Out of more than 2,000 students at Copperas Cove High School, 10 rose to the top to be nominated for the Excellence in Life Award sponsored by Smile at the World Orthodontics.

“These kids are academically good, but they aren’t No. 1, 2, or 3 in their class,” said Amal Baty, coordinator of Academic and Student Activities for CCHS, who nominated the students. “We recognize them because we see what they’ve been doing, how they perform and how they endured and came out on top.”

Jocelyn Ramirez, 17, a member of student council, the Principal Leadership Advisory Committee, FCCLA and a cheerleader, has come a long way since the start of her high school career, Baty said.

Ramirez said her dedication comes from her desire to leave behind a legacy of success.

“I want to grow up and look back at my high school years and know that I did something that people will remember me for — good things.”

The teen’s future plans include attending Central Texas College for two years and then transferring to Texas State University to pursue photography.

Although Marquise Moreland, 17, experienced several setbacks in his high school career, he continued on to excel academically, Baty said.

Moreland, co-captain of the Cove Bulldawg basketball team, aspires to study engineering at the University of Texas in Austin. He admitted to being surprised by the award but said he is confident it will not be his last.

“It’s nice to get recognized for all of the hard work that I do,” Moreland said. “But, this is just another step on my journey, and hopefully a small step.”

Last month, the students were honored at the annual Excellence in Life Banquet held at the Bell County Expo Center.

“We take a little time to recognize each student,” said Rachel Clark, patient relations coordinator for Smile at the World Orthodontics. “We hope that it’s inspirational for them and lets them know that they are important and that what they’re doing is noticed.”

The other students recognized from CCHS were Tyler King, Victoria Slater, Jacob Ponseti, Kalianna O’Sullivan, Alexus Johnson, Lucus McKee, Elijah Timarky, and Hunter McVeigh. All are eligible to win a $1,000 scholarship drawn at random.

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