BELTON, Texas — Nine students from Belton Independent School District have earned national academic honors from College Board for their performances on the PSAT test.
The students ranked among the top 2.5 percent of test takers who identified as African-American, Hispanic or Latinx, Indigenous or attend school in a rural area or small town.
To qualify for the honor, students had to reach at least a minimum required PSAT score, as well as a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.
“It’s always great to see our Belton ISD students honored for their hard work and dedication to learning,” said Superintendent Matt Smith. “We applaud this achievement and all that this award represents.”
The College Board recognition program is now on its third year, and is an effort to create pathways to college for students from underrepresented communities. The program not only awards students the academic honors, it also connects them to colleges around the country.
Here are the honorees:
National Hispanic Recognition Awards were presented to:
Rhiannon Gaddis is the daughter of John and Nichole Gaddis. The LBHS senior plays in the band and jazz band and studies graphic design and illustration in a practicum course. After graduating, she plans to study studio art and illustration at a Texas university.
Jayden Guajardo is the son of Mario and Sarah Guajardo. The LBHS junior plays in the school’s marching band and jazz band. After graduating, he hopes to attend the University of Texas to study engineering.
Matthew Herrera is the son of Maria-Angelica and Rogelio Herrera. The BHS junior plays the piano and violin in his spare time. At school, he is a member of the Belton Chamber Orchestra, the varsity tennis team and the National Honor Society. He also competes in UIL Academics. Herrera hopes to attend the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor after graduation and complete dual majors in chemistry and piano performance. He then wants to attend Texas A&M’s College of Medicine to specialize in cardiac surgery.
Audriana Martinez is the daughter of Teresa Salazar and Nicolaus Martinez. She is a senior at BHS, where she serves as president of the Creative Writing club. Martinez also participates in the National Honor Society and works part-time. After graduating, she wants to earn a degree in English or creative writing and become an editor for a publishing company. She hopes to attend either the University of Texas or the University of Houston.
Josue Martinez is the son of Jesus and Fabiola Martinez. The LBHS senior is the flute section leader in the Stampede Marching Band, sings in the varsity mixed choir and serves as vice president of the National Honor Society. In college, he plans to major in business analytics and minor in music composition.
Diego Ramos is the son of Maritza Justo and Ricardo Ramos. The BHS junior is a member of Student 2 Student and the Robotics club. He hopes to major in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas.
Dalilah Zuniga is the daughter of Eduardo and Melissa Zuniga. The LBHS senior is in the National Honor Society, runs varsity cross country and track and volunteers with the kids ministry at her church. She also fundraises for anti-human trafficking efforts with an organization called Dressember. Zuniga plans to attend Texas A&M University to major in public health. Ultimately, she hopes to become a nurse.
National Indigenous Recognition Awards were presented to:
Isaiah Devasure is the son of Jennifer Mullen. The BHS senior is the treasurer for the Student Council, is a member of the National Honor Society and writing club and also participates in football and UIL Academics. He would like to study pre-law and major in political science.
Hayden Presley is the daughter of Kim and Leon Presley. The LBHS senior is a member of the varsity cheerleader team and the publicist for LBHS Thespian Troupe 9051. After graduating, she hopes to attend college to study theatre education.