Education

Snapshot: The Stories Of 9 Houston High School 2019 Graduates

A look into the lives of nine seniors from across Houston.

Seniors all across Houston are graduating from high school this month. Among them are athletes, mothers and students who are the first in their families to go to college. In the photo gallery below, we highlight the personal stories of nine seniors.

  • Derrick Ngo graduated valedictorian from Energy Institute High School and will attend Harvard in the fall. Despite being homeless after facing challenges at home, including having an incarcerated mother and an absentee father, Ngo found shelter on his own and maintained good grades. All the while, he kept his living situation a secret from friends and teachers, according to HISD.  (Photo Credit: HISD)
    Derrick Ngo graduated valedictorian from Energy Institute High School and will attend Harvard in the fall. Despite being homeless after facing challenges at home, including having an incarcerated mother and an absentee father, Ngo found shelter on his own and maintained good grades. All the while, he kept his living situation a secret from friends and teachers, according to HISD. (Photo Credit: HISD)
  • Mauricio Guerrero attended Wisdom High School and will head to  Columbia University in the fall to study Mechanical Engineering with a full scholarship. After his father was deported several months ago, Guerrero struggled with whether he needed to quit his 5A UIL Math and Science Team to find an after-school job to help support his mother and brother. Guerrero was able to stay on the team and became a key reason why the team became the state champions in the Calculator Applications competition. 
 (Photo Credit: HISD)
    Mauricio Guerrero attended Wisdom High School and will head to Columbia University in the fall to study Mechanical Engineering with a full scholarship. After his father was deported several months ago, Guerrero struggled with whether he needed to quit his 5A UIL Math and Science Team to find an after-school job to help support his mother and brother. Guerrero was able to stay on the team and became a key reason why the team became the state champions in the Calculator Applications competition. (Photo Credit: HISD)
  • Chanmarie Un attended Clear Brook High School and will be attending Stanford University. Un said as a first-generation American she has struggled in finding her identity as a Cambodian-American. Un spent most of her time on the FIRST Robotics team at her school. She also volunteered at local elementary schools to mentor students in robotics. Despite being heavily involved in robotics throughout high school, she will be going in the fall as an undeclared major in hopes of discovering her passion for her future career. 
 (Photo Credit: CCISD)
    Chanmarie Un attended Clear Brook High School and will be attending Stanford University. Un said as a first-generation American she has struggled in finding her identity as a Cambodian-American. Un spent most of her time on the FIRST Robotics team at her school. She also volunteered at local elementary schools to mentor students in robotics. Despite being heavily involved in robotics throughout high school, she will be going in the fall as an undeclared major in hopes of discovering her passion for her future career. (Photo Credit: CCISD)
  • Peyton Galyean attended Clear Creek High School and will attend Seminole State College in Oklahoma. At 18 months old, she was diagnosed with congenital cataracts, leaving her 90% blind in her right eye and 85% in her left eye. From that point until she was five years old, she had five corrective surgeries in attempt to better her vision as much as possible. Then at 10 years old, Galyean fell from an indoor playground, resulting in an emergency surgery and a doctor telling her she would never regain full use of her arm. After six months of therapy, she proved her doctor wrong and in the seventh grade, Galyean picked up golf. This past March, she became the District 24-6A Individual Champion. Galyean will pursue her passion for golf at Seminole State. (Photo Credit: CCISD)
    Peyton Galyean attended Clear Creek High School and will attend Seminole State College in Oklahoma. At 18 months old, she was diagnosed with congenital cataracts, leaving her 90% blind in her right eye and 85% in her left eye. From that point until she was five years old, she had five corrective surgeries in attempt to better her vision as much as possible. Then at 10 years old, Galyean fell from an indoor playground, resulting in an emergency surgery and a doctor telling her she would never regain full use of her arm. After six months of therapy, she proved her doctor wrong and in the seventh grade, Galyean picked up golf. This past March, she became the District 24-6A Individual Champion. Galyean will pursue her passion for golf at Seminole State. (Photo Credit: CCISD)
