2023-2024 University High School Student of the Month

  • University High School


    2023-2024 Waco ISD CTE Student of the Year

    UHS Student of the Year---Andres Luevano-Villa

    UHS Student of the Year


    April Students of the Month


    Blanca Torres

    Culinary - Blanca Torres

    We may all say we hated high school and that it was pointless, but deep down we know that high school saved a part of us. High School was also a big part of why we grew up who we are. While in high school, we all join these clubs, sports, and extracurriculars because it's something we like to do or see ourselves doing in the future. This brings us to our topic, “What impact did the culinary program have on you throughout your high school years?”. I joined the culinary program during my freshman year because I had a dream of going to culinary school and becoming a well-known chef. Although that's not the plan now, I still stay at it because of the people and because of what I could learn. For example, being in culinary has improved my communication skills, because you have to be able to communicate in the kitchen for things to run smoothly. Because my communication skills have improved, at work it makes things much easier as well, because communication is also a key component in the work environment. As mentioned before, I also stayed because of the people. Some examples would be Chef Ruark and Dee Ruiz... they both have a way of making you laugh and smile. They make the kitchen feel like you're at home just cooking away and gossiping with each other. Feeling like that makes you glad to come to class every day and not want to leave by the end of the period. In conclusion, it makes me glad to have stayed on the culinary path even if my plans changed. The program and the people in it have made a great impact on my everyday life. As well as my high school experience.


    Andres Luevano-Villa

    JROTC - Andres Luevano-Villa

    Being a teenager can be a particularly difficult and often scary experience for many. When I began my time at University High School, I had no idea what to expect or whether I was going to make it through to graduation. My freshman year was chaotic, to say the least, with the ongoing pandemic and remote learning creating an exceptionally stressful academic environment for students and staff alike. I remember very vividly being mortally terrified and worried about keeping track of assignment deadlines, attendance, and course grades, so much so that I became physically ill to the point where I would spontaneously vomit and bleed from the high levels of stress. It was then that I decided that it would be best for me to begin attending in-person instruction, even if it meant a higher risk of becoming sick. On my first day in school, I remember being intimidated by the size of the building and being particularly nervous about making a bad first impression on my classmates and teachers. But among the chaos, one class in particular stood out to me for not following the conventional classroom procedures I had grown accustomed to by now. That class was JROTC, and it would go on to form an incredibly significant part of my high school experience, teaching me various lessons throughout the years and helping me grow and develop as an individual. My first year in JROTC was not particularly eventful in retrospect, but it led to me becoming enamored with the goals and purpose of the program as well as the learning environment it provided for students. Having never been interested in any sports and with previous bad experiences in band, JROTC provided me and my peers with a place where we could be ourselves and express our opinions freely while also getting to interact with each other in meaningful, constructive ways. Everything from learning how to put my uniform together, to learning how to march to the daily textbook lessons felt significant and meaningful. But by far the greatest part of my experience with the JROTC program was the people. Sgt. Haner has been a meaningful mentor for the cadets in our school for 4 years now, and I can confidently say that he has played a major role in shaping the person I am today. His constant presence in and outside of the classroom has made him an almost secondary father figure to some and has helped immensely in making the JROTC classroom a space where cadets can feel comfortable and safe being themselves. Getting to interact with other cadets and hearing their experiences not only with the program but with life as a whole has enriched my perspective on my own life and how I go about living it. In short, saying that JROTC has made a great impact on my life would be an understatement. From the experiences I’ve had to the friends I’ve made along the way, this program now forms a very significant part of who I am, and I am sure to influence who I am going to be.


    March Students of the Month

    GWAMA Student

    GWAMA Welding: Issac Waldon


    My first year at GWAMA was the best high school year out of all the rest, I would rank it as one of if not the top school year in general. I got to meet many fantastic people, make many new and fun friends which is why it was such a great year. I got to learn how to weld amidst these friends, laughing and messing around along the way. Helping out one another made welding much more enjoyable, comparing our welds, talking trash, but also lifting each other up when we struggled or felt down. The teachers and staff at GWAMA can feel like not just a place to learn about manufacturing but also a family. Although this year is different, I don’t have my friends from last year, I'm grateful for the memories I’ve had here and I hope that future students can enjoy GWAMA as much as I did.



    Galvin Lewis

    S.T.E.M. and Engineering - Gavin Lewis

    My name is Gavin Lewis and I have been selected as the student of the month for Engineering at University High School. I have always had an interest in engineering. Mechanical engineering has always been one of the most interesting things to me, and it has led me to pursue an engineering degree at Texas A&M University. As a UHS student, I have continued to grow and get closer to my goal of becoming a mechanical engineer as a consequence of being a student in the STEM pathway. In addition, the engineering teachers at UHS are great. I am very thankful that I have been able to get such an amazing high school experience with engineering, and I have had outstanding people to guide me along the way. I plan to continue to strive to achieve my goals and become an outstanding mechanical engineer upon college graduation.


