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Area valedictorians, salutatorians named

By Victoria Advocate
June 15, 2013 at 1:15 a.m.
Updated June 16, 2013 at 1:16 a.m.



Name: Haley Elaine Newton

Age: 18

Parents: Scherie Newton and Jeffrey Newton

Achievements: Valedictorian, Refugio County outstanding senior, fifth place UIL mathematics, participated in UIL mathematics and number sense for three years

GPA: 3.7

Immediate plans: Plans to attend Southwest Texas Junior College to pursue a degree in surgical nursing.


Name: Aaron Cardinale

Age: 17

Parent: Josephine Josie Cardinale

Achievements: Salutatorian, Refugio County outstanding senior nominee, participated in science and math UIL events all four years of high school

GPA: 3.4

Immediate plans: Plans to attend University of Houston-Victoria to pursue a degree in digital gaming/simulation.

Calhoun High


Name: John Gee

Age: 16

Parents: George Gee and Yvonne Gu

Achievements: Intel science talent search STS semifinalist, 2013; USA junior math olympiad qualifier for 2010 and 2011; USA chemistry olympiad honors, top 150 in the nation, 2012; USA computing olympiad silver division in 2012; Eagle Scout, 2013; homecoming king, 2013

GPA: 5.6115

Immediate plans: Plans to attend Harvard University, undecided major. Participating in an MD Anderson summer internship to gain more experience and have a better understanding of what career I wish to pursue.


Name: James Hsu

Age: 18

Parents: Terry Hsu and Fei-Fei Chou

Achievements: 2011-12 UIL Cross Examination State octofinalists, 2011-12 UIL mathematics team state champions, commended PSAT scholar, 2010-11 and 2011-12 UIL state solo and ensemble qualifier

GPA: 5.085

Immediate plans: Plans to attend University of Texas at Austin to pursue a degree in pharmacy.



Name: Zachary Ray Wendel

Age: 18

Parents: Alan and Cindy Wendel

Achievements: Becoming valedictorian, Cuero academic achievement award all four years, honor graduate, president's education award, in top 10 percent of class, fourth degree Knights of Columbus, received Yoakum Assembly Citizenship Award

Immediate plans: Plans to attend Texas A&M University at College Station and pursue a degree in industrial distribution.


Name: Kayla Michelle Headley

Age: 18

Parents: A.J. and Heather Linville and the late Randy Headley

Achievements: Member of National Society of High School Scholars, member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, president of National Honor Society of CHS, People to People student ambassador

Immediate plans: Attending the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor pursuing a pre-med degree with a major in cell biology.



Name: Allison Ann Kotlar

Parents: Larry and Stacey Kotlar

Achievements: Valedictorian, National Honor Society, distinguished honor grad, voted "Outstanding Senior for 2013" by EHS faculty and staff and a Texas scholar

GPA: 5.2238

Immediate Plans: Plans to attend University of Dallas majoring in business and play basketball for the Crusaders.


Name: Elyse Ann Mahaffey

Parents: Don and Dee Mahaffey

Achievements: Salutatorian, National Honor Society, distinguished honor grad and a Texas Scholar

GPA: 5.0465

Immediate Plans: Plans to attend Texas A&M University to pursue degrees in kinesiology with an emphasis on dance science and Intermediate ELA education.



Name: Georgi Garza

Age: 18

Parents: Ruben Garza and Christina M. Garza

Achievements: Academic All-State, Texas Scholar, valedictorian and National Honor Society

GPA: 4.174

Immediate Plans: Plans to attend University of Texas at Austin majoring in psychology/pre-law.


Name: Regina Michelle Chovanec

Parents: Richard and Rose Chovanec

Achievements: National Honor Society;

Best Actress, One-Act-Play Zone and District 2013;

John Philip Sousa band award,

band sweetheart

GPA: 4.068

Immediate plans: Plans to begin her college education at Wharton County Junior College, where she will complete her basics and explore degree plans.



Name: Kara Nichole Thomas

Age: 18

Parents: Becky Thomas and Mike Thomas

Achievements: Graduated Summa Cum Laude, valedictorian since middle school, National Honor Society president, Student Council president, all-academic softball and volleyball

GPA: 5.7530

Immediate plans: Plans to attend Texas A&M at College Station majoring in biomedical sciences and attend medical school to become a pediatrician.


