Students of the Month, 2017-2018

  • Congratulations to all our Waco HS CTE Students of the Month

     

May 2018

 Maria Briseno

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Maria Briseno

Senior - Academy of Electronics and Robotics

My name is Maria Briseno and I am a senior at Waco High School. I am also pursuing electrical engineering in the academy of electronics and robotics at GWAMA. I entered high school with the mindset that I was going into the culinary arts field. I began freshmen year with classes tailored towards the hospitality and tourism category. The classes taught me a lot of useful skills, but I felt that I wasn’t living up to my full potential. I wanted to do something that would resemble the hard working and innovative generation that we live in today. The world is advancing and if I wanted a piece of the pie I needed to invest my time in something I never thought I would do -  engineering. I never liked working with tools and I was a clean freak at heart. However, I wanted to get out of this mindset, I needed to get out of my shell. The world has no place for a shy and scared girl.
Through GWAMA I have been given multiple opportunities to practice public speaking. One such occasion was when my class was invited to be a part of the Texas Workforce Convention in Dallas. Our job was to hand Julian Alvarez, the commissioner representing labor, his speech using drones and to hand him a reminder with our NAO humanoid robot. I was elected captain for the team attending the convention and my responsibilities included programming the NAO robot and presenting the ideals and impacts that GWAMA has made in my life. I presented to an audience of over 1500 people and expressed my gratitude towards GWAMA and showed how schools such as GWAMA are motivating students to pursue a high education. After the convention I realized how much I have grown out of my shell. I was no longer shy and I learned to love public speaking. Mr. Rizo, my teacher at GWAMA, has pushed me into becoming the person that I am. He encouraged me to speak up and to ask questions. He has introduced me to many opportunities and has helped me gain confidence in my skill sets.

Going into GWAMA I knew nothing about tools or machines or how to differentiate between wrenches. It was intimidating being in a class with mostly guys and not knowing what was going on. I asked multiple questions throughout the class period and although it was frustrating not just for me but for Mr. Rizo and my classmates, eventually I started catching up. This was something I was not going to give up on. I furthered my skills with projects that we were assigned throughout the year. We sometimes get assignments from the community such as a plinko board for the HEB Celebrity Cook-Off. Doing those assignments has exposed me to new tools and methods. They also give us a taste of what an engineer does. We receive plans and blueprints and we have to work them out and make sure they meet the standards of the consumer.
I get my motivation from my family. My sisters are very confident and are not afraid to stand up for themselves. They encourage me to surpass their achievements and to become something in my life. The person that inspires me the most is my mom. She is the face of independence and doesn’t accept anything below the best. I wanted to pursue a career that would express the hard work that my family has gone through. Something that would prove that women are not just limited to certain career fields. I have been accepted to Texas A&M and will be majoring in Electronic Systems and Engineering Technology. Engineering has become my passion and with the help from GWAMA I am able to pursue a higher education in the career that is working to innovate the world.

April 2018

 Enrique Perez

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Enrique Perez

Senior - Academy of Architecture

Hello, my name is Enrique Perez and I am a senior at Waco High School. I grew up in Waco, Texas, a relatively small city of approximately 130,000 inhabitants at the time this essay is being written. Waco is largely a college town seeing as though many of the events in the city center around the collegiate schedule of Baylor University. This in turn has contributed to the fact that Baylor University is seen as the go-to school and as such a post-secondary degree is something that is favorable to obtain, regardless of one’s financial situation. As a result, this and the influence of my family and upbringing, has made me become more involved academically and in extracurricular activities.

