Alliance Bank in Sulphur Springs

26 Graduates Ranked In Top 10% of SSHS Senior Class of 2023 Recognized at Honors Breakfast

The top 10% of Sulphur Springs High School Senior Class of 2023 was recognized Tuesday morning, May 16, 2023, at a special honors breakfast at 7 A.M. at Hopkins County Civic Center.

The invocation was given before the breakfast prepared by the SSHS Culinary Arts Department, served by SSHS staff.

Former Superintendent Michael Lamb offered thanks to Alliance Bank, long time sponsor of the event which has become a celebratory tradition for students and their families. He also recognized local dignitaries and special community guests, including Sulphur Springs’ mayor, the Chamber of Commerce president, local media covering the event, a Texas A&M University-Commerce representative and introduced SSISD Board Of Trustees President Craig Roberts.

“It’s always a very, very special time to get to this point. You students that have gotten here kudos and congratulations to you, but you know you couldn’t have done it without the parents sitting beside you,” Lamb said.

Roberts thanked Michael Lamb for his 11 years working for the school district, two months ago accepting the same position at Little Elm ISD. Roberts then introduced the board members, starting with Robert Cody; Leesa Toliver; Robbin Vaughn, Jason Dietze and Kerry Wright.

SSHS counselors Leslie Harred and Carol Cowley took turns introducing this year’s honor graduates introduced in alphabetical order. Each graduate then too took their place at the front, along with their teacher who had the honor of presenting the graduate with an honor stole to wear at graduation on Friday night.

Honor graduate Carlos Alba plans to attend the University of Houston to pursue finance, hoping to be a financial advisor.

He recognized Mr. Todd McCoy, his instructor in the 11th grade who inspired Alba to be the best student he can be.

Alba served in National Honor Society as well as Technical Honor Society, along with HOSA.

Honor graduate Cameron Carter plans to attend Paris Junior College and plans to be an accountant.

His special guest was Mrs. Mylissa Bailey, who instructed him his senior year.

Honor graduate Artesia Cheak plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin, where she will major in biology.

She invited Ms. Madison Millsap, who inspired her sophomore through senior years. Cheak said Millsap helped her become a better persona nd student for college.

Cheak was involved with UIL academics her sophomore through senior years, as well as being a part of NHS her junior and senior years.

Honor graduate Matthew Clarke plans to attend Texas Christian University to major in finance.

Clarke has stayed busy during his time at SSHS. The soon-to-be-graduate has been a part of NHS, THS, Student Council, Key Club, Leadership, Varsity Soccer (where he was named DPOY, 1st Team All-Region, Academic 2nd Team All-State), as well as football, where he was named All-District 2nd Team, Academic 1st Team, as well as All-State for academics in the sport.

Honor graduate Alex Cooper plans to attend Texas A&M University in College Station, where he is studying biomedical sciences, focusing on radiology.

He invited Amy Ridner to be his special guest. Cooper said he just likes his honorary presenter.

Cooper has been a member of NHS, NTHS, Key Club, StuCo, an Eagle Scout, as well as serving as class treasurer.

Honor graduate Daniel Elam plans to attend Texas A&M University- Commerce where he will major in nursing.

Elam honored Shannon Welch, who he said deeply cares for her students.

He’s been in multiple organizations with HOSA, National Technical Honor Society and National Honor Society. 

Andres Flores is attending the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in computer science.

He invited Mr. John Wilder, who’s taught him in 9th through the 12th grades. He’s been his UIL computer science coach and his computer science teacher for four years. Flores says he’s helped him in his academic journey as well as being a very kind individual. 

He again has been in multiple activities including National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, BPA state competitor, Latino history essay state medalist, Texas impact scholar at UT Austin, as well as participating in UIL computer science. 

Honor graduate Martha Gonzales plans to attend Texas A&M University- Commerce, where she plans to major in social work with a minor in Spanish.

Her activities include National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society FCCLA, Key Club, Student Council Class Officer, Chick-fil-A Association Leadership Academy and HKK Club. 

Gonzales invited Mrs. Susan Cook, who inspired her in middle school. She said Mrs. Cook helped her in math, which in turn became her favorite subject.

Honor grad Laney Hurst plans to attend the University of Texas at Tyler, planning to apply for the nursing school in the hopes of obtaining a bachelor’s degree to become a travel nurse.

She invited Coach Casey Jeter because in the short amount of time he has made the greatest impact on her life. He showed her what hard work and dedication will get her, and Hurst said Coach Jeter loves her like his own daughter. She said she is forever grateful for his role in her time at SSHS.

