GREAT GRADUATES 2020
Great Graduates 2020: Miles Korzekwa
Poth, Texas Hard work and determination have paid off for Poth High School graduate Miles Korzekwa. Despite growing up in the small community of Koscuisko just outside of Poth, Korzekwa is ready to move to a bigger city. One way was joining a volunteer program and logging over 100 hours of volunteer work. His hard work paid off and Korzekwa finished at the top of his senior class with a 106.39 GPA. Even though weve had all this stuff going on, theres still better things ahead, Korzekwa said.
Clemens High School graduate went from shy kid to all-state choir
SAN ANTONIO Senior Tristino Ali said he used to be super shy, but it was choir that truly broke him out of his shell. I was really shy, like really shy, Ali said. Like someone walked past me... it wouldnt happen.After achieving several awards through honors choir over four years at Clemens High School, Ali said making all-state choir this year was the most rewarding. One of his school counselors, Vicki Williams, said his accomplishments are impressive and she is extremely proud of his hard work. He is just a phenomenal young man.Ali said he just wants to use his music degree to one day be a high school choir teacher.
Great Graduates 2020: Shilpa Gunuganti
As a result, KSAT12′s Great Graduates series highlights local graduates who have gone above and beyond. Shilpa Gunuganti, a recent Saint Mary’s Hall graduate, has not only won prestigious speech and debate awards but has also started a legal non-profit to help members of the community. Gunuganti has also used her voice and her intellect to step up and help out the San Antonio community in a big way. “It's called Legal Legacy Project,” Gunuganti said. In the fall, Shilpa is set to be a Harvard student, but that doesn’t mean her community service ends.
US Presidential Scholar Award recognizes local student
SAN ANTONIO – Alamo Heights High School continues to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s graduating class. He’s a member of several organizations including the National Honor Society, Young Engineers and the Alamo Heights Rocketry Club. “They sent out an email telling me that I was nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholar Award,” Lloyd said. Alamo Heights High School - Great Graduates 2020“I’m going to Duke University next year to the School of Engineering for biomedical engineering,” Lloyd said. Lloyd is one of 161 students in the nation and one of four Texans to receive the U.S. Presidential Scholar Award this year.
Great Graduates 2020: Rachel Kamata
SAN ANTONIO An art contest in the fifth grade helped Rachel Kamata realize she had potential as an artist. There was a Parent Teacher Association art competition, Kamata said. Through the years, Kamata has been able to explore new art mediums like oil panting, clay and block painting. For this piece, it's really talking about my Japanese heritage and my grandparents who live in Japan, Kamata said. Kamata was able to make copies of her print and sent one to her grandparents for Mothers Day.
Great Graduates 2020: Eduardo Ramos
SAN ANTONIO – Eduardo Ramos is graduating at the top of his class. He’s the valedictorian at Fox Tech High School, but he said he is already excited about his next chapter — medical school. “I’ve been in cross country, I’ve been in track, I’ve been in archery, I’ve been in soccer,” said Ramos. “They added soccer to Fox Tech,” said Ramos. So, it was pretty cool.”Jose Castro is a law and world history teacher at Fox Tech High School, but he also coaches cross country and track.
Steele HS grad beats cancer after losing father to cancer
She lost her father to brain cancer during her sophomore year in high school. “They did an MRI and they found out I had a brain tumor,” Victoria said. “It was hard to understand why it would happen twice in our family,” Victoria said. But her family and friends rallied around her and gave her the strength to recover from her surgery to remove her brain tumor in December. She was the president of the student council, Lieutenant Colonel of the Steele dance team and was a member of the band.
Great Graduates 2020: Valeria Valle
SAN ANTONIO Valeria Valle is the valedictorian at Jefferson High School and she is very excited about going to the University of Texas at Austin in the fall, where she plans to study biochemistry. Valle is also excited about getting into medical school in the future so, she can become a dermatologist. It was just a career where I think I would be able to excel because it's something I enjoy doing, said Valle. Aside from her community, Valle says she wants to take care of her family, especially her three younger sisters, especially now, after her father passed away. He recently passed away in early March, which was really hard, said Valle.
Great Graduates 2020: Erik Kamanzi
SAN ANTONIO – A dangerous 8,000 mile journey from a war torn country in Africa ends on San Antonio’s West Side. Erik Kamanzi and his family started in the democratic republic of Congo and now Erik is graduating from KIPP University Prep School way for college in the fall. “I’m a refugee from Congo to Tanzania, yeah, I came here 2010 to San Antonio,” Apolina Kulimushi, Erik’s mom, said. Rawanda and Congo fighting. But like, just what she’s done by herself as a single parent, is like just out of this world, crazy.” Erik Kamanzi said.
