Carlos Garcia, 17, is the valedictorian, and Kathryn Spickermann, 18, is the salutatorian.
Commencement is set for 8:30 p.m. Friday at Ratliff Stadium.
Garcia plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin and study civil engineering. He hopes to start his own company, or work for the state. He plans to stay in Austin, or move to San Antonio or the Dallas area.
Spickermann also is heading to UT Austin to major in international relations and studies. She would like to join the diplomatic corps and perhaps become an ambassador.
Being in the top 10 and valedictorian, Garcia said, is barely sinking in.
“My mom always wanted to sit down there for the top 10 graduation. It always just stuck to me. I wanted to get there. I accomplished that,” Garcia said.
“Since junior high, I’ve been keeping my grades up so I was kind of expecting it, but I was very eager whenever they announced second and first,” he added.
The first time he met Spickermann was freshman year and they had a world geography class together. But Spickermann took the International Baccalaureate pathway, “so we kind of separated there,” but the last days of school, he was getting to know her better.
Among the top 10 students, Garcia said, there was competition.
“We were all asking who’s who; what rank are you? Always trying to know who was in what rank …,” Garcia said.
Ultimately, he wants to build roads and bridges. He said his grandfather works for Jones Brothers and his father works for the Texas Department of Transportation as a project manager.
“I’m excited,” Garcia said of commencement. “I can’t wait for graduation to come. I’m going to have to do a speech in front of around 15,000 people.”
Through Carlos, Garcia’s mother, Juanita Garcia, said she always trusted in her son and is very happy about his achievement.
Spickermann said she got interested in joining the diplomatic corps because of her love of history. Because history is intertwined with politics, she knew she wanted to pursue something in government.
“… But I didn’t want to run for president or senate or anything. I feel like diplomats have a very unique and really cool job, especially with keeping peace …,” Spickermann said.
She added that she is very excited to be in the top two and has worked very hard for it.
“Although the speech is kind of scary,” she said.
Spickermann said there wasn’t much competition for her among the top students.
“I mostly worked hard for myself. I didn’t really compare myself to others and then Carlos and I are completely different classes and I feel like our class work and workloads in general are very uncomparable. We both have a lot of things that are stressful. ..,” Spickermann said.
Her advice for students who want to make the top 10 is time management.
“And realizing that if you want success, you do have to work for it; and just think, you may be suffering now but that will turn out in the end,” Spickermann said.
Her mother Lorraine Spickermann said Kathryn has “done a fabulous job.”
“She’s worked long and hard for this,” Lorraine Spickermann said.