    February Student of the Month


    Education and Training - Jae Juan Harris

    Hey everyone, my name is Jae Juan Harris and I was selected as the Student of the Month for the Academy of Education. I selected the Academy of Education during my 8th-grade year because I knew I wanted to be a teacher and head coach one day. I’ve had some very special teachers cross my path and with their encouragement and guidance, I’ve accepted a full-ride scholarship to San Angelo State to play football and major in Education. During my freshman year, I dealt with a lot. I lost the most important person in my life, my momma. I was in total disbelief, and it gave me a wake-up call about what's more important than me. My two little sisters and I moved in with my great-grandmother, MaMa, the heartbeat of our family. I know she had a hassle trying to support us, but she never let us know. I was 14 and trying to find small jobs to help with bills. Sadly, she passed away just after 2 years and once again I moved. School was my comfort zone because I was surrounded by adults and friends that cared about me. All of this set the stage for my high school career and knowing that an education would help me become successful. Sports came naturally to me and I excelled in football. Coach Felix and Coach Gibson were instrumental in keeping me on the right track. Ms. Stucky, Ms. Gunn, Ms. Barber, Ms. English, and Ms. Baier made sure I participated in our Career and Technology Student Organization, TAFE. I appreciate their leadership and encouragement. Each year I would compete at TAFE Regionals and each year I made it to the State. This year I plan on making it to Nationals in Washington D.C. These opportunities helped to keep me active and motivated in school. The Academy of Education gave me the chance to work in elementary classrooms, which was an amazing experience. One of my placements was with a PE teacher who was passionate about her students. This rotation lit a passion for teaching within me. Her students were always eager to learn and this impressed me. This experience just assured me that I wanted to be the same type of teacher.

    January Students of the Month

    Josie Beltran

    Law and Public Service - Josie Beltran

    While being an Ambassador for the Academy of Law and Criminal Justice at University High School for the past two years, I have utilized the experiences and opportunities presented to me by learning from them and expanding my knowledge. My interest in pursuing Public Service did not spark up out of a random guess or leap of faith. I remember being in my 8th-grade class and being inspired by the Ambassadors for the Criminal Justice program who came to speak at our school. Being amazed by the opportunities we would have in high school, and the skills that we would learn, and because of those students who came to present to the class, I enrolled in public service when I became a freshman in high school. That is what I hope to do for young students. I hope to inspire students like I was inspired when I was 13 years old. I have gone above and beyond my call of duty and I have truly 􀀁flourished as a CTE student. I have had the opportunity of accompanying our local police department in carrying out day-to-day law enforcement duties such as executing a typical traffic stop or securing a warrant. I was also able to see the process by which people were admitted into the care of the law. I feel as though it has truly made me shift my attention towards working in the law enforcement field or something similar to it. The internship that I undertook greatly influenced my decision when it came to my future. Observing those law enforcement officers and forensic scientists at work just sparked my interest. But, the thing that truly inspired me was the children's department that helps child victims in the dawning steps of whatever legal process they have to go through. It touched my heart differently and holds a lot more personal and sentimental value when compared to everything else that law enforcement may do. My passion would not have sparked if it was not for the Law Enforcement pathway at University High School, and those CTE students that came to my 8th-grade class to tell me about the Academy. 

    December Student of the Month

    UHS Student of the Month

    Carla Escobedo

    I have been in the Business program for my entire high school years, and this program has been helpful as well as important to me for many reasons. I have developed a strong understanding in business throughout this year. Not only has it been helpful but it has been important to me for my future. I say this because I have had the opportunity to learn more and more about business and the reality behind it. The reason why I am saying this is because it has taught me how to manage my money and balance it out,and it has come to my understanding that in the business program you just have to have backup plans, and that has taught me to have backup plans in anything that I am doing. This business program is helpful for the real world. It shows us how to become a good leader and have good communication skills as well as other skills  which are really important. Overall this program has been helpful/important to me because it has taught me skills on entrepreneurship which is what I am looking forward to in the future and all the information I am getting from this program can be helpful to me. I would like to thank Mr.Pierce he has been helpful to me since freshman year and has provided me with great information that had to do with taxes as well as other information. Also Mr. Hoefer has been very helpful in a way that has encouraged me to look forward to doing my own research on developing more understanding in business. He has also always provided us with information about actual business in the real world or important people in entrepreneurship which to me is important, because me as a student can see what I have learned so far is actually beneficial out there. Overall University has also been helpful for having the taxing program which allows us to actually have a visual on how taxes work. University has also been helpful for providing us the students with the business program and has given us the students the opportunity to be a part of the business program.


    GWAMA Construction: Michael Curry Jr. 

    This is my 3rd year in GWAMA and time has flown by fast. I’ve learned so many skills in this class. The things that I have learned are not just for one field, but for many. I am glad that I have several choices to pick from for what I want to do after high school.

    I’ve learned different skills from how to use proper techniques to use tools to using the tools to build big and small items. So far I have done some projects by myself such as a staircase, many big snowflakes for a charity, jewelry boxes and jewelry boards. I know how to use pneumatic tools, many types of saws, and all the hand tools. I now have experience in drywall, masonry, and framing. We've had two events with Brazos Waco masonry, to learn from professionals and to get better at our own techniques. I’m also getting certified to drive a forklift and have almost completed my certification.

