San Benito’s top grads pursue medical careers

Alana Hernandez/Valley Morning Star San Benito High School valedictorian Maverick Raven Reza and salutatorian Ariel Raine Garcia achieved their goals of ranking at the top of their class.

SAN BENITO — Maverick Raven Reza and Ariel Raine Garcia made it a goal to rank at the top of their class at different times during high school.

For Ariel, being in the top 10 was something she began working toward starting her freshman year.

And for Maverick, his push toward becoming a top student came later toward the end of his junior year.

Their journeys may not have started at the same time, but they both ended at the top.

Out of a class of 704 students, Maverick was named San Benito High School’s valedictorian and Ariel was named salutatorian.

For Maverick, becoming valedictorian was an “amazing and shocking surprise.”

He believes accomplishments aren’t determined by how they start, but by how they are finished.

“At the start, I was not working as hard,” he admits.“But I made sacrifices like getting out of football and I just applied myself a lot more. That’s when I knew I was going to be up there.”

Ariel said she felt excited and grateful for what she had accomplished.

“I had been working toward this goal for a really long time,” she said. “And my family sacrificed so much for me, so I think this is like a little token of appreciation for everything they do.”

Maria Isabel Marichalar-Solis, San Benito High School’s principal, said Maverick and Ariel are proof that anything can be done once students set their minds to accomplish their goals.

“They challenged themselves by taking dual enrollment courses and were involved with sports so they are well-rounded individuals that have met every challenge,” she said. “It takes effort, dedication and commitment to get there and these two students are the epitome of what it takes to be valedictorian and salutatorian.”

The soon-to-be graduates say they’re going to miss all the fun times they had in high school, but they’re excited to begin a new chapter in their life.

Off to college

Maverick will begin studying next fall at the University of Texas at Austin.

He said he plans to major in biology and will pursue a minor in chemistry.

After completing his studies, Maverick hopes to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Ariel plans to stay in the area her first year of college and will study biology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

She plans to become a gynecologist and endometriosis specialist.

“I know a lot of women suffer from fertility issues and I really want to help, especially here in South Texas,” she explained. “That’s always been a really big goal of mine and so if I study out of the Valley, I plan to return and give back to my community.”

WHO — Maverick Raven Reza
SCHOOL — San Benito High School
FAVORITE CLASS — Dual physics
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES — Chess Club, Mu Alpha Theta Math National Honor Society and the Rho Kappa Social Studies National Honor Society
UNIVERSITY — The University of Texas at Austin
MAJOR — Biology

WHO — Ariel Raine Garcia
SCHOOL — San Benito High School
FAVORITE CLASS — Composition
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES — Senior class president, volleyball, softball, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Lower Valley Cotillion Club, Yearbook Club and the Astronomy Club
UNIVERSITY — The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
MAJOR — Biology