As a result of this aforementioned pressure and encouragement of my parents, I made a conscious decision to become, in my opinion, academically and extracurricular involved, whether that be in my school or my community. Academically speaking, I was and more or less continue to be, one who partook in local science fairs, history fairs, intramural reading competitions, etc. Let not my abiding presence in said events fool you, I was never the one to place highly nor achieve great success. What I can take from these experiences however, is the fact that the involvement made me feel a part of a niche community of relatively intelligent students who aren’t necessarily the best at sports nor the most socially outgoing. This of course, is something that is rather important for a developing brain. Subsequently, I sought to continue feeling a part of niche communities as I grew older and more mature. Throughout my high school career, I have been involved with various organizations, namely SkillsUSA and National Honor Society (NHS). My involvement with these organizations are in my view a continuation of association with niche communities, the latter organization especially is one that encourages service and scholarly attitude for which I am very fond of. With SkillsUSA, vocational and training is emphasized along with the involvement in one's local community. My appreciation for the labor of these groups influenced me to run and hold positions of leadership (Vice President with SkillsUSA and Vice President of Service with NHS), which is an example of my eagerness to be a part of “niche communities “which in the process, benefit collective good. Recently, I have also become involved with the Lions’ Hub Store, a spirit at Waco High in which we sell a variety of items.  While this all may seem as a sorry excuse to advertise myself, I genuinely feel as though my involvement in and out of school are a thorough account of my person.

I am into my third year as part of the Architecture academy and I have enjoyed my time and cherished my experiences thus far. The Architecture Academy has given me the opportunity to experience first-hand the complex field of Architecture. This exposure has allowed me to make better decisions regarding my desired field of choice, along with introducing me to other different professional fields outside of Architecture. Said academy also emphasizes individuality and creativity, characteristics of which are very important in the field of architecture. So one might ask, what does the Academy of Architecture have to offer for prospective students? Well, all of what I have benefited from, whether it be the exposure and first-hand experience or the knowledge of the field in general, are aspects from what prospective students can benefit from and all in all it is what the Academy of Architecture has to offer.

In my life, I have gone through different stages, so to speak, of interests. For a good majority of it, I was rather interested in geography, astronomy and history. Surprisingly, I was also very interested in local infrastructure projects and programs, particularly solid waste management systems and road construction. The common denominator of these experiences would be that my interest center around geography, mathematics and science, which are core principles in the career of urban planning and/or architecture.  As aforementioned, early on in life I had major interests in astronomy and infrastructure systems. Elaborating upon the latter, my parents and siblings can attest that as a young child I had a fascination for solid waste vehicles and road construction. The weekly scheduled visits on behalf of said garbage vehicles and the grand presence of overpasses on our highway system always captivated my young brain and made me question what it took to have these systems in place. In high school, I took courses that further developed my interests, namely courses in Human Geography, Trigonometry and Architecture. Other than further developing my interests, these courses were pivotal in pinpointing Urban Planning and/or a career in a social science or architecture as disciplines to further my knowledge of so as to obtain mastery and subsequently a career. While I am still uncertain as to where to attend this upcoming school year, I know that it’ll have to be a school that enables me to achieve my future plans. 

March 2018

 James Wilson

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James Wilson

Sophomore - Academy of Precision Metal Manufacturing

My name is James Wilson and I am a sophomore at Waco High School. I am also a first year student at the GWAMA Academy of Precision Metal Manufacturing. GWAMA has been a great opportunity for me because a year ago I had no idea what I wanted to do after high school. This all changed after I attended GWAMA. The skills that I have learned have been valuable as well as challenging. I never thought that I could create anything within 1/1000 of an inch to its design specifications until I came to the academy and learned how to work with all the equipment in the program.

The GWAMA Academy has given me direction, taught me valuable skills, and given me the confidence to pursue pathways in a field with outstanding opportunities.

February 2018

 Andrea Watkins

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Andrea Watkins

Senior - Academy of Education and Training

My name is Andrea Watkins; a seventeen year old high school senior. This is my first year at Waco High, as well as my first year being part of the Career and Technical Education Program. I am excited about being chosen an Academy Ambassador for the 2017-2018 school year for the Education and Training Academy. Plus, I am a member of the National Honor Society.

Before entering middle school, I aspired to be an educator. As a young child, I would constantly play “school” with my younger sibling or pretend to teach some of my toys what I was currently learning in elementary school. Afterschool, when I returned home, I would teach everyone else what I had learned and how I had learned it from my teachers.  At the end of every year, while other kids were throwing away their school papers and stuffing trash cans with old lessons, I would take my papers home!  I would teach whomever would listen about what I had previously learned. I was motivated to learn more, so that I would hopefully be able to teach everyone what I had learned.  

