Harrison Hawkins and Laura Ogletree have several things in common, other than just being two of the 124 Glen Rose High School seniors who will be graduating on May 24.
They have been announced as the two highest-ranking students in the Class of 2019.
Hawkins is the valedictorian, with a weighted grade-point average of 108.529.
Ogletree is the salutatorian, having a weighted GPA of 108.096.
The rest of the top 10 percent of the graduates, ranked in order starting with No. 3 behind Hawkins and Ogletree, are Kerah McConal, Natalie Lacey, Westen Halcom, Kaylee Flanary, Ashlyn Williams, Presley Grace, Collin Dunson, Bailee Monk, Bryanna Lytle and Emma Crabtree.
The graduation ceremony is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, May 24, in the GRHS Auditorium.
As for similarities between Hawkins and Ogletree, it starts with the fact that both successfully balanced participation in sports along with their academic studies.
Both spent many hours in athletic training and excelled at high levels in their respective sports.
On a lighter note, they both were also voted as the “Most Likely to Become a Billionaire” by their fellow students.
One more remarkable thing Hawkins and Ogletree had in common was that they both were self-motivated to excel in the classroom simply because they were interested in learning.
“It was always a goal of mine. It was something I wanted to do,” Hawkins said of becoming salutatorian. “I knew I could do it. I just had to stay focused throughout high school. It was something I wanted to do because I enjoyed the learning process.”
Hawkins said the subjects he enjoyed the most were history and geography.
“But I also enjoy math,” he said.
Hawkins, who stands 6 feet, 2 inches and weighs a lean 170 pounds, was a first-team all-district pass receiver on the football team and made “Elite” status on the Class 4A Academic All-State football team.
He also was the top boys player for the Tigers the past few years, winning three consecutive district titles. He reached the 100-victory mark for his high school singles career in March.
In October, Hawkins received a letter of assurance that he was being accepted into the Naval Academy.
Hawkins said that patriotism is “definitely very important to be. I love everything about our country, and I wanted to give back to it.”
But a recent health concern with a collapsed lung put his status with the Naval Academy on hold.
Since then, Hawkins decided on another one of his prestigious options — Dartmouth, the smallest of all the Ivy League schools. He committed to Dartmouth on May 1 — National College Decision Day.
He visited all of the Ivy League campuses, with the exception of Cornell and Brown.
Dartmouth is in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Hawkins liked the fact that it was in more of a rural area than schools such as Harvard in the crowded Boston area.
“I knew I was going to be accepted (into Navy), then a wrench got thrown into my plans,” said Hawkins, who moved to Glen Rose from the Dallas area during spring break of his eighth grade year. “One of the reasons I liked (Dartmouth) was that it is primarily undergrads. That’s what drew me — I knew they would focus on undergrads.”
Hawkins said he is considering pursuing a master’s degree in business, possibly at Harvard or MIT, then move back to Texas to find his spot in the workplace.
“It’s definitely very exciting,” Hawkins said. “I think I’m well prepared for my goals and to reach those goals.”
When he was younger, Hawkins thought he wanted to become a lawyer. Now, he is considering business categories involving energy, construction or financial services.
“Business has more of a tangible quality to it,” Hawkins said.
He may even consider dabbling in politics — but a little later in life.
“Not at first, because I want to provide security for myself and I want real-life experience,” Hawkins said. “All of the facets of being an adult — I would want to have that before I get into the political arena.”
His parents are Jason and Patti Hawkins. Jason Hawkins, who served in the Army, is a field engineer for Hexagon Metrology, and his mother is a loan officer for City Bank.
Both of her parents are teachers, but she also said that she wasn’t pushed too much by them because her own self-motivation was sufficient.
“They actually never stressed that I had to be in the top of the class,” Ogletree said. “They said grades are important, just do your best. I kind of wanted to be toward the top because I could be able to push myself that way.”
Her father, Doug Ogletree, has been a GRISD teacher for almost 30 years. He currently teaches high school biology, chemistry and anatomy at GRHS. Her mother, Joelle, teaches high school English at Brazos River Charter School near Nemo.
“I mostly enjoy math and science classes,” Ogletree said. “All of the classes are OK.”
She plans to attend Texas Tech University, which has accepted her into its engineering program.
“So I’m going into mechanical engineering, hopefully,” said Ogletree, who is president of the GRHS National Honor Society as well as the school’s POWERSET group, and Student Council reporter. “Mechanical engineering seems interesting because you get to see how things work together, and help build things.”
In the longterm, as a possible specialty area of work, Ogletree said she may be interested in helping design or improve medical instruments.
“I probably will get my master’s at either Texas Tech or A&M,” Ogletree said, noting that she will receive $5,000 per year to attend Texas Tech based on her SAT score and her class ranking.
Ogletree got emotional when she mentioned her special relationship with her sister Catherine, a freshman.
“She’s been a really good friend for me, and she’s been super supportive and I couldn’t be more thankful to have spent my last year of high school with her,” Ogletree said.
Just being able to see her sister in the hallways between classes has been a special experience.
“She’s just really great. It’s just been really special,” Ogletree said. “It’s been one of the best things about high school.”
Ogletree was a four-year varsity member of the girls cross country team who competed in the 2015 state meet in the fall her freshman year. She earned Academic All-State cross country honors from three different coaching associations. As a junior, Ogletree and her sister were part of the Lady Tigers’ cross country team that qualified to advance to the regional meet.
She had even more sports activities in junior high, with basketball, volleyball and track — in addition to cross country.
“I’ve always liked to run,” said Ogletree, who will turn 18 five days before graduation day. “School has always been important — the first thing on my list. As school got harder, I had to stay up later. It seemed harder for me to juggle everything, but I still really loved the sport. In high school I decided to concentrate on cross country and track because that’s what I liked and felt comfortable with.”
Ogletree also gave a lot of her time to being in the GRHS Band, which also led to awards. She advanced to area in the ATSSA band program, and placed in Honors Band at the regional level all four years of high school.
She was the flute section leader, and has competed in state Solo and Ensemble, and earned a No. 1 rating in the state UIL competition her freshman and sophomore years. She also qualified for state this year, but that competition won’t happen until June 1-3.
If that weren’t enough, she plays musical instruments away from school. She plays piano as part of her church choir. And, it would not be a stretch to assume that she is the only salutatorian and cross country state qualifier in GRHS history who can legitimately play a ukulele.
“My grandma played ukulele, and I taught myself to play two summers ago,” she said with a pleasant smile.