  • Cindy Keeya will be graduating from Spring High School and heading to Yale in the fall with the highly selective Gates scholarship. At a young age, Keeya came to the US from Uganda with her family. Once here, her parents found that their bachelors degrees weren’t recognized, so they had to start over with very little money. Through this experience, Keeya learned how to work hard. And her hard work paid off -- she's graduating valedictorian of her school. Cindy aims to be a doctor. 
 (Photo Credit: SISD)
    Cindy Keeya will be graduating from Spring High School and heading to Yale in the fall with the highly selective Gates scholarship. At a young age, Keeya came to the US from Uganda with her family. Once here, her parents found that their bachelors degrees weren’t recognized, so they had to start over with very little money. Through this experience, Keeya learned how to work hard. And her hard work paid off -- she's graduating valedictorian of her school. Cindy aims to be a doctor. (Photo Credit: SISD)
  • Rosa Maria Franco graduated from Langham Creek High School. She participated in the Special Olympics for 10 years. Franco won the Taylor Rhule Scholarship for her continued sports participation. When asked about her ambitions, Franco told CFISD she wants to “go to college. I want to work with animals when I grow up. I also want to help students at school.” (Photo Credit: CFISD)
    Rosa Maria Franco graduated from Langham Creek High School. She participated in the Special Olympics for 10 years. Franco won the Taylor Rhule Scholarship for her continued sports participation. When asked about her ambitions, Franco told CFISD she wants to “go to college. I want to work with animals when I grow up. I also want to help students at school.” (Photo Credit: CFISD)
  • Kellin McGowan graduated from St. Thomas High School and will attend the University of Chicago in the fall to study Political Science. He has made history at his school, graduating as St. Thomas’ first African-American valedictorian with a 4.57 GPA. He also received the school’s Albert R. Gaelens award, which recognizes the senior student who best embodies the school’s motto of “Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.” (Photo Credit: Marie De Jesús/ For NPR)
    Kellin McGowan graduated from St. Thomas High School and will attend the University of Chicago in the fall to study Political Science. He has made history at his school, graduating as St. Thomas’ first African-American valedictorian with a 4.57 GPA. He also received the school’s Albert R. Gaelens award, which recognizes the senior student who best embodies the school’s motto of “Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.” (Photo Credit: Marie De Jesús/ For NPR)
  • Christal Bernal will graduate from Bellaire High School. While attending school and maintaining good grades, she also works a part-time job and takes care of her young daughter. Bernal was once a dropout, but returned to school to graduate and create a better life for her and her daughter. Her principal says that Bernal’s positive outlook and determination to graduate has brought tears to the eyes of educators at Bellaire. (Photo Credit: HISD)
    Christal Bernal will graduate from Bellaire High School. While attending school and maintaining good grades, she also works a part-time job and takes care of her young daughter. Bernal was once a dropout, but returned to school to graduate and create a better life for her and her daughter. Her principal says that Bernal’s positive outlook and determination to graduate has brought tears to the eyes of educators at Bellaire. (Photo Credit: HISD)
  • Jacque Woodard graduated from Mickey Leland College Prep Academy and plans to attend UH-Downtown in the fall. Woodard has autism and has been a student at the academy since the sixth grade. At school, his teachers say he is known for his strong sense of loyalty and genuinely caring spirit. Through help from educators who have provided him with small-group instruction, extra time to respond to oral questions, frequent breaks and extra cues to stay on task, Woodard achieved his goal of graduating from high school. 
 (Photo Credit: HISD)
    Jacque Woodard graduated from Mickey Leland College Prep Academy and plans to attend UH-Downtown in the fall. Woodard has autism and has been a student at the academy since the sixth grade. At school, his teachers say he is known for his strong sense of loyalty and genuinely caring spirit. Through help from educators who have provided him with small-group instruction, extra time to respond to oral questions, frequent breaks and extra cues to stay on task, Woodard achieved his goal of graduating from high school. (Photo Credit: HISD)

 

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