Wave of change

PAHS to graduate 48 seniors
Among the Port Aransas High School graduates of 2022 are, from left, avid surfers Arthur Pecore, Sydney Herndon and Miles Parsons, on a recent day at Horace Caldwell Pier. PAHS graduation ceremonies are scheduled for Thursday, May 26, at the school’s Doyle Marek Gym. Graduating seniors’ accomplishments are celebrated on Pages 8-9A and 5-9B. Staff photo by Dan Parker

Among the Port Aransas High School graduates of 2022 are, from left, avid surfers Arthur Pecore, Sydney Herndon and Miles Parsons, on a recent day at Horace Caldwell Pier. PAHS graduation ceremonies are scheduled for Thursday, May 26, at the school’s Doyle Marek Gym. Graduating seniors’ accomplishments are celebrated on Pages 8-9A and 5-9B. Staff photo by Dan Parker

Port Aransas High School will bid farewell to 48 seniors, including valedictorian Avica Burrill and salutatorian Stefan Deason in ceremonies on Thursday, May 26.

The evening will begin at 7 p.m. in the Doyle Marek Gym at Port Aransas High School. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

The grand finale will be a golf cart parade of seniors that, after three years, has become tradition.

The parade will start on Station Street at Lantana and travel south to Avenue G where it will then turn east and travel to the beach, turn north and end in front of the I. B. Magee Jr. Beach Park headquarters.

The public is welcome to attend both the graduation ceremonies and the parade, according to David Swartwout, principal at PAHS.

Valedictorian

Burrill will graduate with a grade point average of 107.435 on a scale of 100. Her SAT composite score was 1510.

The daughter of Kathleen and Austin Burrill, she will attend the University of Texas at Austin and major in international relations and global studies.

Avica Burrill

Avica Burrill

Burrill was active in academics, One-Act Play, athletics, was a student leader and a community volunteer. She also was active in her church and worked at part- time jobs throughout her high school years. During an assembly on Thursday, May 19, she was recognized as a recipient of the Jerry McDonald Award for outstanding citizenship.

In UIL (University Interscholastic League) competition, Burrill went to state in ready writing (bronze and sixth place), was a regional qualifier all four years, earned the UIL Scholastic Achievement award and the Superintendent Texas Award for UIL State Excellence.

Participating in the Veterans of Foreign War essay contest throughout high school, she earned first in district, was a two-time state finalist and placed seventh in state one year.

Burrill was awarded the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award as a senior.

She founded the PAHS Destination Imagination Club and earned third in fine arts and second in improvisation.

Stefan Deason

Stefan Deason

As a junior, she won the AP Scholar Award for consistently scoring high on three or more Advanced Placement exams.

As a member Port Aransas High School’s team in the KEDT- TV public television station’s Challenge! competition, she advanced two rounds in ninth through 11th grade and three rounds in 12th grade.

Competing in Bow Seat Ocean Awareness as a sophomore, junior and senior, she earned the Notable Award for art submission.

Burrill also was a D.C. Leadership finalist in the Nueces Electric Co-op competition as a junior.

As a sophomore and junior she published work in anthologies at the Texas A&M University Writer’s Camps. She was a two-time regional qualifier in One-Act Play as a freshman and a junior.

On the athletic side, Burrill was a competitive swimmer on the Port Aransas Swim team throughout high school and medaled at regionals, divisionals and state. She was a TAAF state top three and a nationals qualifier.

A member of the Lady Marlin basketball team all four years of high school, she played varsity her junior and senior years, earning the State Elite Academic award, was academic all-district and first team all-district twice, named offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year and was a member of the junior varsity district championship team twice.

She was a member of the varsity track and field team all four years, was a regional qualifier, recipient of the high point girls’ award, named girls’ track MVP and placed first at multiple meets in 400m, 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles and triple jump.

She was a two-time recipient of the Millie Wise Sportsmanship Award and was named Female Athlete of the Year this year.

Burrill was a student council class representative her first three years of high school and senior class vice-president. She operated fundraisers and helped organize homecoming and field day.

As president of the Port Aransas chapter of the National Honor Society, Burrill organized fundraisers and blood drives, and managed NHS community projects, including Project Rudolph.

As a junior and senior, Burrill was a PAHS Natural Helper in the nationally recognized leadership program that is designed to train students in connecting vulnerable peers with the resources they need. She also was in a Rainbow Staff leadership position.

She attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards as a junior. The nationally recognized leadership program is designed to ingrain resilience, mental toughness, determination, compassion, gratitude and a valuation of service over self in participants.

Burrill participated in the Marlin Mentoring program, was on the Marlins in Action executive committee, was a Lady Marlin Basketball Big Sister and a member of the Marlin Welcoming Committee.

Burrill’s experience extended beyond the school campus and into the community. She was involved in Keep Port Aransas Beautiful, Corpus Christi Concert Ballet, Bailando International Dance Festival, the Salvation Army, SandFest, Seashore Theater and Port Aransas Youth Council basketball.

Active in her church, St. Andrew’s by the Sea, she was an altar server, CCD volunteer and youth group volunteer.

In her spare time, she was a high school reporter for the Port Aransas South Jetty, and contributed stories to the Island Moon newspaper.

She also was a Red Cross-certified lifeguard at the Port Aransas Community Park swimming pool.

Salutatorian

Deason will graduate with a grade point average of 104.726 on a scale of 100. He is the son of Ursula and Jeffrey Deason. He, too, will attend the University of Texas at Austin and will major in radio, television and film to pursue a career in screenwriting and directing.

He also was active academically and athletically.

Deason was in UIL academic competition all four years of high school and qualified for state in number sense his senior year.

He was recognized by the College Board National Recognition Program for both the “Hispanic” and the “Small or Rural Town” categories.

Participating in UIL One- Act Play for a year, he received honorable mention for the All-Star Cast.

A member of the PAHS National Honor Society for two years, he scored 1400 on his SAT exam.

He was a member of the school’s KEDT-TV Challenge! team for three years.

On the basketball team all four years of high school, Deason received the Marlin Award his senior year. He participated in track for two years and played tennis for one year. As a senior, he was honored with the Millie Wise Sportsmanship Award.

He also received the Jerry McDonald Award for outstanding citizenship.

He participated in the school’s Natural Helpers retreat as a junior and returned his senior year as a member of the retreat’s Rainbow Staff.

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