Name: Alicia Aileen Henry

Age: 18

Parents: Renee Franke and Phillip Henry

Achievements: Advanced to region and area bands in Association of Texas Small School Bands all-state competitions, four-year recognition as a Texas Music Scholar by the Texas Music Educators Association, participated in a gold medalist saxophone quartet in 2012 in the UIL Texas State Solo and Ensemble convention and a state-bound saxophone quartet in 2013. She was also selected as the HOBY candidate from Goliad High School in 2011.

GPA: 5.7113

Immediate Plans: Plans to attend University of Houston-Victoria with a major in accounting



Name: Dakota Lee Raabe

Age: 18

Parents: Alan and Susan Raabe

Achievements: Two-year qualifier at state UIL level, participated in eight different areas; National Honor Society; in band for four years; statistician for basketball and baseball teams; FFA commercial steer division

Immediate plans: Plans to attend Texas A&M in College Station to study biomedical sciences and political science. He hopes to attend medical school and become an ophthalmologist and may pursue a public office in the future.


Name: Janine Victoria Smajstrla

Age: 18

Parents: Tyan Schulze and Victor Smajstrla

Achievements: Was a chapter and regional officer in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, regional and state qualifier in UIL, yearbook editor, member of band four years, member of the National Honor Society

Immediate plans: Plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin and major in business and interior design. She hopes to become a wedding consultant and also use her photography skills.



Name: Courtney Lynn High

Age: 18

Parents: Johnnie and Debra High

Achievements: Maintained all As for each grading period all through entire school career, district champion in UIL debate for three years, district champion in UIL accounting in 11th grade and second place in 12th grade, academic excellence award for world geography, Pre-AP biology, Pre-AP calculus, Spanish III, AP English III, AP calculus, anatomy and physiology and AP English, valedictorian for Industrial High School

GPA: 106.68571

Immediate plans: Attending Stephen F. Austin State University to run cross country and track and majoring in food and nutrition/dietetics.


Name: Lorrin Kuntz

Age: 18

Parents: Greg and Kelli Kuntz

Achievements: All As throughout school career, second place in district in literary criticism and advanced to regionals, academic excellence award in Pre-AP biology, Pre-AP English I, Pre-AP chemistry, Pre-AP physics, AP English IV, salutatorian

GPA: 105.0

Immediate Plans: Attending Texas A&M University to major in biomedical science.



Name: Coral Helen Jones

Parents: Todd and Renee Deaver

Achievements: President's Award for Educational Achievement, Academic Excellence Award, UIL award of excellence, Lone Star and Gold Leadership Academy attendee, 30 college credits at Victoria College with a 4.0 GPA

GPA: 103.759

Immediate plans: Plans to attend the Texas A&M University in College Station in the fall to major in engineering.


Name: Marcela Denise Leal

Age: 18

Parents: Eugene and Guadalupe Leal

Achievements: Salutatorian, National Honor Society member for three years, Flint Hills outstanding scholar-athlete, distinguished honor roll recipient throughout entire school career

GPA: 102.98

Immediate plans: Attend the University of Texas at Austin in the fall to pursue a degree in business management.

Sacred Heart


Name: Mary Kossa

Parents: Mike and Linda Kossa

Achievements: National Merit commended student, volunteer and staff member at CAMP Children's Association for Maximum Potential, National Honor Society vice president, Leo's Club treasurer, winner of biology Dia Del Rio research project, head drum major, state academic meet (second calculator, fourth science), Knowledge Bowl (third place), accepted into University of Texas Women in Natural Sciences program

GPA: 101.32


Name: Ariane Kubena

Parents: Chris and Julie Kubena

Achievements: Member of the National Honor Society; tennis MVP; basketball MVP; Chamber of Commerce outstanding student; softball district champion; Student Council president; head twirler; Victoria Advocate Knowledge Bowl, third place; duet acting, TAPPS State, fourth place; band sweetheart; received the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation Scholarship and the Beta Sigma Phi International Scholarship; member of the Lions Club

GPA: 101.23

Immediate plans: Plans to attend Baylor University and enroll in its pre-med program. After receiving her degree, she hopes to be active in charitable organizations like Doctors Without Borders or another group that assists with medical issues of those most in need.



