With parents, teachers and administrators in attendance, Odessa High School’s top 10 students were honored with a luncheon in the school’s performing arts center.
The students may have different goals and destinations, but they all worked hard to get where they are.
Three of the 10 are Nathan Sanchez-Juarez, Katelyn Dockall and Jonathan Dominguez, all 18 years old.
Sanchez-Juarez will be attending Texas A&M University to study petroleum engineering.
Dockall also intends to become an Aggie to study animal science and go into veterinary medicine while Dominguez is heading to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin to study political science and ultimately become a lawyer.
Sanchez-Juarez, who is No. 9, said he’s known his rank since junior year.
“But I kind of prayed I’d stay up there and I wouldn’t be bumped off,” he said.
He added that he didn’t know about the class rankings until he was in ninth grade at Ector Middle School.
“I was No. 3 at the time,” Sanchez-Juarez said. “It wasn’t really a goal I set out to do; I just kind of fell into it, but once I knew about it in junior year I kind of tried a little harder.”
As a senior project, he and Dockall organized a color run that raised $624 for Hope House, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for patients during cancer treatment by providing lodging and services, its website says.
He said graduation has been a long time coming.
“I’m excited, but I’m kind of scared to leave after all this time,” Sanchez-Juarez said.
Dockall said she thought being in the top 10 was “pretty cool,” but she did want to stay up in the rankings so she had to keep her grades up.
She said it taught her the value of hard work.
Dominguez said it’s exciting to be in the top 10 and he set out to be in the mix, just because he thought it would be “cool.”
Mauricio Marquez, who is wrapping up his first year as OHS principal, said he was impressed with this group of students.
“It’s just an amazing group of young men and young ladies. I couldn’t be prouder of a group of kids. … Like I said at the board meeting the other night, they have had so many accomplishments. They’re involved in so many extracurricular activities; they hold jobs,” Marquez said.
“What I said the other day was I love this group of kids because they’re more than just a GPA. They are already contributing members to our society because all of the programs and all the different volunteer work and charities that they’ve been involved in. (It’s) truly an amazing group of kids and I’m truly blessed to have been a part of their last year here at Odessa High.”
He estimated the senior class at 600 students.
Marquez said his first year has been a great experience.
He added that he wants to show students that anything is possible if students work hard and challenge themselves.
Marquez noted that education is something no one can take away from you.
“And ultimately, it’s their ticket to many, many opportunities in the future,” he said.