• 20-21 UHS CTE Students of the Month


    April - May Student of the Month


    April - May Student of the Month

    Edgar Jasso


    Academy of Culinary Arts

    I joined the Culinary Program my freshman year.  I was very timid and in the kitchen that doesn’t work very well.  Communication is key and I was not having it.  I didn’t know what to expect and was afraid of always messing something up.  I didn’t want to try anything new.  I was afraid to ask for help and I didn’t really want to talk to many other people.  Chef has us work in groups, each lesson is different.  Different recipes, ingredients, techniques, and assignments.  As I completed those tasks successfully, I gained more confidence and also began to widen my palate by trying new things. My first real success was making buttermilk biscuits which I had never made before.  I began to make new friends and become more comfortable in the groups I was assigned.  I had never eaten most of the foods the chef assisted us to prepare and was learning to enjoy my culinary education.   I became active in caterings after school and the many community activities the chefs organized.  We began to compete in competitions and events and I began to gain confidence in those areas.  I became a leader both in class and at events and gained new experiences that have helped me develop my passion. I begin Culinary School in the fall and look forward to continuing the education I have started at UHS.  It is my honor to represent the Academy and help spread the knowledge I have gained.


    Elizabeth Sanchez



     As a freshman, I was an isolated student. I did not really communicate with other students, and I was not very involved in school. Despite having, good grades I had low self-esteem and not a lot of confidence in myself. I know for sure I would like to go to a University after I graduate high school. I also know, colleges do not just care for your grades, but they also care about your extracurricular activities and community involvement. While being a straight A student, I did not have any extracurricular and was not involved in my community in any way. I decided if I want to have a good application for college, I would need to become more involved in both school and my community. JROTC was the perfect program to enable me to do both.

    Joining the program my sophomore year, all I sought out for was community service hours, an extracurricular activity, and a place to learn leadership skills. In JROTC there are leadership roles for cadets, about twelve cadets are a part of staff and lead the battalion with the supervision of 1st SGT Montelongo and SFC Haner. I knew I wanted to be a part of the staff, simply because I wanted to have a leadership role to put in my college applications. That was the only purpose for joining JROTC, to make me look like a better student to the colleges I apply for. However, it has become so much more than that.

    As a student, I have improved a lot more mentally. I have much more confidence and a higher self-esteem. I continue to make good grades and am actually not alone anymore. Since joining JROTC I have made several connections with people I never thought I would talk to. By joining two of the teams available to cadets I learned to bond with people. I am on the Armed Drill team and the Physical Training team. I have developed some of my closest friendships with the people I met on these teams. I would say the only value I had before joining JROTC was my grades and intelligence. Now that I am involved in the program though, I am a much better student. Not only by appearance but by personality as well. I have learned to be more outgoing and truly care for my community and the people that surround me. Overall, JROTC has had a very positive impact on me as a student. The program has helped me learn who I want to become in the future and how I want to behave. JROTC has helped me realize I want to be able to be a helpful change in others lives, a positive change. I honestly feel I could do that now than ever before.

    April - May Student of the Month

    Gael Barragan


    Academy of Welding - GWAMA


    GWAMA has been a great experience for me, and because of it, I feel better prepared for my welding career. I chose to come to GWAMA because I like working with my hands. I knew if I was a good welder, I would be able to make good money immediately after I graduate.  For the 2 years I have been here, I have learned more than just welding. I learned how to make stuff, learned blueprint reading, and welded with different welding processes. I even passed some welding certifications and currently working on more. GWAMA is a great school, and I feel like I’m ready to start working.


    March Student of the Month

    Andy Hernandez


    Academy of Engineering


    Taking rocketry at University High School was one of the best decisions I made in high school. Besides being a place where I could make memories and develop friendships, this class taught me how to look at a problem and figure out all the ways I could overcome it. For example, in my first year in the rocketry program we had to design and build a rocket that would fly up a mile with a one-pound payload. We designed and tested our rockets in RockSim 10, a computer program that allowed us to design our rockets from the fins to the nose cone.  In order to reach our outcome of a stable flight, we had to think of what shape the fins would be, how big they should be, and how much of the fin’s base should be on the rocket to prevent them from being ripped off during flight. We had to make sure the center of mass was near the tip of the rocket while the center of pressure was near the fins. We overcame all these obstacles--problem solving every step of the way--and built our rocket using various tools in the shop like sanders, a drill press, and dremels. Overall I have learned critical lifelong skills and knowledge about problem solving that will come in handy in the future in whichever field I choose, and I am grateful for that.