    I'm proud to say that I will be going to TSTC for HVAC due to the influence of all that I have learned in construction at GWAMA. Once I have completed my HVAC courses I will continue on with plumbing. I’m grateful for all the people who have helped me get to where I am today. A special thank you to Mrs. Novosad for opening my eyes to the many different possibilities that I can choose from. Thank you to my family for always supporting me through the bad and good times. 

    November Student of the Month

    Student of the Month

    Fran (Neo) Diaz, UHS

    Academy of Arts, Audio Visuals, and Technology Communications

    Being chosen for Student of the Month is a delightful surprise. I didn’t know this was a recognition given, and despite always trying my best to surpass my own expectations for myself, I’ve always believed there were others who were better. Even so, it gives me great satisfaction to be recognized for the things I’ve done. Thus, I use this opportunity to let my mind free and speak of the wonders and passion I have in this academy. Being born within the Digital Age, I’ve had a keen interest in technology since I was young. Although technology such as game consoles, smartphones, and computers were considered luxury items, I still desired to learn them. Through the internet, I was not only capable of seeing how the internet would change drastically over so few years, but also gained a desire to become part of this change. Ultimately, this led to me choosing this academy, which allows for opportunities within the World Wide Web. Not having a lot of money when younger delayed all my plans regarding technology; however, that has no longer become the case as everyone within the academy has been gifted access to desktop computers and Adobe applications. I’ve taken advantage of what I’ve been provided with and have made connections with people through the internet and even online businesses. Using skills I’ve learned such as photography, graphic design, professional communications, web designing, and audio, I have gained many connections with amazing and impressive people. Within this academy, and with the help of amazing educators, I’ve learned to do many things alongside my peers. From taking photos, to learning components of podcasts, to creating personal ID badges, to flyers, to inspirational quotes, to engraving, all the way to creating logos for the school’s Audio/Video department. Having a fair degree of understanding as a student, I’ve decided to do my fair share of help by aiding any underclassmen who come in during the morning before school for tutoring these past few months. As a student who prefers to be aware of what the plan for the day is and one that dislikes havoc, I tend to take the initiative for leading or volunteering to do anything whenever there is not someone better fit for the job. As so, I’ve gained respect from my peers and have been sought out for guidance or simple aid. Being at that time of life where I am still young yet still expected to grow up, I’ve still no idea as to what I plan to do with the rest of my life. I most likely will choose to pursue a future career in technology. However, this is only the beginning of my life and one of many interests I have. In the end, I am grateful to have been granted the opportunity to attend this academy and all that it has given me, as well as be chosen as student of the month.

    October Student of the Month

    Greater Waco Advance Health Care Academy

    October Student

    Christian Boggess from UHS:

    The healthcare industry is all about helping people and it’s been an important part of my calling in life. It’s important because as an African American, I’m fully aware of the misinformation and concern that people who look like me experience when thinking about the healthcare system. I’m excited to finish my high school journey with a CMA so that I can be a part of making a difference across the community. It will be an honor to serve people and help them live longer and fuller lives. The academy has helped me enjoy the transition into the healthcare field by surrounding me with teachers who are passionate about supporting teens like me on our journey. It’s also embedded a strong sense of curiosity through understanding medical theory and applying what I’ve learned through hands-on learning experiences. Finally, it’s helped me to think about my own needs through lessons about responsibility, curiosity, teamwork and leadership. I want to become an emergency room nurse because I have a deep passion for helping people during critical moments. The fast-paced and unpredictable nature of the ER appeals to me, as it requires quick thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to provide immediate care to those in need. Being able to make a difference and provide comfort to patients and their families during emergencies is incredibly fulfilling, and I'm drawn to the sense of urgency and teamwork that comes with this role.


    September Student of the Month


    UHS Automotive Student

    Enrique Rangel, UHS


    Hello, my name is Enrique Rangel, and I have been nominated by Mr. Engelbrecht for student of the month for September. Mr.Engelbrecht teaches automotive technology, which is in the academy of automotive technology. I'm in his 4th and 5th-period classes, and Mr. E teaches us with passion! He is always there when anyone is having trouble with classroom work or working on vehicles. I am a senior at University High School, and I play center for UHS football. I also do powerlifting, varsity cheer, and softball management. I plan to go to TSTC to learn about welding, and for secondary training, learn the automotive field to be a technician. I would like to earn a degree in those two fields. When I finish, these two careers will be beneficial in my life, especially since there is a lot of money to be made primarily in the automotive field. The people in my life that will help me accomplish these goals are my family and supporting friends. I will need to be ambitious and responsible. I have great support from my family members. One advantage that I have is that I grew up with my dad, and he always told me “You always have to work for what you want.” He also has helped me learn how to work on cars and trucks. My dad was very helpful to me in knowing the different parts of the vehicles and diagnosing different problems.