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Belton ISD Announces 2019 Valedictorians and Salutatorians

On May 30, nearly 800 seniors will collect their diplomas from Belton ISD, and among the speakers at the graduation ceremonies for Belton High School (BHS) and Belton New Tech High School @Waskow (New Tech) will be each school’s top graduates.

At BHS, Jacob Jimenez, is the valedictorian, and Marcus Ake is the salutatorian. There are 665 students in the school’s graduating class.

Jimenez received national recognition for his academic accomplishments, being named both a National Merit Commended Scholar and National Hispanic Scholar. He is the president of Key Club, secretary of the Belton Youth Advisory Committee, a service officer in National Honor Society, and a member of Student Council. A Superintendent Scholar and avid athlete, he has competed in track, cross country, and ultimate frisbee. He has also organized and lead several volunteer groups that were formed to meet the spiritual and physical needs of underprivileged youths in Bell County. Upon graduation, Jimenez will pursue degrees in Architecture and Engineering at Harvard University.

Ake has remained active in National Honor Society, International Thespian Society, UIL Academics, as well as Centex Storm Club Soccer and Indoor Soccer. He is also aSuperintendent Scholar and National Merit Commended Scholar.While also balancing a job at Mathnasium as an instructor, Marcus achieved a perfect SAT Math Score. After the devastation caused by last month’s tornado in Franklin, Ake organized a donation drive to collect much-needed supplies, which led to an overwhelming amount of community support including a semi-truck loaded with diapers that was given by a Waco-based company. Upon graduation, Marcus will attend University of Oklahoma to major in meteorology, with a minor in German.

“I’m proud of Jacob and Marcus,” said BHS Principal Jill Ross. “Over the course of their high school career, they have excelled and inspired others with their impressive work ethic and drive. They have demonstrated their commitment to serving their community and those around them. Given their passion and skill for learning, I have no doubt that they will go on to do great things.”

At New Tech, Sarah Batson is the valedictorian, and Maia Borchardt is the salutatorian.

There are 132 students in the school’s graduating class.

Batson is a member of Belton High School’s UIL Speech and Debate team and actively participates in Belton New Tech’s BEST and FIRST Robotics teams. She has served as an officer in National Honor Society and was also named a National Merit Commended Scholar for ranking in the top five percent in the nation for scores on the PSAT. Upon graduation, she will attend the University of Texas at Austin as part of Liberal Arts Honors and major in Government with plans to work in Public Policy research or lobbying.

Borchardt is an active member of the Marching 100 and the Belton Drumline, and she serves as section leader of the bass drum line. She is involved in several school organizations at Belton New Tech including Key Club, where she serves as co-president, National Honor Society, where she serves as vice president, and the school's Student Leadership Council. A Superintendent Scholar, she has been active in UIL academics and was recognized as National Hispanic Scholar. Borchardt will be attending the University of Texas at Austin in the fall to study Government as a member of the Plan II honors program.

with the hopes of one day working in the government.

“I’m looking forward to recognizing Sarah and Maia at our graduation ceremony,” said New Tech Principal Ben Smith. “They have worked hard in the classroom to make it to the top of their class, but they’ve also worked equally hard to take their interests and turn them into opportunities for achievement. I expect they will take these same principles with them as they continue their studies in Austin next year.”

Belton ISD Superintendent Susan Kincannon said, “I want to congratulate Jacob, Marcus, Sarah and Maia. Throughout their high school careers, these top scholars have achieved an impressive record of success. They have earned recognition not only at their campus but also on a state and national level. I’m confident that this is only the beginning of their accomplishments and look forward to what they will do in the future.”

“I’m going to be a first-generation college student,” said Ake about his motivation to become salutatorian. “Both of my parents have had to work really hard for what they’ve earned. So, I’m trying to do the same thing, just work hard and do the best that I can do.”

Batson attributed her success to a strong work-ethic, “trying my absolute best to make sure that I was doing as close to perfect at school that I could. School is where I’ve considered myself the most dedicated, and that’s because my family really prioritizes education as an important part of our lives. 

Recognizing a consensus among the group, Borchardt said her parents’ emphasis on help her drive toward success. “I’ve always wanted to push myself to do the best that I could do and further my learning and aspects of life,” she said. 

Jimenez acknowledged that his father being a first-generation college student helped inspire his resolve. “My dad always told me to do everything will all my might, and so, trying my absolute best in everything I did has always been my mantra,” he said.

Belton ISD’s commencement ceremonies will be held on May 30 at the Bell County Expo Center. New Tech’s graduation begins at 2 p.m., and BHS’s ceremony starts at 7 p.m. Both graduations will be broadcast live on Spectrum Cable Channel 17 and Kisdtv.KilleenIsd.org. 

Joshua Wucher
josh.wucher@bisd.net
May 20, 2019