    March Student of the Month

    Evelyn Gonzales


    Academy of Robotics & Electronics - GWAMA


    I have learned many new skills while in GWAMA which have helped me improve as an individual as well. I have always been a hands-on person, so I enjoy making/building things with my own hands. When I first heard about GWAMA I was told they did many projects and had many academies that were not available at my home campus. I signed up for GWAMA, the robotics academy, because I knew I belonged here, I was ready and excited to build. My first year attending GWAMA I did a few projects, but first I had to learn how to do certain things so I learned first then did a small project testing the skills I had learned from the lesson my teacher taught me. When school ended, I was sad that my building time was postponed until next year, although I knew I would come back. I had to come back because I enjoyed my experience the first year, and I knew the projects would get better and bigger. I have learned so much from GWAMA that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I learned new skills that I did not know before and they will help me in my future career.

    During my time, here at GWAMA I have been on many field trips to Texas State Technical College in Waco, Texas. In high school, we do not take field trips anymore, but GWAMA knows the importance of education and knows it goes beyond the classrooms. Therefore, we do many projects outside of the school and have taken field trips for competitions and learning reasons. Since going on multiple field trips to TSTC I have taken into consideration to attend that college.

    GWAMA has opened my eyes to a great college with a great aerospace program, which is exactly what I want to do. I have talked with my teachers about my career and I told them I would be joining the marines, but after the conversation my teacher told me that it would be smarter and better for me to join the air force which is what I want to do now. GWAMA has always helped me better my life in many ways and I have relished my time here.

    Any one thing cannot measure my success, but I can definitely say that through my experience with GWAMA I have become a better person and I really love all of the staff and teachers here. I have always felt welcomed by them and they have taught me so much more than any regular school could have. Every time I was having a bad day, I knew once I got to GWAMA

    I would forget about them because I would have too much fun building things, or I was just excited and ready to get to GWAMA. So how has GWAMA influenced my high school experience and how has it helped me? All I can say is that GWAMA is so much more than a school and it can really change a person if they love what they do.


    February Student of the Month

    Genesis Santos


    Academy of Education and Training


    For February, Mrs. Baier nominated me as the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Student of the Month for the Academy of Education of Training; however, this nomination is not only a recognition but a reminder that education can be a powerful tool for social, economic, political, and personal change.

    Growing up, my parents emphasized the importance of education and its role in supporting my success. In fifth-grade, my teacher, Mrs. White, emphasized determination and growth mindset. Beginning freshman year, I embodied these passions significantly, specifically in the Academy of Education and Training. In Mrs. Baier’s Instructional Practices class, I participated in field-based internships at South Waco Elementary and Kendrick Elementary where I created lesson plans, redirected behavior, and focused on literacy. The most rewarding part of these experiences was meeting amazing students who learned as much from me as I learned from them while shaping my philosophy of education.

     I believe that every child has the right to an education, the right to learn, and the ability to learn despite its socio-economic status, various abilities, and/or learning styles. Accordingly, the ideal classroom acknowledges diversity while sparking individuality, creativity, and freedom. My role as a teacher is to be a mentor by helping students figure themselves out, making learning enjoyable and interactive, and emphasizing the socio-emotional side of education. I owe it to my students to show them the love, empowerment, and humanity they each deserve. Although teaching is not an easy profession, I understand that my tenacity will not let myself nor students down.

     Last year, I joined our Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO), Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE), where I earned top state titles and became an Educators Rising National Qualifier. In the spring, I will be a first-generation college graduate from McLennan Community College with the highest honors as well as graduate from high school in the top 10% of my class. In the fall, I plan to major in education at Baylor University or Tarleton State University.

     My own upbringing, CTE, and TAFE solidified my goal of becoming a fifth-grade teacher in Waco ISD because I want to make a direct, positive impact on students, establish a strong connection with them, and inspire them to work hard for their dreams--just like my parents and Mrs. White did for me. I would like to thank University High School for giving me the opportunity to pursue a career I genuinely love. Moreover, I would like to thank my teachers, family, and friends for their endless support. I now know that I am meant to be in the classroom and change the world--one child at a time.


    January Student of the Month

    Emily Alvarado


    Academy of Criminal Justice


    Going into high school I knew that I wanted to work with children in the future. I did not know how I wanted to work with them, but all I knew was that I wanted to help children in some sort of fashion. After having gone through some experiences, I eliminated the option of being a teacher because I knew that that was not my calling. Throughout high school I discovered career options that involved working with children. When I stumbled across this particular career, I knew this is what I wanted to do, and that is to be a pediatric psychologist. I have always had a passion for working with children, and I have been told by numerous people that I have that talent within me to work with children. I find working with children a passion of mine because I begin to think how vulnerable and fragile they can be and if I can be there to help and guide them, then I will do it. I want to be the voice of the lost children who are in dire need of one. I want for those children who I help one day to remember what was done for them when they were forgotten by others.