As I got older, discussions about careers and finances made me doubt my extremely early decision about my career choice. I knew that compared to other jobs, teachers did not make much money. Many activities in my first two years of high school where centered around being aware of how much living on your own as an adult will actually cost. Doing those activities made me realize that I needed to be aware of how my decisions now affect my life later, but they also made me want to choose between a career choice that I wanted and a job that paid well. When asked about my plans after graduation,  I would shy away from my usual answer by saying that I didn’t know. In reality, I was just unsure about why I wanted to be an educator. 

When I joined the Education and Training Academy, I was fascinated with how much I had learned about children and people’s behavioral processes  within the first two months. I didn’t think I would have begun learning how to be a caregiver  until I was well into my second or third year of college! In class, I learned how to assess a child’s needs at the young age, while affirming my decision to go to to college and learning how to educate others. When I graduate, at the end of the semester, I am confident that I will be more than prepared to continue my efforts in educating myself. I will have learned  how to be the best teacher for every child for all aspects of their learning!

January 2018

 Elihu Centeno

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Elihu Centeno

Senior - Academy of Law and Criminal Justice

When you think of a student, you think of a teenager who goes to school just because he or she needs to achieve a higher education to have a job with a good salary. In my opinion a student is someone more than a teenager whose only in it for the glory of a better life. A student is someone who learns from their mistakes and must make sacrifices to become a better person than the one they were yesterday. A student is an individual who leaves the world of cyberspace to see a world that reaches the edges of outer-space. The life a student is a long journey, but it all depends on what a student reaps and what they sow. 

Students are seen in many walks of life, in every country of the world, diversified by many cultures. These students will one day become someone greater in life replacing the current professionals of today. When I depict my dream of what the future has in store for me; I have a very self-less view in what I will want to see. My dream is to have education available to any individual that comes from any walk of life. In my opinion, a person’s future is determined by the education one receives with the help of the right people aiding the student. My dream for the future is to see a society not judged by the way a person looks or by their diversity; but by the potential of the individual has to help society flourish. Education is a step towards the betterment of society and the betterment of many lives across the world. 

While my dreams of a better world may become a reality in thirty years or so.  I hope to find myself looking back at my life’s accomplishments. In my perspective a successful life is a life in which you were able to touch many lives. In my past experiences, I helped the community by being a member of Waco High’s Interact Club. In doing so, I was able to touch the vast lives of people who were in need of a helping hand. I’ve helped in aiding the mentally disabled in Friends for Life.  I also helped the unfortunate people with hot meals for Thanksgiving Day in downtown Waco. After helping these individuals, you have this sense of warmth that is unexplainable. This sensation is something that I will seek for in the future. I may have a well-paying job but there are things that money can’t buy and it’s a priceless feeling your soul feels when you help a person. I will consider my life a successful one once I helped every individual I could help. The future that I will led, can only be possible with the people I help and accomplishments I have gotten. 

Having a life based on serving society can be aided by the friends and family that are close to me. My family has always been considerate in helping others in need; due to knowing how easily it is to find themselves in the same situation. The act of being generous can transpire between any language and any emotion. There really isn’t a need of any physical items or accomplishments to be an individual or student who helps the community. The academy of Law Enforcement helps me strive for my dreams by becoming a public servant.  If I become a patrol officer or a detective, I will touch the lives of many people of all walks of life. There isn’t a hole to deep to climb out for the many of individuals who may be at risk. Having the authority of aiding these individuals by counseling can determine the life someone may lead. The academy of Criminal Justice has taught me that police officers aren’t heroes like the movie “Die Hard” portray but are the heroes in the many lives of people. Whether it’s advising the youth to change their life for the better or rescuing a person who could be in danger of abuse. My academy has established an option of having a career of aiding people and helping the community in many ways. 

My life of being student has helped me establish what I strive for in my life. The student life I have led is affected by the many great teachers that aided me in becoming what I am today. Being a student is much more than the top of the iceberg, being a student is someone who will strive for the betterment of their life and as well the lives around them. Whether the student becomes a police officer, doctor, chef, manager, or an artist; this student will touch the lives of many while striving to become something better every day.

