Thursday, May 28, 2020
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20190513 PioneerTop10With a little under a month to go before graduation, the Sharyland Independent School District celebrated the achievements of the Top 10 students at the Sharyland Pioneer High School campus Monday with a banquet in their owner.

Held at the Cimarron Country Club, the Top 10 ranked students at Pioneer were invited to attend a banquet and bring along their family and the educator they credit for serving as their mentor throughout high school.

Each of the 10 students were awarded a Chromebook by the district, and spoke about their experiences in high school, and how much their mentor impacted them.

“It would not be possible for us to be who we are today or to accomplish what we have without some form of guidance,” Pioneer Valedictorian Michael J. Landavazo said. “Whether it be our parents, siblings, grandparents, community members and educators, I’m sure each and every one of us has had the privilege of being accompanied by a wise set of eyes that we have used to benefit us academically and personally.”

Landavazo said he plans to attend Texas A&M University in College Station to major in Biomedical Sciences to become a pediatric oral surgeon. He picked Janie Reyna, his Spanish teacher and student council sponsor, as his mentor.

“She has been part of my life for two years, she was the rock who pulled us back to work. No other teacher can compare to her, for she has shaped each and every one of us to be themselves,” Landavazo said, “She uses love and encouragement to make sure our own well-being is taken care off.”

Outgoing district school board President Melissa Smith praised the students whose hard work was being recognized, and the teachers who pushed them to work hard.

“We truly honor Sharyland’s best and tonight we honor Pioneer’s leaders, as well as the educational leaders who helped them,” Smith said. “This is a room full of leaders and I’m honored to be here.”

Salutatorian Madison R. Sparks, who also plans to attend Texas A&M University in College Station, said her fellow Top 10 classmates defied stereotypes of “nerdy” high school students.

“I can assure you, we’re surrounded by some of the most likable, athletic, driven, musically gifted individuals of our generation,” Sparks said. “I’m happy to call them all my closest friends. We’ve endured a lot together and have shared similar experiences. Our drive to succeed, and refusal to settle for complacency, led us to this point.”

As her mentor, Sparks picked Theatre Director Charles Brenner, a teacher Sparks said she felt honored to have taught her.

“I’m eager to further my education at College Station,” Sparks said to her classmates. “I feel well prepared to make my mark on this road, as should each of you. Soon we will depart and begin a new journey in our lives, we can thank Pioneer High School for teaching us to never walk on the grass, and to also equip us with knowledge we will use to succeed in our future careers.”

Pioneer Principal James Heath praised not just the 10 students being recognized, but every member of the Pioneer High School Class of 2019 for their hard work in the last several years.

“We have so many kids who do so much and have a lot of talent and support, these students work their tails off,” Heath said. “Students leave this place and walk out onto better things, and we’re left with the memories of what they mean to us. It’s such an important part of our lives for teachers and educators that we have to prepare these students for their post-high school life. It’s an honor from the bottom of our hearts to guide them to that stage of their lives.”

The graduation ceremony for the Sharyland Pioneer High School class of 2019 is set for Sunday, June 2 at 4 p.m. in the State Farm Arena.