    This plan of being a pediatric psychologist was reaffirmed when I took the introduction class in the Academy of Law and Criminal Justice, and we talked about crimes and who is all involved in them. It hit me when I was informed that children of young ages were victims of horrendous crimes. I knew that I wanted to be some source of help for children who are the victims of crimes. I want to be that person who helps them move on from being a victim. I understand that I will not be able to help them forget what they went through completely, but I want to help them overcome it slowly but surely so that they can still have a meaningful and productive life. This plan was reinforced even more later on in my high school career. I took a forensic psychology class in the Academy of Law and Criminal Justice and I was able to learn how psychology is used in the criminal justice system and I became even more passionate about studying psychology. Through this course, I was able to learn more about how psychology is used to help determine if a person has committed a crime. This was something that interested me, but I still had the desire to work with children. My plan of becoming a pediatric psychologist could have changed if I had not been in the Academy of Law and Criminal Justice because I was able to learn that children too are victims of crimes and I want to be able to help them overcome that memory of having been a part of one. Being a student in the Academy of Law and Criminal Justice was an eye opener for me because I was able to learn that children are affected by crimes in many ways just like anyone else. I found that I want to be the light in those children’s lives in order to help them work through their experiences.

    Becoming a pediatric psychologist will not be an easy task because it requires a doctoral degree. My plan is to attend Sam Houston State University and pursue a major in psychology. This will only be the beginning because I will later attend graduate school and work towards earning my masters and doctoral degree in psychology in order to become a pediatric psychologist. This will all help me in the path of becoming a pediatric psychologist and in helping children recover from being crime victims.

    After becoming a certified pediatric psychologist, I would like to carry out my career at a clinic. Once I have gained experience in the field, I would like to partner up with other professionals in the medical field and open up a refuge house for abused women and children. By doing this, opportunities would open up for women who think they have no way out of what they are going through. This would allow them to leave behind anything that they once thought they would never be able to leave in the past. At this refuge house, I would be able to tend to the children of these women and help them to overcome experiences that they have been through along with the assistance of other psychologists who would be able to help the women. By starting up a refuge house, I hope to be that light that women are looking for not only for themselves, but also for their children.

    I am thankful that I was placed in the Academy of Law and Criminal Justice because this just reaffirmed my plans for my career. Not only did it reaffirm my plans for my career, but I was also able to further my knowledge about the criminal justice system and the value of forensic psychology. By being a part of this academy, I was able to ensure that being a pediatric psychologist is truly my calling, and it is my passion to one day help children who have been victims of crimes so that they will be able to heal their wounds, both physical and emotional, and move on from their past.  

    December Student of the Month

    Elizabeth De La Fuente


    Ron E. Smith Academy of Business and Finance



    Hi there ! My name is Elizabeth De La Fuente. I am a senior this year at University High School.   

    This month I was nominated by my teacher Mr. Fielding. He is my fourth period teacher and teaches Accounting 2. The reason for why I chose and selected to be in the accounting field would be that I have always had a liking towards anything that can teach me how to be successful and I thought going into the accounting field would do just that for me. 

    Growing up I always had a dream of one day being able to have and create a business of my own. My goal for the future is that I want to have a beauty salon that I am going to be proud to call mine. The way the accounting field has helped shaped me is that it has taught me what it takes to make a business and the certain things that go into it. Not only is it all about money but I would say that it takes the person in charge to have that certain passion of making the business run and having everything in check. I want to look back and know that I made the right choice in choosing the accounting field and I know I made the right decision.

    Right now I am doing everything I can to graduate in the upcoming year of 2021 and to start MCC Community College in the fall of that year. I hope my dreams come true and I put all I can into what I know I can make happen. I want to thank all those around me that are also there to help push me and are here to make these dreams come true all together. 

    November Student of the Month

    Yoni Zuniga 


    Academy of Arts, AV and Communication



    As a kid my dream was to create video games and sell entertainment for video game products, but there were slight changes on what I wanted to do throughout my whole school experience.

    At mid year of Jr High I stopped thinking about becoming a video game developer and just wanted to regularly graduate, but when I heard about a class that worked with games and graphic designs, my curiosity spiked and I was interested in it.

    I saw so many graphic designs on display when I took a trip to University High School and it made me want to say “I wanna create something like that/this” so I started to enroll in The Academies of Arts,Audio/Video Technology & Communications they offered in University High School.

    In the beginning of this course it was pretty difficult to understand what I needed to do in front of a computer screen but being taught the skills and using the tools I needed to advance to the next level in Graphic Design has made me understand how graphic designers can convey a message to their audience.

    I now have a new mindset and thinking on enrolling into MCC or TSTC in around the Graphic Design industry and take on small jobs that are involved with Design projects for companies, promotions, advertising or with game and content creation.

