The Tribune-Herald presents the second installment of the top high school graduates in McLennan County this year. The final group will be showcased June 16.

Graduates are presented in alphabetical order by school. Some schools have yet to provide information or photographs. Those graduates will be recognized after their information is received.

To ask questions, email ksury@wacotrib.com or call 757-5750.


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Valedictorian • Luke Garst

Parents: Eddie and Tammy Garst

Plans: Attend Baylor University in the Business Fellows Program, majoring in accounting and economics.

Achievements: DAR Good Citizen Award; National Honor Society (10th-12th grades); first place in mechanical engineering at Central Texas Science and Engineering Fairs at local and regional levels; TAPPS 2A boys doubles tennis state champion; TAPPS 3A Academic All-State tennis.

Editor’s note: Live Oak recognizes only one top graduate.



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Valedictorian • Olivia Pankonien

Parents: Gene and Nannette Pankonien

Plans: Attend Texas A&M University, majoring in animal science with a minor in nutrition.

Achievements: Brazos Education Foundation Scholarship; Rotary Club of Waco Youth Citizenship finalist; Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo Scholarship; Texas FFA Lone Star Degree; Texas 4-H Gold Star Award.


Salutatorian • Vicky Gerik

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Parents: Jilji Gerik and the late Eugene Gerik Jr.

Plans: Attend McLennan Community College and major in business.

Achievements: National Honor Society; FFA; Barbara Lynette Potts Memorial Scholarship; Marion Martin Award; Mart Ministerial Alliance Scholarship; St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Scholarship.


Valedictorian • Haeun Moon

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Parents: Sungho and Sojung Moon

Plans: Attend Harvard University in the fall, majoring in international relations. She is interested in incorporating the arts into diplomacy.

Achievements: National Merit Scholarship Award, National AP Scholar; National Young Arts Winner for Music (2018); “From the Top’s” Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award; National Honor Society president.


Salutatorian • Nathaniel Hejduk

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Parents: Matthew and Julia Hejduk

Plans: Attend Rice University, majoring in computer science.

Achievements: National Merit Finalist; AP Scholar with Distinction; WordWright champion; member of Meistersingers and Chamber Singers; National Honor Society vice president.



Valedictorian • Elizabeth Perkins

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Parents: Tracy and Heather Perkins

Plans: Attend McLennan Community College, then transfer to university on a tennis scholarship. Wants to become art teacher and coach.

Achievements: Waco Rotary Youth Citizen; Smoaky’s Academic All Star; Lions Club academic recognition; Academic All-State golf; National Honor Society.


Salutatorian • Maggie McGriff

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Parents: Paulisa Mathison and Thomas McGriff

Plans: Attend the University of Texas at Arlington and pursue a bachelor’s in nursing, specializing in trauma.

Achievements: A honor roll; band president; FCCLA vice president; serves veterans by playing taps and placing flags at cemeteries.



Valedictorian • Riley Sloan

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Parents: Melissa and Stephen Sloan

Plans: Attend Baylor University, majoring in social work and minoring in psychology.

Achievements: Baylor University Invitation to Excellence Scholarship; 2019 Waco Rotary Club Youth Citizenship Award finalist; National Honor Society secretary; student body president.


Salutatorian • Victoria Williams

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Family: Suporia Williams (mother) and Dannie Archie (grandfather)

Plans: Attend the University of Texas at Arlington to study nursing in the Honors College.

Achievements: Brazos Education Foundation Scholarship ($16,000); Alpha Kappa Alpha Scholarship; earned associate of arts degree from McLennan Community College; student body vice president; National Honor Society treasurer.



Valedictorian • Matthew Mendiola

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Parents: Mike and Dianne Mendiola

Plans: Attend Trinity University, majoring in math and computer science

Achievements: Trinity Tower Full Tuition Scholarship; Bishop Reicher Award; Waco Rotary Youth Citizenship Award nominee; FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) Worlds division finalist; National Merit Commended Student.


Salutatorian • Elizabeth “Essie” Klausmeyer

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Parents: Devin and Rizalia Klausmeyer

Plans: Attend Baylor University, majoring in economics.

Achievements: National Hispanic Scholar; Baylor Invitation to Excellence Scholarship; National Spanish Exam medalist; All-District first-team basketball selection; Jose Alonzo Award.



Valedictorian • Steven Searcy

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Parents: Steve and Christy Searcy

Plans: Attend Tarleton State University to study kinesiology.

Achievements: Academic All-State first-team selection for baseball and football.


Salutatorian • Chandler Dodge

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Parents: Ronnie and Carla Dodge

Plans: Attend Texas State University to major in exercise and sports science and become a coach/teacher.

Achievements: Most Representative Senior; Student Council president; National Honor Society president; Academic All-State first-team baseball selection; Phi Theta Kappa at MCC, graduating with 30 college credit hours.



Valedictorian • Kaegan Walker

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Parents: Stephen and Dawn Walker

Plans: Attend Texas A&M University, majoring in mechanical engineering.

Achievements: Texas Sports Writers Association All-State volleyball second team (2017); Super Centex volleyball first team (2017, 2018); senior class president; National Honor Society vice president; Link leader.


Salutatorian • Claire Crow

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Parents: J.C. and Jennifer Crow

Plans: Attend Texas A&M University, majoring in nutrition.

Achievements: National Honor Society president; Texas 4-H District 8 vice chairman; State Healthy Texas Youth ambassador; Heart of Texas Junior Cycling; Student Council.


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