December 2017

 Julie Benitez-Ibarra

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Julie Benitez-Ibarra

Senior - Academy of Sales and Marketing

My name is Julie Benitez-Ibarra, I am seventeen years of age, I am the youngest of six siblings, and am currently a senior in high school. I am a determined individual who is willing to succeed for instance, when I put my mind to something – I make sure that I achieve it. Throughout my years as a high school student, I have accomplished many things academically and have found that I’ve enjoyed every second of it. 
I must admit that in the beginning I was not motivated to do the best that I can do academically, but as I grew older I understood the entire concept that is academically achieving in things that will help determine what my future awaits.  Starting my freshmen year of high school, I was not involved in any extracurricular activities because I simply did not pay attention to what was occurring around me and I did not find any interest. However, towards the end of my freshmen year I got selected to be interviewed to be a part of AVID so, I decided to give it shot and it has been by far, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and ever since, I promised myself that I was going to give my all to my studies. 
To fill you in on a little bit of what I have been involved with these past few years, I have been (and am now) a part of several extracurricular activities those including: Soccer, Commercial Photography, Spanish Club, Student Council, Choir (won a medal and went to UIL in early April 2017) and National Honor Society, wherein I have recently been selected as my choirs’ secretary and was also appointed as a Marketing Manager in my Practicum in Business Management course for Waco High’s Store, The Lions’ Hub, given that my endorsement is general business. I have succeeded in maintaining high A’s in every single one of my courses throughout both my junior and senior year, these courses being: two Pre-AP, two AP, and three Dual Credit courses with McLennan Community College up until the summer of 2017, all while being involved with the extracurricular activities mentioned above. Also, I have done several hours of volunteer work at McLane Stadium and Central Faith Child Care and Development Center, just to name a few.
A few accomplishments that I have also been acknowledged for, includes my appearance in Waco Tribune-Herald’s newspaper for “Best-read outfit around” as being the winner for a group project from my Career and Technical Education business class my sophomore year, while being the winner for the same project as a junior, for the second consecutive year. In conjunction, several of my flyer’s that I have created as Marketing Manager for The Lions’ Hub, have recently been acknowledged and chosen by individuals downtown. These flyer’s serve to advertise Waco High, The Lions’ Hub, and demonstrate the capability us as students have to become successful, given that the students run the store.
My goal for my education was to reach the top 10% of my class and despite the fact that my class is very competitive, I have reached it this year. As for my career, I believe that I am on the correct path to being successful given that fact that my Practicum in Business Management course is helping me by giving me experience with the marketing world. This course has helped me achieve my goals because it not only gives me experience but I also get feedback on the work that I do which helps me as an individual. 

November 2017

 Reagan Lawrence

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Reagan Lawrence

Coming into high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life afterwards. I had become used to the idea of being told what to do or what I’m supposed to do. Entering Waco High and also developing into The Academy of Business and Industry, I quickly learned that I would need to start thinking for myself and making my own decisions. 

The Arts, AV and Communications partnered with with the Academy of Sales and Marketing offers a numerous amount of opportunities to students looking for success beyond Waco High. Since taking Business Information Management my Freshman year, I have chosen to pursue business as a career option, a career path I had never thought about before pursuing this endorsement. I have learned the basics of Microsoft Word and also experimented with Microsoft Excel, which I had no idea that existed before taking Business Information Management.

I’ve also gained knowledge in taking Commercial Photography throughout my Junior and Senior year. I learned photo taking and editing skills (Adobe Photoshop) beyond my previous knowledge. Experimenting with cameras and photo editing software’s and just developing skills that I could get paid for on a day to day basis really helps in thinking about my future. 
Being unsure of what I want to do with my life, making plans after high school and also thinking of what I want to major in during college. This endorsement has helped me made those decisions. Every year that you engage into this academy you get the opportunity to focus on communication and technology skills, which I was not strong in either before my Sophomore year.