    The Academies of Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications (AAAVTC) is one of the most experienced Academies I have learned in and I do hope to learn more about my experience and develop greater skills to bring a message with my own/cooperative Graphic Designs.


    uhs oct

    October Student of the Month

    Alyssa Diaz


    Academy of Health Science - GWAHCA

    How GWAHCA and Cancer helped pave my future.
    As a child I dreamed of attending NYU to study music. Cancer changed my dreams, my aspirations, my goals, my future and thanks to the Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy I feel I can reach my dream of becoming an Oncologist or an Oncology Nurse. 
    My journey with cancer began January 2, 2017 the week one of my favorite people in this world was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that time I did not know or understand what a cancer diagnosis was. I was in Jr High and still had high hopes of doing something in the music industry. By August of that year everything had changed. I was living in a state of heightened emotions. I was sad, hopeful, angry and in despair watching my favorite aunt fight a losing battle against one of the worlds most feared and dreaded diseases. My Freshman and sophomore years were a blur as I watched her fade before my eyes. I did the only thing a 15 year old could do and attended as many chemotherapy sessions with her as possible. This is where I created Scobedo a puppet made out of a surgical glove to make her smile. I watched in awe as the doctors, nurses and aides all helped her feel better in one way or another. I learned what a port was, how an IV drip works among other things I found fascinating. It was then that I knew what I wanted to be what I needed to become. A new dream grew with new goals and a future in the medical field. April 6, 2018 she lost her battle with cancer. I felt lost. It was around that time I learned of the Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy and found myself hopeful for the first time in a long time. 
    I felt an instant sense of relief because there was my answer. I could attend GWAHCA and see if the medical industry truly was my calling. I began GWAHCA my Junior year in High School. Around the same time that my Step-Mom, my wonderful bonus mom of 14 years was diagnosed with breast cancer. Again I found myself in a state of shock and anger but this time it was different. This time I had a purpose. I would attend GWAHCA with the hopes of one day becoming an oncologist or oncology nurse. I was nervous my first day, praying that the outcome for her would be different and praying that I had found my calling. My first year in GWAHCA was nothing short of amazing. We began clinicals at Saint Catherine's where I got hands on experience working with patients. I knew then the medical industry needed me as much as I needed it. The wonderful staff at both GWAHCA and St. Catherine's encouraged me. I was told time and time again that I could be a great Certified Nursing Assistant also known as a CNA or caregiver. That fall I began to encourage anyone that would lend an ear to donate blood and made it my mission to get as many people as possible to donate. In remembrance of my aunt and the times she needed a blood transfusion I passed out flyers at my moms job encouraging her peers to donate and help save lives. 
    Summer 2020 in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic and thanks to everything I learned my first year at GWAHCA I was blessed with my first job in the medical field. Working as a Resident Care Associate at one of our local nursing homes. I spent the summer working with patients feeling grateful for the opportunity at such a young age. I watched my momma fight all summer and beat cancer ringing her chemo bell halfway through. I thought the battle won and felt a fire within me to fight with her in the only way I know how. I fight for good grades so that I can graduate high school and go onto receive a degree in the medical field. 
    It is now my Senior year in high school. I still work as a resident care associate at the nursing home while attending GWAHCA and High School maintaining my top 20 percent status. I learned just yesterday that after all the chemo, radiation and a mastectomy her cancer has not only returned but has spread to her bones. I'm crushed. There are no words to explain the feeling of knowing I might once again have to face losing someone I Love to this disease. I am angry only this time with the help of GWAHCA I plan to channel that anger into something good. I will be accepted into a Pre Med or Nursing program at a 4 year university. I will spend the next few months or years tending to my mom helping her in any way that I can using the skills I've learned so far in my medical journey at GWAHCA. I will make her and my aunt proud. I am beyond grateful that my high school has a partnership with GWAHCA. I can not thank GWAHCA enough for giving me a sense of purpose.

    October Student of the Month

    Julian Monrail


    Academy of Automotive Technology

    Hello, my name is Julian Monrail and Mr. Engelbrecht has nominated me for student of the month of October.

    Mr.Engelbrecht teaches advanced automotive technology, which is the academy of technology.  I am in his 4th and 5th period, he teaches it with passion, and he is always there when you are having trouble on any certain vehicle in relation to automotive.

    My dreams of the future are to be working for a national or even worldwide company related to my field of degree of diesel technology or automotive technology. In addition, I would like to do the collision repair program.

    For me to consider my life to be prosperous, thirty years from now and looking back, I would have to have had finished high school, and college in the diesel technician program, and the Automotive program at Texas State Technical College for me to consider my life successful.

    The people in my life that I need to accomplish these goals are my family and supporting friends I will need to be ambitious and have support from family members. One advantage that I have is that I grew up with a stepfather that worked gasoline cars and trucks and diesel vehicles. This also has helped me learn how to work on cars/trucks, and know the different parts on the vehicles. And diagnose different problems