Name: Ashley Marie Kolar

Age: 18

Parents: Dennis and Mary Kolar

Achievements: Accepted into Mays Business Honors Program, first place for cumulative top 10 award all four years, Board of Directors for Academic Excellence all four years; Student Council president

GPA: 100.9474

Immediate Plans: Plans to attend Texas A&M University in College Station, pursuing a degree in accounting at the Mays School of Business.


Name: Annie Dodson Gilliam

Age: 18

Parents: Daniel and Jamie Gilliam

Achievements: Top 10 award all four years, valedictorian, National Honor Society, soccer and track academic all-state

GPA: 100.9298

Immediate Plans: Plans to attend Texas A&M in College Station to pursue a degree in nutrition. She plans to go to medical school.



Name: Mason Luke Matias

Age: 18

Parents: Ronald and Janella Matias

Achievements: Participated in academic meets in number sense, mathematics and advanced mathematics. He was the TAPPS district champion in number sense in 2011 and 2013 and advanced to state all four years. In both 2012 and 2013, he placed fourth in number sense at the TAPPS State Academic Meet. Mason was a high honors student all of high school. He has been a member of the National Honor Society since his sophomore year and has served as secretary his senior year.

GPA: 4.0

Immediate Plans: Plans to attend University of Texas at Austin to major in mechanical engineering.


Name: Katie Lane Denson

Age: 18

Parents: Laurie and Glenn Jaeger and Wayne Denson

Achievements: Achieved high honors throughout high school and went to the TAPPS State Academic meet every year, placing fourth, fifth, second and second in spelling/vocabulary respectively; received the biology, religion II, English II, physics and religion IV subject awards. She has been a member of the National Honor Society since her sophomore year and served as the reporter her junior and senior years.

GPA: 4.0

Immediate plans: Plans to attend attend Texas Lutheran University in the fall on a Pacesetters scholarship to major in biology and minor in business.



Name: Lauren Nicole Cramer

Age: 18

Parents: Bob and Connie Cramer

Achievements: Valedictorian, Board of Trustees Academic Excellence Award (this is the highest honor from WISD), Presidential Academic Excellence Award, National Honor Society

Immediate plans: Plans to attend University of Texas at San Antonio in the fall to pursue a biomedical degree.


Name: Noorie Han

Age: 18

Parents: DaeSub and Sang Hee Han

Achievements: Salutatorian, Board of Trustees Academic Excellence Award, Presidential Academic Excellence Award, National Honor Society

Immediate plans: Plans to attend Southwestern University in Georgetown in the fall to pursue teaching degree.



Name: Heath Everett Kristek

Parents: Pat and Theresa Kristek

Achievements: Top of class all four years, member of National Honor Society, academic all-state basketball, received Donald Long Award for most outstanding student on and off the field

GPA: 4.47

Immediate plans: Planning to attend Texas A&M University in College Station to study nuclear engineering.


Name: Tyler Austin Kvinta

Parents: Chris and Kim Kvinta

Achievements: Best all-around boy, as selected by faculty; yearbook editor-in-chief of UIL top 10 percent in the state publication; first YHS editor to attend elite weekend national publications workshop; UIL current events and headline writing winner

GPA: 4.40

Immediate plans: Plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to study biology.



Name: Caitlin Bette Seifert

Parents: Darren and Laurie Seifert

Achievements: Four-year member of the FCA, livestock judging and FFA; treasurer sophomore year, secretary junior year and president senior year. Won Grand Champion Steer her sophomore and junior years and won Reserve Champion Steer her senior year. As a NHS member, she was parliamentarian her junior year and president her senior year. In varsity volleyball as a sophomore, junior and senior, she was a member of the first team all-district and all-state academic team. Caitlin was also a member of all-district first team and all-state academic team her sophomore and senior year for varsity basketball. She also played varsity softball all four years. She was a UIL regional qualifier in accounting and on the student council her senior year.

Immediate plans: Plans to attend Texas A&M University


Name: Dustin Metting

Parents: Todd and Laurie Metting

Achievements: A member of the National Honor Society; played football, basketball, track, golf all four years of high school; was a state track qualifier in the 300-meter hurdles in his senior year, also involved with Future Farmers of America

Immediate plans: Plans to attend Texas A&M to pursue an engineering degree.




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