Now that I’ve become more experienced and had the chance to take a class to focus on those skills alone, I am now more confident in speaking in front of others and also writing papers. These skills have benefited me in the long run by strengthening my resume and/or skills that are needed for future careers. The Academy of Business and Industry helps shed light onto basic skills that can either enhance your career path or make a student aware of the options they have after high school. 

October 2017

 Julissa Mendez

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Julissa Mendez

My name is Julissa Mendez, and this is my second year in GWAHCA, also known as Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy. This program has taught me many things about healthcare, and ultimately, I was able to obtain my CNA license during my junior year of high school. I am extremely proud of this accomplishment and attribute that to the life lessons taught by my parents. When I was younger, I lived in an apartment with my parents and two older brothers. We were not at the financial state that we are currently at. My dad has always told my brothers and I, “Good things come to those who wait.” I never would have believed him until I saw my mother become more than just a stay at home mom. She started to work outside of the home when I was about ten years old, and is such a hard-working woman, one that I look up to very much. Currently my father is the superintendent, though he started off his job with a shovel. With both hard work and dedication, both of my parents now have their own office, where they are their own boss. The type of ambition and drive that they have is what shaped my brothers and I to be who we are today.

My parents have also encouraged me to get involved in various extracurricular and volunteer activities, including participating in Band Booster Seats, as well as Student Council, where we volunteered at Caritas & Carters Blood Drive. One of the most important volunteer works I have participated in has been this past month, to collect clothes for the hurricane Harvey victims. Waco High School has collected tons of supplies, from clothing to hygiene products.

I enjoy being involved and am ready to lend a helping hand.  Through training and hands-on learning scenarios I was prepared to administer help during a very hectic situation in which one of my very close friends needed CPR assistance. The incident was scary, but I managed to keep myself together and with the knowledge that I had received from my GWAHCA teachers, I was able to take lead in the situation to ensure the best outcome for my friend. This experience solidified the fact that I am on the career path that is perfect for me, and I am looking forward to a career as a Radiologist. I plan to attend either Texas State in San Marcos, or MWSU in Wichita Falls after graduation.

Overall, I am glad I chose to switch my endorsement to Health Science during my sophomore year, which led me to this program. GWAHCA opened a doorway for me as an individual looking forward to my future career as a radiologist. The teachers here at the Academy have given me the knowledge and support necessary for me to be the healthcare professional that I am.  GWAHCA has prepared me more than any other program could, but most importantly it gave me a look at what healthcare is really like. I am thankful for the help from amazing role models in my life, including my teachers and family, and now it is my turn to evolve and help the ones that need me. I never expected to fall in love with serving others in this way, but I am excited for what my future holds.

September 2017

 Alexandria (Lexi) Field

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Alexandria (Lexi) Field

Senior - Academy of Automotive Technology

Ever since I was little I have always dreamed of being a pilot. I always wanted to be able to travel and explore new cultures and societies and being a pilot has given me that opportunity to do just that and so much more. But for me becoming a pilot isn't just a little kids dream, but a reality that is slowly setting in place over the next couple of years.
My father has always taught me that happiness and success come from the people you surround yourself with. Because those people will either pull you down and limit your
possibilities or launch you into opportunities that you never saw for yourself. So for me 30 years from now as long as I'm surrounded by my family and have my career as a pilot my life will be successful.
The things I will need for a successful life. The first is of course my family. They are the main reason why I'm even able to do this. My family has given me unconditional love and support and have continued to push me to accomplish my dreams even when I have wanted to give up. I will also need to go to an aviation school. I have decided to choose from TSTC or Spartan college in Oklahoma for school. Once a receive my trading and degree. I will then be able to move on to commercial piloting.
Automotive has helped me grasp a better understanding of the basic mechanics of how an engine works and functions. When I first started Waco High I was hoping for an aviation course
but sadly those type of classes were discontinued so I decided on automotive to help me gain useful knowledge that I can use for aviation. The course has already proven to be very useful in not only Aviation but it has also given me opportunities to work with major dealerships such as
Allen Samuels and Greg May Honda. Allowing me to have a backup plan if Aviation unfortunately doesn't not work out for me.