Great Graduates 2020: Mitchel Martinez
Years later he’s ready to graduate and cross the stage to receive his diploma from East Central High School as an exemplarily student. After recovering, he used his determination and work ethic to make himself a standout student at East Central High School. “He is the model of what we want for every student at Central,” Shane McKay, principal of East Central High School said. Mitchel Martinez, great graduate 2020 image. “I have to thank the high school and the Alamo academies and my step mom, my dad, everyone that supported me,” Mitchel said.
Great Graduates 2020: Jackson Macias turns down Harvard for bigger opportunity
SAN ANTONIO Wrestling, football and soccer are some of the sports that Clemens High School senior Jackson Macias has excelled in. He has also been a leader in the Air Force JROTC program for four years. But then I got the acceptance into the Air Force Academy and the excitement from it was enough to tell me thats where I wanted to go, Jackson said. His father graduated from the Academy and his sister Hailee Macias just finished her four years. Hailee says what she most respects about Jackson is his extreme work ethic, which she says landed him his opportunities.
Great Graduates 2020: Natalie Castillo
SAN ANTONIO Natalie Castillo is the valedictorian of her class at Brackenridge High School, but she is looking forward to attending the University of Texas at Austin in the fall to pursue a degree in management information systems. I say the three top people I look up to would be Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Sergey Brin. Hes the co-founder of Google, said Castillo. I think its pretty known that women havent been represented in these fields, in like high positions, in high amount of influence like these individuals have, said Castillo. And, I think that separates her from her peers.Great Graduates 2020: Nicolas Rios
Great Graduates 2020: Nicolas Rios
SAN ANTONIO Travis Early College High School graduating senior Nicolas Rios is looking forward to attending Johns Hopkins University in the fall. I always thought it was good helping people, especially, you know, if they have some type of ailments, said Rios. He mentors his classmates and he also created a study guide for the San Antonio College Course, Pre-Calculus. I was in charge of all the lights and sound throughout the haunted house, said Rios. I dressed up like the Joker and its pretty fun to get to see the haunted house actually work and come to life.
Great Graduates 2020: Corinthea Hensley
SAN ANTONIO Before Spring Break and before the coronavirus pandemic, Corinthea Hensley graduated from high school. I motivated myself because I wanted to be able to graduate and it made me, I guess, realize my potential, said Hensley. Susan Theis, Allison Steele Learning Academy counselor, said Corinthea Hensley is a very passionate and motivated student. She's had, you know, foster care workers, shelter workers, case managers involved in her life." That day that I finished everything and I graduated and they gave me my transcript, it was it was an amazing feeling, said Hensley.
Great Graduates 2020: Tristan Cantu
SAN ANTONIO Losing his mother, switching schools and changing lifestyles was not easy for Tristan Cantu, but now he is thriving after overcoming obstacle after obstacle. I pretty much didnt finish the sixth grade; we spent all summer in the hospital and all that and she passed away right before I started seventh grade, graduating senior from Saint Marys Hall, Tristan Cantu said. It was very hard, it was very difficult, I know what I went through, I just cant imagine how it affected him, Mike Cantu said. She was just a great person I love her so much, I think about her every day and she really inspires me a lot, Tristan said. As for other students who have gone through or maybe are going through similar circumstances, Tristan has a piece of advice.
Great Graduates 2020: Alex Kubon
SAN ANTONIO – Big goals and a positive attitude, that’s how Alex Kubon said he was able to achieve a major milestone that helped him standout to several universities. Kubon is graduating in the top ten of his senior class at NISD’s Communications Arts High School and was accepted to both Trinity University and Purdue University. But I thought you can’t have self-doubt in your head like that when you’re twelve years old and you’re trying to do something,” he said. “I’m going to Purdue University and I’ll be majoring in data science,” he said. With his skills and a future degree from Purdue, thats what Alex hopes to do for an analytics department of a major league baseball team.
Great Graduates 2020: Arlie Briseno
SAN ANTONIO Remember the name Arlie Briseno because one day he could be a world renowned chef. Briseno is a graduating senior at Southside High School senior who was forced to grow up fast as after a terrifying fire. I feel like I can put my passion of food and I want people to see that passion, Briseno said. Great Graduates 2020: Emily HofmannWatching him work in the kitchen and talk about cooking, we could see Briseno loves to create food and loves to make food taste great. I get a thrill, I get my experience, I learn; I live and I learn, Briseno said.
