SHS Honors Super Achievers

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The top ten seniors of Sharyland High School were honored during the Super Achievers Banquet on Monday, May 8, 2017 at The Club at Cimarron. This banquet honors the top ten seniors who excelled and succeeded in their academic courses and achieved to maintain the highest GPA in their class of 404 students.

The students were not only accompanied by their parents but also their mentors who have made such a big impact in their lives. Sharyland ISD board of trustees, central administrative staff, SHS administration, and counselors were all there to celebrate and honor these students.
Principal Carolyn Mendiola began the evening by introducing all the guest and recognizing the students.

“It is not by chance that these ten students are here today.” Mendiola said. “They have worked diligently and relentlessly their 4 years of high school to achieve this status. I would like to thank all of you who are here tonight to celebrate this special recognition with our students and their proud families.”

Mendiola then introduced Salutatorian Joshua Jones who gave the invocation.

As the presentation began, Mendiola commended each student and presented them a plaque. While each student was presented with their award, they took a moment to address the audience and thank those who helped them succeed their goals.

Joshua Jones spoke about being thankful for his fellow classmates.

“Super Achievers, I want to thank you for pushing me through the years and just want to say good luck on where you are going,” Joshua said. “But knowing the way you are, I know you will all end up being extremely successful.”

Stephanie Kim spoke about how grateful she was for the people who supported her along her high school education.

“Entering high school is when I really got to know the rest of these top ten,” Stephanie said. “Even though we “competed” against each other, I’ve really gotten to know some of you, which I’m more than thankful for. You are all astounding role models to myself and others around you. You’re able to show what it is to thrive whilst being able to enjoy life as well. Overall, thank you for being some of my better friends all throughout high school. I will always cherish the friendships I have with each and every single one of you.”

After all the honor students received their awards and addressed the audience, Valedictorian Julio Contreras gave the Farewell Address.

“We only have a few short weeks until we graduate and flip the page to a new chapter in our lives,” Julio said. “During this short time, I hope that you all breathe everything in and enjoy the company of your parents, family, and friends.”

Julio reminded his peers not to forget Sharyland High School.

“In this room I see future leaders, and such a vision is a culmination of the drive and rigor I have seen so many of us take on these past four years,” Julio said. “On your pathway to success, I urge you to never forget where you came from, for that is what has built you to be the amazing individuals you are, and will continue to be from this very day onwards. Don’t lose track of your goals and continue to persevere and pursue your dreams and aspirations.”

The evening ended with Superintendent Dr. Robert O’Connor’s closing remarks and Principal Mendiola’s final address to the honor students.

“As you move on to the next chapter in your lives… record those special moments that you will experience throughout your life in college,” Mendiola said.

She presented them with a journal, each personalized with the student’s name, the school logo and the following quote: “Imagine…the possibilities when you shoot for the stars. Believe… you can accomplish all your hearts desires. Achieve… the bright future waiting for you just over the horizon. Anything is possible when you believe.”

“Always remember Sharyland High School,” concluded Carolyn Mendiola.

Julio Alberto Contreras is the son of Maria Garza and Julio Contreras. He plans to study Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law as well as Sustainability Studies after being accepted to Double Major at Stanford University. His goal is to one day infuse both of these disciplines into a professional career as an Environmental Lawyer and help set the legal foundation for massive transition to sustainable development and energy. His mentor Randy Johnson, Environmental Science and Physics teacher, has helped Julio grow, mature, and decide on a career path. Julio’s academic areas of concentration throughout high school were Social and Natural Sciences, Business, and Law

Julio has been recognized as Valedictorian, AP Scholar with Distinction, Cross-Examination Debate State Quarter Finalist and Octo Finalist, BPA Economic Research Regional Champs and State Finalist (7th place), United States Achievement Academy National Award Winner for Biology and Outstanding Student Award in five courses. He is also Founder and President of Nonprofit L.Y.F.E. (Loving Youth For The Elderlies).

Joshua Jones is the son of Judith Jones and Stephen Jones. He plans to receive a dual degree in Business and Engineering from either the University of Texas at Austin under the Business Honor Program or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His goal is to be a part of the emerging technological world with the mindset of changing it for the betterment of society. His mentor is Jose Nava, AP Calculus Teacher. Nava showed Joshua the applicability of math to the real world and that it’s ok to ask questions when he was intrigued by something. Also, Nava taught him that there are infinite ways to solve any problem and to find the way that fits best. Joshua’s academic areas of concentration throughout high school were Business, Math, and Science.

Joshua has been recognized as Salutatorian, AP Scholar with Honor and National Hispanic Scholar, Outstanding student awarded with Biology Pre-AP and Calculus BC, State Champion Number Sense UIL Team and Six Time State Champion at the Texas Math and Sciences Coaches Associations State Meet. He has also been distinct in BPA as a State Officer, Two Time National Qualifier and BPA Ambassador Torch Award recipient.

Mark Stephens is the son of Danielle Stephens and Bryon Stephens. He is deciding whether to attend Texas A&M University or University of Texas and major in Business. His mentor Margarita Tamez, Spanish 3-E, 3-S, 2-S and AP Spanish Literature and Culture teacher. Mark said Tamez was not only a teacher but also a mentor and a friend. From greeting each other every day in the hallway to seeing her at all of his soccer games. Mark’s academic areas of concentration throughout high school were Mathematics.

Mark has been awarded AP Scholar with Honors, All A Honor Roll 2013-present, National Merit Scholar, LEO Club Bronze and Silver Service Award Winner, Soccer Bi-District, Area Champion, and Regional Quarter Finalist, Brown Foundation Scholar, BPA qualifier for State Competition, and Outstanding Senior.

