TEMPLE — In celebration of a large high-achieving class, the Texas Bioscience Institute Middle College awarded silver honor cords last Wednesday to 86 high school seniors completing the two-year dual credit program.

The slender, silver cord of rope serves as sleek, formal symbol to a whole lot of work and a whole lot of promise.

Those high-achieving students represent 11 area high schools as well as home schools and include 46 Killeen ISD seniors.

Fifteen students from Harker Heights High School — the most from any single campus — were among those recognized at the ceremony.

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Chemistry, Environmental Science and Geology Department Chair Ruth Ann Murphy praised students during the ceremony at the Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center on the Temple College campus.

In addition to completing the rigorous bioscience curriculum, silver cord recipients earned 16 hours of community service and 16 hours of job shadowing. A total of 83 of the students are on track to earn associate’s degrees as well as high school diplomas in coming weeks.

Combining the rigors of college-level bioscience with advanced high school work was challenging, but several students said it was well worth their effort to get ahead in their schooling and to connect with similar-minded peers from across the region.

Harker Heights High School senior Steven White praised the environment at the Temple College-based bioscience program.

He said students enjoyed more autonomy than they are used to on the high school campus.

“There was an expectation for us to make our own decisions and allocate our time,” he said. The mix of students from different schools, White said, built friendships and developed leadership.

“It was fun from day one,” said Ellison senior TianiSiuai. “We struggled through it together and got a great head start. It’s a blessing. I think a lot of us have something special and we can get into it sooner and make a change.”

She echoed some of the keynote speaker’s remarks. The UMHB chemistry professor and department chair told students their skills provide them opportunity to continue advancing medicine to eradicate diseases and to research solutions for issues like global warming.

“It’s about being with like-minded people,” said Shoemaker High School senior Miya Leonidis, “there is a lot of collaboration, a lot of different ideas and beliefs. I am a better collaborator from being here.”

“It’s a wonderful experience,” said Killeen High School senior Kiara Vaughters. “At first, the coursework was challenging, but the professors are great and help us succeed. It’s great getting two years of college knocked out and I built relationships I would not have had.”

Murphy pointed out that the students, set to graduate from both college and high school have already learned to ask for help when needed, to be problem solvers and problem preventers and to be self-confident.

Silver Cord recipients include the following:

Ellison High School – TianiSiuai Ah Sang, Chantelle Cancel, Lauren Cassidy, Jacqueline Dauz, Jazmine Jade Dauz, Aliya Gonzalez, DuhaKesbeh, Laiba Khan, Carolyn Orona, Angelina Perez, Amaya Reeves and Trisha Reeves.

Harker Heights High School – Haley Brown, Makayla Brown, Pierson Delapaz, Jannel Hayden, Alicia Holley, Pete Lealiiee, Christina Marcussen, Saphire Maxwell, Jeesoo Min, Alana Ordonez, Valeria Otero-Hiraldo, Jackson Post, Rana Radwan, Raven Stidom and Steven White.

Killeen High School – Ryan Black, Alyssa Cabading, Henry Castillo, Armando Cruz, DjhavonDormeus, Kezia Jones, Littzy Paredes-Brignoni, Elizabeth Payne, Diego Pena-Orbe and Kiara Vaughters.

Shoemaker High School – Anjelique Gregor, Miya Leonidis, Erika McElveen, Isaiah Sears, Cierra Weddle, Alicia Wegmann, Alexia Wilkinson and Alyssia Wilkinson.

Belton High School – Isabella Auker, Jazmin Curley, Dante Denley, Allison Jones, Makenzie Katzer, Kamryn Madden, Kyle Patterson, Kara Paulk, Eric Perrier, Basel Wahab, and Austin Woodard.

Temple High School – Victoria Aramanda, Jasmine Armendariz, Lauren Bailey, Kenna Burke, Ariana Caddie, Antonio Escobedo, Ashlyn Farley, David Karr, Kevin Montelongo, Sonja Ramirez, Carlie Santiago, Jenna Southerland, Molly Strong and Grace Thompson.

Troy High School – Levi Pierce and George Robinson.

Cameron Yoe High School – Blake Cole

Gatesville High School – Austin Byler

Home Schooled – Kenneth Durham III, Kelby Kosel, Sienna Taylor, Rowan Via and Bridget Hudnall.

Rogers High School – Katelyn Erskine, Alexis Lara, John Marshall, Caitlin Stanke and Kelsie Watson.

Salado High School – Eliot Mettenbrink, Sebastian Welch and Aaron Wilkerson.

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