Great Graduates 2020: Emily Hofmann
Published: May 22, 2020, 9:16 am Updated: May 22, 2020, 9:22 amSAN ANTONIO – As if being a senior in high school during the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t hard enough, imagine being the one leading your class as valedictorian. That’s the case for, Emily Hofmann. Despite the life challenges that have come her way, Emily is just one of hundreds of graduates from East Central High School looking forward to attending college. She plans to become a cardiac doctor, eventually hoping to return to the very same hospital that she had open heart surgery as a baby. Before the class of 2020 moves on to the next phase of their lives, she shared a few words of advice.
Great Graduates 2020: Caitlin Vela-Mota
Caitlin Vela-Mota of the North East Independent School District has exemplified academic prowess and perseverance and is now a KSAT12 2020 Great Graduate. “I was so happy, because I was actually losing hope at that time,” graduating senior Vela-Mota said about the moment she learned she was getting a special award. Vela-Mota received a scholarship for homeless youth and part of that award is a trip to Washington DC. Great Graduate 2020: Caitlin Vela-Mota (KSAT)“It was a healthy distraction for me and an escape and the best way I can get accepted or even go is to make sure that I am a good candidate,” Vela-Mota said. Caitlin currently has a home with a family she calls her godparents and the sky for her now has no limits.
Youth Orchestra of San Antonio musician accepted to top music conservatory
SAN ANTONIO If youve ever had the chance to attend a Youth Orchestra of San Antonio, or YOSA concert, youve witnesses some of the citys most skilled young musicians. The goal for many YOSA orchestra musicians is to make it to the top orchestra, the YOSA Philharmonic. Hernndez, a bassist, thanks the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio and his high school orchestra for that accomplishment. Whenever (classical) music, I just envision the great composers, the great music and the great orchestras of the past, Hernndez said. The young musician was accepted to Indiana Universitys Jacobs School of Music, a music conservatory that consistently ranks among the top music schools in the nation.
Great Graduates 2020: Kaylee Burgess
SAN ANTONIO – It’s been an interesting school year for students in San Antonio -- especially graduating seniors due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kaylee Burgess is a senior at Taft High School and she said she is excited about heading to Harvard in the fall. It’s super exciting,” said Burgess. “It was really exciting to be able to tell everyone, so my mom cried, my closest teachers, they also cried,” said Burgess. “They were super happy for me.”“Kaylee is a very bright student, but she’s a very humble person as well,” said Taft High School Principal Marti Cortinas-Fernandez.
Great Graduates 2020: Mackenzie Vasquez
Published: May 18, 2020, 5:35 am Updated: May 18, 2020, 8:56 amBOERNE, Texas Its been a senior year with so many uncertainties, but Boerne High School Senior Mackenzie Vasquez is not letting it break her spirits. Vasquez has a bright future ahead as she gets ready to go to the University of Notre Dame this fall. A softball superstar, she has played varsity all four years for Boerne High School. I had a few other offers, and so when I actually got the call from Notre Dame, I knew right away I was going to commit there, Vasquez said. Dont take anything for granted, live it up while you can and take advantage of these moments, Vasquez said.
Great Graduates 2020: Isabella Garcia
SAN ANTONIO In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, students across the country are distance-learning and high school seniors are participating in virtual graduations. One such student is Isabella Garcia, of the Southside Independent School District. Getting to this moment has not been an easy journey for the Garcia family, as just a few years ago Isabella and her family lost her sister, Ariana. She has really inspired me to stay strong and to make my whole life about caring for children like her, Isabella said. "I can continue her legacy in a way, because she was so strong, Isabella said.
Great Graduates 2020: Jewel Medel
SAN ANTONIO – The class of 2020 is graduating in the face of unique challenges this year and in our Great Graduates series we feature outstanding graduates from across the city. Jewel Medel is the valedictorian at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy. Medel is in the National Honor Society, the Young Poet’ Society, volleyball, basketball and track and field and she’s received a full scholarship to Brown University. I want her to know if I can do it, she can do it.”Michelle Grajeda is an AP and dual credit instructor at SAISD’s Young Women’s Leadership Academy. Grajeda has been Medel’s instructor for four different courses over the past 4 years and also heads the Young Poet’s society.