Houston Independent School District hosted its annual Scholars Recognition Ceremony at the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel Tuesday, April 12, to recognize the top students from 2023’s graduating class.
Family, friends, and principals from all HISD high schools gathered inside the ballroom, excited to celebrate their scholars.
Members of the HISD Board of Education were also in attendance, including Secretary Kendall Baker and Board President Dani Hernandez who offered some words of encouragement.
“We are so proud of you,” said Hernandez. “You represent the brightest hope for decades to come and symbolize the promise and equal opportunity public education provides. Remember, you have what it takes to succeed. Never settle and live your life with kindness and integrity.”
The ceremony kicked off with the presentation of colors and reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance from Heights High School JROTC before guests were served dinner.
Afterwards, Chief of Schools Dr. Denise Watts was welcomed on stage to share a few words of advice for the soon-to-be graduates.
“Practice empathy and kindness,” said Watts. “The world can be a very difficult place, as we know, and many people are facing battles that we can only imagine. It costs absolutely nothing to be kind, to smile, to give someone affirmation or a compliment.”
This year’s keynote speaker was Edward Carrizales, a former valedictorian of Scarborough High School and first-generation college student who’s now Assistant Vice President at Amegy Bank.
Carrizales shared his story and spoke to the scholars about the importance of chasing their dreams and never giving up.
“Despite the offsets and challenges I faced on my journey, I refused to let them deter me from my path to success,” said Carrizales. “Now, as one of the youngest vice presidents at Amegy Bank, I continue to push myself to new heights knowing that the sky is the limit for those who are willing to work hard and persevere through adversity. As you leave here today, remember that success is not just about achieving your goals, but about making a positive impact on those around you. You have the potential to achieve greatness.”
At the end of the ceremony, the honorees were presented with medallions by their families in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements.
This June, 106 HISD valedictorians and salutatorians will graduate with their peers.
To learn more information about this year’s upcoming graduation ceremonies, click here.