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EMS ISD Celebrates Class of 2023 Top Graduates
Congratulations to Boswell Congratulations to the Boswell, Chisholm Trail and Saginaw High School Valedictorians and Salutatorians for the EMS ISD Commencement Class of 2023! We are #EMSproud of these scholars and their commitment to academic success.
The BHS, CTHS and SHS campus graduations will take place at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth on Saturday, May 27. The CTHS ceremony begins at 10 am, the BHS ceremony begins at 2 pm, and the SHS ceremony begins at 6 pm. The event also will be live streamed for those who are unable to attend in person: www.emsisd.com/graduation.
Boswell High School
Valedictorian | Kim Bui
Kim Bui has attended EMS ISD schools since second grade, beginning with Elkins Elementary School, then attending Creekview Middle School and Boswell High School. During her time at Boswell, she competed in UIL Computer Science. Some of her favorite memories from EMS ISD come from her engineering classes.
“In my 8th grade engineering class, I, with some help from a partner, built a bridge made of balsa wood. Balsa wood is one of the weakest types of wood, yet that bridge managed to carry 135 pounds before breaking,” she said. “In my drone engineering class, some of my fondest memories are developing and designing a drone and package delivery system with my team to compete against others.”
Recognitions while at Boswell include being an AP Scholar with Distinction, winning second in UIL Computer Science in the individual category, and first in UIL Computer Science in the team category, being an Honors graduate and a Presidential Scholar.
“Being the valedictorian means a great deal to me. Not only does it represent my great dedication towards learning, but it also highlights the main reason driving me to improve myself – my parents,” Bui said. “My parents are immigrants from Vietnam, and they left their families, their friends, their entire life in Vietnam to move to the United States so that I may receive a good education and build a better life here. Being the valedictorian illustrates my efforts to take advantage of those opportunities, to not squander those opportunities, and I am forever grateful to my parents for their efforts and sacrifices for me.”
Bui will attend The University of Texas at Dallas in the fall to major in computer science and pursue a career as a software engineer with a focus on the development of artificial intelligence. Congratulations to Kim Bui on becoming Boswell’s 2023 Valedictorian.
Boswell High School
Salutatorian | Karla Fuentes Maldonado
Karla Fuentes Maldonado has attended EMS ISD for the last four years at Boswell High School. Throughout her time at BHS, she served as vice president of the National Honor Society, was a drum major in the Boswell Band of Gold, played in the Wind Ensemble and served as Band Council president. Fuentes Maldonado also served as president of the Student Council for two years and served as the recording secretary for district three and the state secretary for the Texas Association of Student Councils.
“My favorite memories in EMS ISD are being in the marching band on football game days. Each week, students anticipate Friday Night Lights. Every Friday is filled with excitement from all students, as so many of us play a role in making the games happen,” she said. “Being in the bandstands lets you directly feel the excitement from the crowd and the students. Performing our halftime show in the stadium lights is a magical experience, with the crowd watching, and only being given one chance to put it all out on the field. Being a drum major, you lead the band through tempo and music performance, and I would do anything to feel those same adrenaline rushes I felt in October.”
Fuentes Maldonado received recognition in several areas while at Boswell, including being a Presidental Scholar, receiving her AP Capstone Diploma, and being an AP Scholar with Distinction.
Of all the teachers who impacted Fuentes Maldonado over the last four years, she says Casey Gause had the biggest impact.
“Mr. Gause is a teacher who truly loves his job, and this is apparent to any student who walks into his classroom. He is patient, understanding and dedicated, making his classes engaging, even to those who may not want to be there,” she said. “Mr. Gause guided me towards my career goals, my passion and to my future. Mr. Gause will continue to change the lives of students, just as he did with me.”
After graduation, Fuentes Maldonado plans to attend Texas Christian University as a Chancellor’s Scholar, on a full scholarship, to pursue a degree in psychology. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a master’s degree and a doctorate in clinical psychology. Congratulations to Karla Fuentes Maldonado on becoming Boswell’s 2023 Salutatorian.
Chisholm Trail High School
Valedictorian | Reaghan Jones
Reaghan Jones has attended EMS ISD schools since the third grade, including Parkview Elementary School, Creekview Middle School and Chisholm Trail High School. Jones stayed active during her time at Chisholm Trail High School. She participated in volleyball, serving as a varsity co-captain, was inducted into the National Honor Society and served as the president, was inducted into Gold Standard and served as the treasurer, served as the varsity choir secretary, the vice president of the 11th grade class, a representative on EMS ISD’s Student Voice committee, was a three-time regional qualifier in UIL Number Sense and the manager for the gymnastics team.
“Being Valedictorian has been a long-time goal of mine because my sister was the Valedictorian last year and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. I know that she would be proud of me no matter what rank I was, but at the same time, I wanted to make her proud. I have always looked up to her. Watching how hard she worked for it made me realize that I wanted it, too,” Jones said. “Since my freshman year, I worked as hard as I could. I did not know if I would be able to sustain number one, but I just gave it my all. I knew that being in choir and volleyball would cause my GPA to go down some, but I could not imagine giving them up, even if it meant I would not be Valedictorian. I made sure to listen to what my parents told me: ‘Work hard, give your best, and have fun. We will be proud of you no matter what happens.’”
