Spring ISD has announced the Class of 2022 valedictorians and salutatorians from each of its five high school campuses: Carl Wunsche Sr. High School, Dekaney High School, Spring Early College Academy, Spring High School and Westfield High School.
“It’s amazing just to think about all that these young people have accomplished, especially these last four years,” said Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa, noting that only their freshman year had been free of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “They’ve only had one normal year of high school, and yet they persevered. They’re resilient, they stayed focused and they stayed strong. They are the best that Spring ISD has to offer.”
The district celebrated each of this year’s valedictorians and salutatorians during a special recognition banquet honoring the students and their families on Thursday, May 19 at the Randall Reed Center at the district’s Planet Ford Stadium facility. The valedictorian from each school is the student who has earned the highest grade point average in his or her graduation class, and the salutatorian has the second highest grade point average.
The evening included special student performances, as well as remarks from special guests such as Spring ISD Board of Trustees President Justine Durant.
“Each of you is here tonight because of a commitment that you made to your education,” Durant told the soon-to-be graduates. “You have made sacrifices, to be sure. And I am so proud of all of you!”
Spring Early College valedictorian Jorge Pereira Martinez attended the banquet with his mother and his aunt, both of whom looked on proudly as he was called up to be recognized. Pereira Martinez’s parents both came to the U.S. from El Salvador, and he is now following in the footsteps of his older sister – also an Early College Academy graduate and now studying at The University of Texas – in becoming the first generation in their family to go to college.
“When I started at Spring Early College Academy, it was definitely a whirlwind,” Pereira Martinez said. “At first I couldn’t even imagine getting into the school, because I knew what it could offer. The opportunities I would have – graduating with an associate degree and a high school diploma all at once – just seemed so surreal.”
He credited his overall success there to the support of his mother, his Early College Academy teachers, and the staff of the EMERGE Fellowship, the Houston-based college-access program of which Pereira Martinez is a member through EMERGE’s partnership with Spring ISD.
“They definitely helped me get to where I am today and achieve those dreams and aspirations that I had,” Pereira Martinez said of the EMERGE staff, noting particularly his EMERGE program manager, Nikea Vernardo. “I definitely owe a lot to her.”
Hinojosa echoed Pereira Martinez in her praise of all the parents, guardians and other family members whose love and support helped this year’s valedictorians and salutatorians reach their goals.
“We’re just extremely proud of them, and proud of their parents,” Hinojosa said, “because their parents are the ones that have supported them through all of this.”
The full list of Spring ISD Class of 2022 valedictorians and salutatorians is included below.
Carl Wunsche Sr. High School
- Catherine Elizabeth Castille, Valedictorian – The University of Texas at Austin
- Valerie Andreea Cosmi, Salutatorian – University of Texas at Austin
Dekaney High School
- Teon Jamal Golden, Valedictorian – Rice University
- Stephany Ariana Ramirez, Salutatorian – University of Houston
Spring Early College Academy
- Jorge Enrique Pereira Martinez, Valedictorian – Columbia College
- Vianny Yamilet Mondragon, Salutatorian – Barnard College
Spring High School
- Grace Ellen Wesley, Valedictorian – The University of Texas at Austin
- Tia Janae Bullard, Salutatorian – Prairie View A&M University
Westfield High School
- Esgar Ortiz Flores, Valedictorian – Lone Star College/University of Houston
- Estefania Yepiz Medina, Salutatorian – Middlebury College