Congratulations to Shoemaker top graduates

Shoemaker HS Valedictorian, Salutatorian 2020
By: Todd Martin
This year’s Shoemaker High School valedictorian sought out opportunities, pursued her interests and “struggled together” with a group of friends that became family.
Shoemaker HS valedictorian Julianna Landez
Julianna Landez has lived in the same house her whole life. She attended Pershing Park Elementary School and Live Oak Ridge Middle School before moving on to Shoemaker High School and discovering a strong interest in STEM fields.
She is part of the first group of Killeen ISD students to complete the dual credit STEM Academy in partnership with Central Texas College.
“The friends I’ve made there are like a little family,” she said. “We’ve struggled together. They make it better and have helped create a lot of opportunities for me.”
The high-achieving student has maintained a busy schedule. She is vice president of the Spanish Honor Society and the Science Honor Society and is also part of National Honor Society. She was an athletic trainer in four sports and competed with HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America). She’s even managed to learn to sew and can make her own clothes.
The daughter of Holly Landez is headed to the University of Texas at Austin and plans to become a midwife.
“Honestly, I never had a strategy,” she said of her outstanding academic performance and busy schedule. “It was never my goal to be valedictorian. I wanted to do my best and I just made a plan every day.”
“I’ll remember my friends,” she said, considering the coming end of high school. “The activities taught me a lot about leadership.” She said she hoped to encourage her peers to do their best in life and not to worry about what others think.
Shoemaker HS salutatorian Kevin Arellano
The second-ranked student in Shoemaker High School’s Class of 2020 said he was happy to finish so high in his class, but said anyone willing to work hard could do the same.
Kevin Arellano, the son of Guido and Esperanza Arellano is headed to the University of Texas at Austin to study biology and neuroscience with plans to become a pediatric heart surgeon.
He participated in National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society and the Science National Honor Society. He was captain of the swim team and volunteered for the city of Killeen Youth Advisory Commission and for the Red Cross.
“I studied a lot and did my homework,” he said. “Sometimes I had to cram. Anyone can do it. It takes a passion to drive you, to motivate.”
Arellano completed the STEM Academy program, the dual credit partnership between KISD and CTC, allowing him to earn an associate’s degree.
He said he would remember the group of friends from the STEM Academy and also time on the school’s swim team, bonding with friends.
Looking toward delivering a speech to his classmates, Arellano said he wanted to thank friends and family and to impress on his peers to never give up, to draw motivation from life’s challenges and to find a passion to pursue.
The Shoemaker High School virtual graduation will broadcast at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 31 on KISD-TV Spectrum Cable Channel 17 and the school district website. Landez and Arellano will deliver pre-recorded speeches.