Jones has received many accolades during her time at CTHS, including receiving her AP Capstone Diploma with Honors and receiving the 12th-grade and ninth-grade CTHS Character Award for Respect through Relationships. She was named a UIL Scholar for Volleyball, Choir and Number Sense, received the Ranger of Distinction History Award in 2023 and 2022, the Ranger of Distinction Math Award in 2022, 2021 and 2020, and the Ranger of Distinction Science Award in 2020. She won the 2021 Ranger Trail Blazer Award, twice qualified for state solo and ensemble choir and was named to All-District Choir.
Jones says her favorite memories at EMS ISD come from serving on the EMS ISD Student Voice committee.
“I have loved meeting with students from other schools and hearing about their experiences as well as sharing mine,” she said. “We would have the opportunity to brag about what our schools were doing really well but also provide input on new ideas, the cafeteria food, security and so much more. Most of all, I loved being able to spend time with Dr. Parker and Dr. Barnes because they have been so supportive and encouraging to me.”
Jones will attend Texas A&M University in the fall to study architecture-environmental design. She plans to also pursue a master’s degree in sustainable architecture before building her own firm and continuing her mission work in Asia. Congratulations to Reaghan Jones for becoming Chisholm Trail’s 2023 Valedictorian.
Chisholm Trail High School
Salutatorian | James Parker IV
James Parker IV is an EMS ISD Original, attending EMS ISD since kindergarten at Remington Point Elementary School, then Ed Willkie Middle School and Chisholm Trail High School. Parker participated in a broad range of activities during his time at CTHS, including tennis, being inducted into Gold Standard and National Honor Society, participating in UIL Math, UIL Computer Science and UIL Speech and Debate, competing in the Team American Rocketry Competition in his course at EMS ISD’s Hollenstein Career and Technology Center, and serving as co-president of the calculus club.
“When I took the aerospace engineering class at HCTC, it was a feeling like no other,” he said. “With minimal help, our team launched several rockets and qualified for a national competition.”
Parker has also received several recognitions, including Outstanding Student Award – Science, the Ranger Award of Excellence – AP Physics 1, Ranger Award of Excellence – AP US History, being an AP Scholar of Distinction, winning the Outstanding Student Award – Career and Technical Education for AP computer science and winning a silver medal in tennis.
About earning the distinction of salutatorian, Parker said, “It is a matter of proving to myself that hard work can bring great things in life.”
He will attend the University of Texas at Dallas and plans to major in computer science. Congratulations to James Parker IV for becoming Chisholm Trail’s 2023 Salutatorian.
Saginaw High School
Valedictorian | Katelynn Lager
Katelynn Lager has attended EMS ISD for the past four years at Saginaw High School. As a Saginaw Rough Rider, Lager has been involved in UIL Ready Writing, UIL Literary Criticism, National Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society – serving as treasurer of both, and the Spirit of Saginaw High School Band where she was a drum major. She is also an AP Scholar with Honors.
“My favorite memories are of Friday Night Lights, playing and having fun with the band,” Lager said. “Just being amongst my band family has been my favorite experience.”
About being the valedictorian, Lager said, "It is proof that my hard work has paid off. It is a symbol of my accomplishments, and I am very proud to have achieved this position.”
Lager will attend the University of Texas at Arlington to major in biology with a plan to attend optometry school. Congratulations to Katelynn Lager on becoming Saginaw’s 2023 Valedictorian.
Saginaw High School
Salutatorian | Andy Nguyen
Andy Nguyen is an EMS Original, attending EMS ISD schools since kindergarten, including Northbrook Elementary School, Prairie Vista Middle School and Saginaw High School. He has been involved in UIL Computer Science, UIL Solo and Ensemble, the Spirit of Saginaw Marching and Concert Band, and Mock Trial. Accolades at SHS include the designation as an AP Scholar with Distinction, being a Mock Trial District Champion and National Qualifier, and medaling at the UIL Brock Invitational debate contest.
Nguyen’s favorite memory in EMS ISD came when, as an SHS student, he had the opportunity to return to Prairie Vista Middle School to honor his English teacher, Coach Dodson, who was retiring. All the other students attending the farewell gathering played tennis for Coach Dodson, and Nguyen was the only student there who knew Dodson solely as an English teacher.
Further demonstrating the impact of the world-class educators in EMS ISD, Nguyen also points out the impact his AP Physics teacher and Mock Trail Coach, Peter Branca, had on him.
“What makes any teacher special is their ability to go beyond their teacher contract,” Nguyen said. “Mr. Branca is able to show the applicability of his physics in real-life scenarios. Through his mock trial class, I learned to become a better orator, articulate more eloquently and project my voice. He has a passion for teaching and genuinely cares for the development of his students.”
After graduation, Nguyen plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to major in computer science. Congratulations to Andy Nguyen on becoming Saginaw’s 2023 Salutatorian.