Her career at SSHS includes academic and athletic awards. She served in NHS, NTHS, as well as others. In athletics, she was a member of varsity volleyball, cross country, powerlifting, and track.

Jillian Jumper is attending Kansas State University, where she plans to study interior design.

She invited Mrs. Christina Davis, who’s influenced her throughout high school. The honor graduate says Mrs. Davis has had a huge impact on her interest in interior design through her time at SSHS.

She’s been in National Honor Society. National Technical Honor Society, a Student Council officer and a cheerleader for four years. Jumper has also been involved in FCCLA, been participated in interior design competition where she was first at regionals for two years and first at state and third at Nationals. 

Honor graduate Chloe Kerns plans to attend Stephen F. Austin State University where she intends to major in criminal justice with a minor in psychology.

She invited Mrs. Beth Cole as the educator that has influenced her in grades 6-12. Kerns said the teacher influenced her love and appreciation for music. The honor graduate hopes everyone has the opportunity to have a teacher like Cole.

Kerns has been in National Honor Society Hopkins County Leadership, volunteered at Davis Street Baptist Church, and she’s been in varsity choir. She is a three time state Solo & Ensemble qualifier as well as two time All-Region and Area qualifier. 

Honor graduate Mali Maeker plans to attend Texas A&M University and wants to go into nursing science. Maeker wants to go on to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.

She invited Mrs. Lucy Adair who taught her in 6th grade, but is like a second mom to the honor grad.

Maeker has been in volleyball for four years where she was on varsity team for three of those, picking up Academic All-District each year on the varsity squad, and Academic All-State her senior year. She’s also been a member of Key Club, NTHS, NHS, and an officer in HOSA. 

Maeker was a state finalist in the Latino History Essay UIL competition and has been involved in Hopkins County leadership. 

Honor graduate Bridger Mayhew plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin and become a history professor.

Mayhew invited coach Carlos Ramirez, the educator that has influenced him in throughout high school.

He’s been involved in National Honor Society, as well as playing tennis and soccer. 

SSHS 2023 Honor Graduate Bridger Mathew and special guest coach Carlos Ramirez

Lexi McCoy is not only an honor graduate, she is the top graduate in the SSHS Senior Class of 2023. She has decided to attend the University of Alabama to study biological research in plants and nutrition. 

She’s received Academic All-State Honors in Volleyball, and Secretary of National Honor Society, as well as being a part of Hopkins County Leadership Class, and Key Club. She is a National Merit Commended Student and National Recognition Scholar. 

McCoy is an Academic UIL State medalist and State runner-up in the Barbara Jordan Essay competition.

She too invited Mrs. Millsap who first taught the student her sophomore year, along the way building a wonderful friendship. McCoy said Millsap always listens, gives the best advice and is thankful for the SSHS instructor.

Mykylie Meador was absent from the honor breakfast, as she and Lady Cats golf were in Kingsland that morning participating at the State Golf Tournament. Meador plans to attend University of Arkansas to pursue a career in business. 

She invited Coach Tony Martinez, who has been her tennis coach in grades nine through twelve and says she invited the tennis coach because he has made a difference in her life over the last four years as a mentor and coach. She said Martinez has been supportive, trustworthy and patient with the graduate.

Meador has not only been on both varsity tennis & golf squads all four years of high school, in FCCLA as a competitor in interior design, an FCA Officer, on top of being a Key club and NHS member.

Honor Graduate and Salutatorian of the Class of 2023 Lausen Ost plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to become a civil engineer.

Ost too honored Beth Cole who taught the salutatorian in grades 6-12. 

He says Mrs. Cole has provided a memorable learning environment and has grown his love of music.

He has served as National Honor Society President, National Technical Honor Society member, HOSA member varsity choir member.

Ost competed at the state level in UIL Journalism and Current Event Issues and in 2022 was named state champion in the Latino History Essay competition. He is also a National Merit Commended Student.

Perhaps his biggest achievement though was being named as a member of the 2023 TMEA All-State Mixed Choir, the highest honor for a singer at the high school level. 

Honor graduate Ella Ray will be attending Texas A&M University, where she will study nursing. 

She’s invited Coach Newton as she’s gotten to know him and the two have grown close in the last year. 

They attend church together, Ray babysits members of Newton’s family, and as a result the senior considers him to be more like family. It’s always made it very clear to Ray that she can come to him for anything and the senior will be forever grateful for the role that he has played in her life. 

