the top students from 2022’s graduating class at the annual Scholars Recognition Ceremony on Tuesday at Delmar Fieldhouse.
Students, parents, and principals filed into the arena as the Waltrip High School Jazz Ensemble played from the stadium seats.
The ceremony began with a presentation of colors and reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance from the Sharpstown High School JROTC.
With all of the featured speakers, there was a recurring theme: These seniors persevered through a global pandemic for more than half of their high school careers.
In Superintendent Millard House II’s address, he reminded the soon-to-be graduates why their persistence through these unprecedented challenges were a cause for celebration.
“Rest assured, your determination and hard work will serve you well in college and beyond, whether it be graduate school, business school, fine arts, or whatever you may choose,” said House.
Members of the HISD Board of Education were also in attendance, including Dani Hernandez, Sue Deigaard, and Board President Judith Cruz.
“You have an eagerness to learn and a strong work ethic, and these qualities can take you far in life,” said Cruz. “I can’t wait to see what you accomplish. Whether you choose college or career coming out of high school, I hope that you find your passion. Go after it and achieve great things.”
This year’s featured speaker was Shani Dowell, Founder and CEO of Possip. The former teacher, organizational leader, and first Black woman in Tennessee to raise more than $1 million in venture funding had an important message about turning failures into successes.
“Knowing how to fail frees you for your future. Your job in the future isn’t to be perfect or to follow directions or to get the right answer all the time. It is to take good risks and get in good trouble, as the late Congressman John Lewis would say.”
At the end of the ceremony, the honorees were presented with medallions by their parents in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements.
105 valedictorians and salutatorians will graduate with their peers in June. Among them are a record-breaking 13 valedictorians from Bellaire High School.
To see photos of the valedictorians and salutatorians, find out where they are going to college, their favorite subjects, and more, click here.
The Scholars Recognition Ceremony was sponsored by Smart Financial Credit Union.