2023 Valedictorians and Salutatorians Announcement
Belton High School’s top graduating seniors have been competing to remain at the top of their class since the pandemic began. They reminisced about leaving for spring break and never coming back. Since then, their focus has been finishing at the top of their class. Both AP Scholars with Distinction are attending Texas A&M University in the fall.
Principal Ben Smith surprised Bryce Roberts and Kaden Lehrmann with the news Tuesday morning. They were proud, but remained humble. Lermann admitted that his graduation speech was ready to go.
Belton native, Roberts, is the son of Bryan and Janice Roberts. “Texas A&M is my dream school, I come from a proud Aggie family,” he stated. Roberts intends to study civil engineering so he can open a firm and be a professional engineer. Roberts loves deer and dove hunting, soccer and track. He is a youth leader at Christ the King Baptist Church.
Lehrmann’s mother, Michelle Mikeska serves as a substitute assistant principal for Belton ISD, and has the honor of presenting her son his diploma. Lehrmann, creator of the Big Future Ambassador Club, provides graduate resources to students in need. His goal is to raise scholarship funds for fatherless children, like him. “Studying civil engineering will help me have a positive effect on the world,” he stated. Lehrmann plays tennis, served as a National Honor Society Vice President, was awarded multiple UIL Academics and was a mathematics district champ.
Belton New Tech School’s top graduating seniors serve as writers on the Blair Street Journal and share a love for serving others. Valedictorian, Kole Petersen and Salutatorian, Mylie Hammonds are Belton natives who strive to motivate their classmates to thrive through all circumstances. Their confidence to serve is why they stated, “we both only applied to one school, there were no other options.” Petersen and Hammonds are AP scholars with distinction.
Petersen, son of Gulf War Veteran, Kathy Petersen is a fraternal twin. “I’m not supposed to be here (serving as valedictorian),” he stated. Petersen is attending Colorado College in the fall to study neuroscience with a minor in indigenous studies. He is a competitive swimmer and volunteers as a referee for special education soccer tournaments. USA Swimming All- American Petersen is a first-generation college attendee.
Hammonds is a teen cystic fibrosis advocate and lobbyist who will attend Texas A&M in the fall to study civil engineering. “Community service, healthier environments, clean hospitals and schools are important to me.” Hammonds stated. Her parents, Craig and Megan Hammonds are educators. She has over 400 service hours, plays violin at First Baptist Church in Belton and has earned medals at the Visual Arts Scholastic Events.
Lake Belton High School’s first graduating class will walk the stage at the Bell County Expo Center at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 25 th . Seniors Katie Bailey and Delilah Zuniga have the honor of holding distinction of the campus’s historic first top graduates.
Principal Jill Ross surprised Bailey and Zuniga with the news with beautiful floral bouquets prepared by their peers on Tuesday morning. These students were ecstatic and could not wait to share the news with their parents.
Valedictorian, Bailey, is the daughter of Angie and John Bailey. Bailey is studying Allied Health Science at Texas Christian University. Bailey, a youth state championship gymnastics coach wants to serve in sports medicine. Bailey has been in Health Occupations Students of America, National Honor Society, Altrusa, Student Council, but still makes plenty of time for naps, shopping and spending time at the movies.
Salutatorian, and first-generation college student, Dalilah Zuniga is the daughter of Melissa and Eduardo Zuniga. She will study nursing at Texas A&M University with the goal of working in an Intensive Care Unit and then become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. “Running is fun,” Dalilah said. She enjoys playing spike ball, pickleball and crafting.