The Killeen Independent School District honored the academic all-stars of the Class of 2018 and the teachers and mentors who helped them shine.

At the KISD Education Foundation’s annual Starmakers Banquet on Monday, the star power of student excellence and the community that supports them lit up the stage at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center and inspired the large audience of well-wishers.

The celebration event honored the 10 academically top-ranked students from Killeen, Ellison, Shoemaker and Harker Heights high schools and each outstanding students’ choice of distinguished teacher.

The most-honored teacher of the evening, Harker Heights High School orchestra teacher James Clarkson, pointed out the students deserved the communitywide accolade and more. Three top 10 students chose him as their most influential teacher.

“Our kids deserve all that and more,” Clarkson said after walking across the stage with three different students. The students who chose him, the popular teacher said, have been part of orchestra through middle school and high school.

“They take care of their regular high school work, they earn an associate’s degree (through the Texas Bioscience Institute) and they contribute so much to our program,” he said. “I am honored to be a part of that — to get to watch and to motivate. I can’t help but be proud.”

With all their accomplishments, the orchestra teacher said, the high-ranking students maintain a humble attitude, needing a push to step into the spotlight.

The most honored student of the night, Roy Allen of Killeen High School, won the $10,000 Kliewer Family Leadership Award. He was shocked and quick to credit others.

“It’s really icing on the cake,” he said, “adding something great to all of this. I really appreciate the Kliewer family.” He plans to attend Rice University and study biology and continue to medical school.

Lee Horton of Harker Heights High School and Isabel Burfict of Ellison High School received $1,000 awards as finalists in the leadership award.

Martin Angulo of Shoemaker High School chose to honor one of his elementary school teachers Laura Young. “She was really a big influence on my life,” he said. “She always said ‘the sky is not the limit.’ She taught me to look to the future.”

Koshon Williams of Shoemaker High School chose an untraditional mentor, school custodian Adrian “AJ” Thomas. He is well-known around the campus for being available for advice. “Everyone knows him and he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves,” Williams said.

“It caught me off guard,” Thomas said. “I do try to help people. I’m stunned, honored and humbled.”

Ellison High School top graduate David Warnke chose his fifth-grade teacher Vivian Norman. “It’s very special,” she said. “I’m most honored that he would think of me after all these years.”

“These students truly are the stars in KISD,” said Education Foundation Director Joyce Hodson. “Their chosen teachers who impacted, empowered and encouraged them are the Starmakers.”

Superintendent John Craft praised the students and teachers and thanked the donors that have supported the Foundation for 18 years, leading to $2,028,191 in total distributed grants to teachers and scholarships to students through the years.

This year, the foundation received almost $100,000 in its employee campaign and $186,327 in its annual campaign and distributed $75,000 in classroom grants in the fall, $55,000 in professional development grants in the spring and $72,000 in scholarships.

This year’s top 10 soon-to-graduate seniors from each high school and their chosen teachers are:

Shoemaker High School

  • Martin Angulo
  • Laura Young
  • Burt Cruz II
  • Michael Rodriguez
  • Emily Martinez Cumba
  • Don Webster
  • Maleya Neal
  • Angela Burkes
  • Lexee Romine
  • Jacqueline Draper
  • Myra Simon
  • Central Hicks
  • Michae Villegas
  • Gwendolyn Barnard
  • Dakota Widenor
  • Mike Bartoszek
  • Koshon Williams
  • Adrian Thomas
  • Makenzie Wolf
  • Dalia Lopez-Wintz

Killeen High School

  • Roy Allen
  • Donna Fritsche
  • Kiana Cole
  • Keina Cook
  • William Duran
  • Macy Moore
  • Allison Fox
  • Fernando Hernandez
  • Malaetele Ilaoa
  • Tatiana Zegada
  • Amira Lambertis
  • Carlos Quinones
  • Pamela Nguyen
  • Portia Talley
  • Alana Quinones
  • Garcia Theresa Khoury
  • Melani Rodriguez-Quintana
  • Herman Jeter
  • Rosa Velazquez
  • Delilah Fernandez

Harker Heights High School

  • Zachrieh Alhaj
  • Barton Jacques
  • Hannah Garcia
  • David Bennett
  • Matthew Garrison
  • Lonnie McKinney
  • Aleah Heilman
  • Julie Vangroll
  • Lee Horton
  • James Clarkson
  • Catherine Kim
  • James Clarkson
  • Jennifer Lee
  • Jeremy Cameron
  • Sonia Lopez
  • Marisol Rivera
  • Jayvaughn Peter
  • James Clarkson
  • Linda Salinas
  • Catina Baldon

Ellison High School

  • Isabel Burfict
  • Donald Field
  • Bionca Covington
  • Marta Gallegos
  • Karina Diaz-Santini
  • Jennifer Zehr
  • Lianka Espada
  • Danielle McSweeney
  • Kaitlyn Grimes
  • Cynthia Jimenez
  • Ruth Grullon
  • Adam Doyle
  • Analisse Quinones
  • Michelle Clark
  • Matthew Roberts
  • Carl Williams
  • David Warnke
  • Vivian Norman
  • Daniel Young
  • Rhonda Reese

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