Shoemaker High School Spanish teacher Patricia Fasano applauds her student, Diamond Hightower, one of the top 10 soon-to-graduate seniors from Shoemaker High School at Monday’s Killeen ISD Education Foundation Starmakers Academic Recognition Banquet. The school district honored the top 10 graduates from all four high schools and their chosen favorite teachers.

The nonprofit Killeen ISD Education Foundation held its 11th annual Starmakers banquet Monday, honoring the top 10 graduates from the Killeen, Ellison, Shoemaker and Harker Heights high schools.

“It is our hope that shining a light on your academic success will inspire other students,” said John Lohse, the foundation’s president.

The awards are handed out each year, and the students who receive them all land within the top 1 or 2 percent of their graduating classes.

“I felt really proud to be chosen,” said Brittany Hoesley, an 18-year-old Ellison High School senior. “It makes you feel like all the hard work you did has paid off.”

Another honoree, 18-year-old Killeen High School senior Rafael Medrano, expressed a similar sentiment.

“I felt really great,” said Medrano, who plans on attending Texas A&M University to study civil engineering after he graduates. “It was a wonderful feeling to be recognized for my accomplishments.”

Students like Hoesly and Medrano weren’t the only ones honored during the event, held at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. Each student was invited to bring along the teacher who had the biggest impact on their education.

“For these teachers who are here tonight, I would say that they have transcended the art and science of teaching, and have become a phenomenon,” said Robert Muller, the Killeen school district’s superintendent.

Those teachers included Killeen High School Spanish teacher Jose Jimenez-Rivera, who was chosen by Medrano as his most inspiring teacher.

“When you decide to become a teacher, students like (Medrano) are the kind of student you always want to have,” said Jimenez-Rivera. “He is smart, eager, well-spoken and respectful ... just everything you want to have in a successful student.”

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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