The Tribune-Herald presents the first installment of the top high school graduates in McLennan County this year. The next group will be showcased June 25.

Graduates are presented in alphabetical order by school. Some schools did not provide complete information or photographs by deadline. Those graduates will be recognized after their information is received.

To ask questions, email or call 757-5750.

Crawford High School

Crawford val Bernhardt


Valedictorian: Kylee Bernhardt

Parents: Crystal and Henry Bernhardt

College plans: McLennan Community College to start, will study music performance and music business.

Top achievements: Waco Rotary Club academic recognition; Blake Barnes Outstanding Citizenship Award; two-time UIL regional qualifier; outstanding student in multiple subjects throughout high school.

Crawford sal Bracco


Salutatorian: Lance Bracco Jr.

Parents: Shonna and Lance Bracco Sr.

College plans: Howard Payne University, majoring in biomedical science to apply later to medical school. Will play football at HPU.

Top achievements: Presidential Scholar Scholarship to HPU; All-Academic honors; member of 2016 Class 2A, Division I football state finalist; Outstanding Math Award; alternate to state in 2017 UIL mathematics.


Gholson High School

Gholson val McCartney


Valedictorian: Cameron McCartney

Parents: Heather and Jason McCartney

College plans: Texas State University, majoring in physical therapy.

Top achievements: Accepted into the Honors College at Texas State University; National Honor Society; Smoaky’s Academic All-Star; student council president; KWTX Classroom Champion; Wendy’s Heisman Scholar.

Gholson sal Valdez-Tellez


Salutatorian: Ashley Valdez-Tellez

Parents: Maria and Lorenzo Valdez

College plans: McLennan Community College and then transfer to University of North Texas.

Top achievements: Accepted into the honors program at McLennan Community College; National Honor Society; student council; honor roll; numerous outstanding student awards for academic classes.


Mart High School

Mart val Bennett


Valedictorian: Colton Bennett

Parents: Barry and Susan Bennett

College plans: Texas A&M University, wants to become a physical therapist.

Top achievements: Academic All-State in basketball; four-time regional qualifier in golf; state qualifier in dairy cattle evaluation; two-time regional qualifier in extemporaneous speaking; graduated with a perfect 100 average.

Mart sal Williams


Salutatorian: Ilexus Williams

Parents: Derek and Vanessa Williams

College plans: Sam Houston State University, will pursue a career in law.

Top achievements: State qualifier in the 400-meter relay (2016); regional champion in 400-meter relay (2016); regional qualifier in UIL One-Act Play; district champion in poetry interpretation; mentor to a child.


McGregor High School

McGregor val Boles


Valedictorian: Blake Boles

Parents: Dr. Keith and Lori Boles

College plans: Texas A&M University, will choose specific major sophomore year, likely biomedical engineering.

Top achievements: Scored in 99th percentile on PSAT/NMSQT; presented the Year II rockets class flight profile prediction Excel project at NASA; voted Most Likely to Succeed by senior class; personal-best 13 feet in pole vault at regional meet; Academic All-State Elite Teams in tennis and golf.

McGregor sal Graves


Salutatorian: Mary Graves

Parents: Dr. Frank and Ramona Graves

College plans: Michigan State University, majoring in supply chain management and Spanish.

Top achievements: Class president; Spanish Club founder and president; Robotics Club president; Super Centex girls basketball first team; Academic All-State girls basketball.


Midway High School

Midway val Kim


Valedictorian: Edward S. Kim

Parents: Sung-Kun Kim and Sang-Nam Yi

College plans: Harvard University, majoring in chemistry/premedicine.

Top achievements: Best of Category and 1st Grand Award in Biochemistry at 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (MIT named a minor planet in his honor); Discovery Education & 3M Young Scientist Challenge Top Ten finalist; National Merit Finalist; National Honor Society president; All-State violinist in Camerata Orchestra.

Midway sal Mathis


Salutatorian: Robert Mathis

Parents: Terry and Susan Mathis

College plans: University of Texas at Austin, majoring in psychology.

Top achievements: UIL One-Act Play All-Star Cast (at district, bi-district and Area levels); National Spanish Exam medalist (bronze, Spanish I; silver, Spanish II and III); Panther Players vice president; National Honor Society secretary; cellist in Camerata Orchestra.


Rapoport Academy — Meyer High School

Rapoport val Garman


Valedictorian: Charis Garman

Parents: Chris and Stephanie Garman

College plans: Harvard University, studying neurobiology and classics.

Top achievements: PALs program; earned associate’s degree at MCC before graduating high school; interned in emergency room at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center; QuestBridge Scholar; accepted to Harvard.

Rapoport sal Millington


Salutatorian: Jonathan Millington

Parents: James and Kim Millington

Plans after high school: Midwestern State University for a semester before entering the Navy as a linguist.

Top achievements: National Merit Commended Student; Duke TIP National Scholar; earned two associate’s degrees from MCC before graduating high school; Rapoport Oxygen Future Scientist Award (2015); National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Award of Excellence.


Texas Christian Academy

Texas Christian val Steinke


Valedictorian: Mckenzie Steinke

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Steinke

College plans: Baylor University

Top achievements: National Honor Society president; Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo Scholarship; Baylor University Invitation to Excellence Scholarship; TCA varsity volleyball Servant’s Heart Award; TCA Star 95 Award.

Texas Christian sal Karr


Salutatorian: Michael Karr

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Roy F. Karr IV

College plans: Baylor University

Top achievements: Daughters of American Revolution Good Citizen Award; Waco Rotary Club Youth Citizenship Award nominee; National Honor Society vice president; Waco Youth City Council; TCA Star 95 Award.


University High School

University val Rangel


Valedictorian: Samuel Rangel

Parents: Carmen Rangel and Reynaldo Rangel

College plans: Texas A&M University, majoring in engineering.

Top achievements: Academic Achiever (three years); Dell Scholar and scholarship recipient; senior class president; member of academic decathlon team; varsity tennis (placed second in district in singles).

University sal Betters


Salutatorian: Jazmyne Betters

Parent: Rosalind Shelton

College plans: University of Houston, majoring in psychology.

Top achievements: Academic Achiever (three years); Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute participant; A.J. Moore Academies Business Advisory Board Scholarship; regional qualifier in track and field regional; Academic All-State in volleyball.


Waco High School

Waco val Miller


Valedictorian: Haley Miller

Parents: Trey and Paula Miller

College plans: Texas A&M University as a Terry Scholar and in the Business Honors Program in Mays Business School

Top achievements: Academic Achiever (three years); National Honor Society (three years, president senior year); AP Scholar with Honors; member of state-qualifying Mock Trial team; Waco Youth Council; Cotton Palace princess.

Waco sal Bain


Salutatorian: Fallon Bain

Parents: Judge Virgil and Glenda Bain

College plans: Baylor University on President’s Gold Scholarship

Top achievements: National Honor Society (three years); AP Scholar with Distinction; Academic Achiever (three years); Symphony Belle; senior company dancer at Laurie’s Stepping Out Studio; member/volunteer at First Lutheran Church.


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