Stephanie Kim is daughter of Nancy Kim and Taek Kim. She will attend Texas A&M University where she anticipates to graduate with a Business Degree. Her mentor is Anna Garza, head of the English Department. She has taught her the value of dedication and responsibility in all of her endeavors. Stephanie’s academic areas of concentration in High School were Math and Science.

Stephanie has been recognized as Outstanding Senior and A Honor Roll students throughout high school, Business Professionals of America State Finalist (2 yrs.), BPA National Qualifier as well as Outstanding Student in Spanish for Spanish Speakers. She is also very active outside of school and has been a part of Hidalgo County Cotillion Debutante and Melba’s School of Dance Principal Dancer for 2 years.

Gerardo Cortez Padilla is the son of Angel Cortez Benitez and Celia Padilla de Cortez. He will be attending The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and will pursue a degree within Course 15 (Business Management). His goal is to leave his mark on this earth by impacting the lives of those around him and create a change in the world that will stand the test of time, race, religion, location, or any other barrier imposed by man. His mentor is Tinalouisa Jensen, Pre-AP and CP Biology teacher and Swimming Head Coach.. Jensen has impacted Gerardo’s life by showing him the amount of support, joy and love throughout his years of high school no matter the circumstances. Gerardo’s academic areas of concentration throughout high school were Business Management, Science, and Mathematics.

Gerardo has been awarded AP Scholar with Distinction 2016, A Honor Roll 2013-present, O.S Principles of Business 2013-2014, O.S Principles of Communication 2014-2015, O.S Biology 2013-2014, O.S Algebra II 2014-2015, Gold LEO of the Year Service Award 2015-2016, Selection for the National Academy of Future Scientist and Technologist Award of Excellence, NSHSS Member and Ambassador 2014-2015 and Outstanding Senior 2016-2017.

Brandon Ramirez is the son of Irma Ramirez and Daniel Ramirez. He plans to attend Texas A&M University and double major in Political Science and Economics. His mentor is Isaac Pietrzak, US History Dual Enrollment teacher and UIL Social Studies Coach. Pietrzak guided Brandon through his first year in UIL Social Studies by giving him advice and confidence to believe he could do anything. He inspired Brandon to go deeper into History and purse a degree in Political Science. Brandon’s academic areas of concentration throughout high school were World History, U.S History, Government and Business.

Brandon has been awarded A Honor Roll, AP Scholar with Honor, National Hispanic Scholar, Cross Country MVP, 2-Time UIL State Qualifier for Current Issues and Events, State Qualifier for Social Studies, 2-Time Second Team All-District for Cross Country, Area Qualifier for Track, District Champion for Current Events and Ready Writing, and Regional Champion for Current Events and Social Studies.

Roland Cruz is the son of Rosi Cruz and Rolando Cruz Jr. He plans to attend the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley where he will be studying biology. After college he plans to go to medical school where he can pursue his dream career as a doctor. His mentor is Neil Nelson, Lead Band Director. Nelson helped and advised Roland all throughout his high school years helping him succeed. Roland’s academic areas of concentration throughout high school were Science and Mathematics.

Roland has been awarded A honor Roll, 1st Division in both UIL Marching Band and Concert Band Competition 2014-2016, 1st Division on Solo and Ensemble Band Competition, Induction into National Honor Society, World History AP Scholar, U.S History AP Scholar, Calculus B.C AP Scholar and English III AP Scholar.

Therese Baldado is the daughter of Michelle Baldado and Villne Baldado. She plans to enroll in the UTRGV-UT Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program. She will then transfer to UT Austin’s pharmacy school after two years at UTRGV. Her long term goal is to give back to the community as health care provider and a friend. Her mentor is Cynthia Aldape, CTE Specialist in Sharyland High School, who not only taught her health science but exemplified the importance of striving for independence, ambition, and excellence. Therese’s areas of concentration in high school were Mathematics and Science.

Therese has held A Honor Roll all four years of high school, has been a National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists Award of Excellence Nominee, and received Clinical Medical Assistant, Basic Life Support, Sterile Products IV and OSHA certifications. She has collected various Most Outstanding Student Awards in different courses throughout her high school years and is a part of the National Honor Society.

Daniella Valladares is daughter of Ana Valladares and Cesar Valladares. She will attend the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a double major in International Business and Government. After completing her bachelors, she plans to attend law school to become a human rights attorney. Her mentor is Elizabeth Rios, Career Counselor. She inspired Daniella by showing patience and dedication for every student and for being with her through every step of applying to college. Daniella’s concentrated areas in high school were History, Fine Arts, and English.
Daniella has held leadership positions such as Co-Captain for the Mock Trial Team, Vice-President of Parliament for FCCLA, and was an RGV Ambassador. She has held A Honor Roll all throughout high school, was named the 2017 Terry Scholar, won awards such as Best Attorney and Witness at the Mock Trial Regional Competition (2016-2017), and has placed in both Criminal Case Analysis at Regionals and State (2016-2017).

Dante Flores-Demarchi is son of Mareli Flores and Aurelio Flores. He will be attending Brown University this fall with a concentration in Biochemistry and Neuroscience and eventually continue towards medical school. His mentor is Beth van Epps, Assistant Band Director. Dante concentrated in the areas of Mathematics, Science and Music classes all through high school.
Dante has been awarded AB Honor Roll 2014, A Honor Roll 2015-2016, Outstanding Musician, Saxophone Section Leader 2015-2016, Principle Alto Saxophone for Honors Band 2014-2017, Band Vice President, Senior Class President 2016-2017, RGV Lead Ambassador for Sharyland High School 2016-2017 and Outstanding Student.

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SHS Honors Super Achievers