Ray is a Historian for Student Council, on top of being members of Hopkins County Leadership, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, HOSA and Key Club.

Honor graduate Madelyn Sherman plans to attend Oklahoma State University where she will study physical therapy. 

She invited Gerald Grafton, working with him her freshman year. She says that he has supported her and encouraged her in everything that she does. 

Sherman has been in Key Club, Student Council, Vice President of the National Honor Society, participating in Academic UIL, cheerleading, a RYLA student representative, as well as being named a Martin Luther King, Jr. Character award winner. 

Honor graduate Sallee Spraggins will be attending Texas A&M University where she will study business, hoping to have a career in human resources. 

She too honored Beth Cole, who Spraggins said has directly influenced her for seven years and helped her grow as a student and as a person. 

Spraggins is members of National Honor Society, Blue Blazes, as well as serving as Senior Lieutenant. She is a member of Key Club, the Varsity choir at SSHS, member of the One church worship team and youth group, and she’s participated sponsoring with a Bright Star baseball program. 

Honor graduate Rebekah Stanley will be attending Texas A&M University where she will become a physical therapist. 

She invited Tammy Carroll who worked with the soon-to-be-graduate in 11th and 12 grades, helping Stanley through her rehab process and encouraging her all along the way.

Stanley too has been involved in many activities. She’s officer in FFA, Key Club, and in Student Council, being in NHS and NTHS for two years as well. On top of that, Stanley on the athletic side was a member of varsity soccer and cross country for four and three years, respectively.

Honor graduate Isabelle Thesing will be attending Maine Maritime Academy, and her future plans are to be a Marine Systems engineer.

She honored Astrea Griggs for being the first teacher that made her love learning.

She has many honors and activities, including being a member of varsity soccer for four years. She’s been captain for three of those 1st Team All-District Defender of the year, Honorable mention All-District, been a part of varsity track for four years, and a member of Power Lifting, including being a Regional Qualifier. Thesing also was a part of Key Club, Hopkins County Leadership, NHS NTHS and Vice President of the latter. She’s a member of the robotics team where she has been head engineer for three years. 

Honor graduate Bailey Vice is attending the University of Texas in Austin where she wants to be a nurse practitioner and focus in dermatology. 

She invited educator Carla Martinez and remembers her especially from 10th grade. 

Vice is a member of National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Key Club, STUCO and HOSA. 

Honor graduate Addisyn Wall is attending Tyler Junior College and is going to study dental hygiene.

She invited Jarrett Wilson, who the senior says has always been there for her and goes above and beyond to help problem-solve.

Wall has been a member of varsity basketball, Academic All-State 1st Team, 1st Team All-District. She was MVP of the varsity volleyball team, being awarded Academic All-State 1st Team and All-District in that sport as well. Wall is also apart of Key Club (an officer in that as well), Student Council, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, member of the Leadership Group for Hopkins County and in the Academic UIL Barbara Jordan essay competition, she was our state champion.  

Honor graduate Aubrey Williams will be attending Texas A&M University- Commerce and study music education. Williams will be a member of the Honors College when she enrolls.

She invited Jeff Garza who helped her choose her career path and always offered support and guidance to the senior.

Williams has been in the band, a member of Key club, a part of the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Group as well as serving in National Honors Society.

Honor graduate Merrin Williams too will be attending Texas A&M University- Commerce but will study nursing.

Her special guest is Leslie Williams. Not only teacher, obviously, but her mom all the way back to third grade, she said it was special for me to be able to have my mom as my teacher. 

She’s been involved in Key Club her entire school career, as well as HOSA, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Academic UIL, Hopkins County Leadership, and received the Martin Luther King Jr. Character award this year. Williams has been a Bright Star Baseball buddy since 6th grade. 

SSHS 2023 Honor Graduate Khira Young and special guest Leesha Woodard

Honors graduate Khira Young will be attending Texas Women’s University where she will earn her bachelor’s to become a music therapist.

Young invited Mrs. Leesha Woodard who taught the SSHS honors grad back in sixth grade, but has helped her grow into the person she is today.

She’s been in theater where she was an officer her junior year, going on to serve as president this year. Young is a member of Student Council where she has served as secretary. She has also been a part of National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, and Key Club. Young participated in last year’s Dairy Festival pageant where she won the title of Miss Congeniality. Many at the high school know her as the voice of SSHS as she does the announcements every day. 

Author: Ross LaBenske

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