Glen Rose High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian were recently announced, with two girls leading the way for the Class of 2018.
Jordan Nabors posted a grade point average of 107.643 to qualify as the GRHS valedictorian. Mendoza was the runner-up, nailing down the salutatorian position with a GPA of 106.732.
The other graduates who ranked in the top 10 percent (in order, starting with the third-ranking student), are Ashley Hang, Grace Hill, Savannah Culpepper, Emma Bozarth, Adriana Herrera, Payte Treadaway, Madison Roberson, Sydney Lozier, Allyson Andress, Emily Darby and Isela Delgado.
The graduation ceremony is set to start at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 1, in the GRHS auditorium. Principal Kelly Shackelford said there will be 127 graduates this year.
Here is a taste of some of the thoughts and plans the two top graduates shared with the Glen Rose Reporter:
Nabors said that kindergarten teacher Jean Ford reminded her of something she didn’t recall saying in class more than a dozen years ago.
“She said that when I was in kindergarten, I told her I wanted to be valedictorian when I graduated,” said Nabors.
Nabors played volleyball and basketball in the seventh and eighth grades, but chose not to play in high school. Her choice to give more attention to her studies paid off.
“I wanted to focus more on school,” said Nabors, who was a cheerleader all four years at GRHS. “I also was in band.”
Nabors was a member of the drum line, earned a Division I rating in the UIL state competition, and received a band scholarship. She received scholarship money from the SHS Band Booster Club ($2,500) and the Lions Club ($1,000).
Nabors said that a cousin of hers, Trey Sexton, is a former GRHS valedictorian who graduated when she was a freshman.
She plans to attend the University of Texas in Austin to major in biology.
“After that, I’m hoping to go to medical school,” Nabors said. “I’m not exactly sure what I want to do after that. I’ve kind of always wanted to be a surgeon.”
She said she has also considered other occupations in the medical field, such as becoming a radiologist or a physician. Her mother, Deborah Nabors, is a surgery nurse. Her father, Brett Nabors, is a pharmaceutical representative who is also a member of the Somervell County Hospital District’s board of directors.
Nabors said that she was strongest in math.
“I kind of just liked it because I was sort of good at it,” said Nabors, who was born in Glen Rose. “I would not have to force myself to do my homework, because I liked to do it. I didn’t really like history.”
Glen Rose schools prepared her “very well” for higher education, Nabors noted.
“The teachers are all extremely smart, and they are genuinely interested in education,” she said. "And they want to teach you what they are passionate about.”
Moving to the bright lights and big city of Austin could be a bit of a jolt. But she has a couple of friends from Glen Rose who graduated last year and live in Austin — Brittany Rosentreter and Brittan Grace. Grace is a family friend who attended the same church. She will be living in the same dorm as Rosentreter at UT.
She also aims to join a sorority to meet more friends and hopefully make the transition smoother.
“It’s kind of scary because it’s so big, and so different than Glen Rose,” Nabors said. “It holds so many opportunities. I think that’s cool and it will be really fun and exciting.”
High school studies for GRHS salutatorian Andrea Mendoza were most enjoyable when the subject involved life sciences, especially chemistry.
“It’s where it’s at,” Mendoza said. “I just always loved science. It’s always been interesting.”
She credits teacher Doug Ogletree with making it more understandable.
“I don’t like math, but it was just enough to make it interesting,” she said. “Actual science is what interested me. My most difficult (subject) is English. But this year, calculus has been kicking my butt. It’s very different from any other math I’ve taken.”
Mendoza said she will attend Texas A&M University as part of the Engineering Honors Program. She visited College Station twice to get a feel for the campus.
“I hope to go into chemical engineering,” Mendoza said, adding that she will decide later what occupational direction to take. “It’s up in the air. One of the reasons I liked this is because I can go into the medical field, or technology.
“I feel like the dual classes (most of which started her junior year at GRHS) really challenged me and helped me figure out the way to study for college classes. I took AP (Advanced Placement) classes before that.”
Mendoza triumphed over what began as a language barrier in her younger years. Her mother speaks no English, and her father speaks a limited amount.
“At home I spoke mainly Spanish,” said Mendoza, who took ESL (English as a Second Language) classes up until the fifth grade.
Mendoza applied for 25 scholarships, and was approved for several. The two most significant were from being a National Hispanic Scholarship Scholar, earning her $14,000, and the $12,000 she received from a Fort Worth Society of Petroleum Engineers scholarship.
Mendoza had been a member of the GRHS varsity cross country and track teams her freshman and sophomore years. But she quit sports in order to have more time for her school studies.
Such sacrifices, plus her scholarship money, are giving her a chance of a lifetime for a high-level education — and she sounds like she can’t wait for her life adventure to start.
“I’m finally going to be independent, and develop as a young adult,” Mendoza said. “I’m just excited to leave the constraints of high school, and being more free.”