2012 Valedictorians and Salutatorians: A New Step

June 12, 2012

HOUSTON — Graduation is upon us, and for high school seniors, this marks a new step in their lives. Just as first baby steps "graduate" a baby to a toddler, the senior class of 2012 graduates teens into a new phase of young adulthood.

The following is a glimpse at the new steps the valedictorians and salutatorians of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston's Catholic high schools will be taking — those who went above and beyond their call of duty to excel in their academics and serve in their community.

Duchesne Academy 
of the Sacred Heart
Incarnate Word Academy O'Connell College Preparatory Pope John XXIII High School
Valedictorian Valedictorian Valedictorian Co-Valedictorian
Sarah Stanley is the 2012 Duchesne of the Sacred Heart valedictorian. She will attend Purdue University in the fall to study chemical engineering.

While at Duchesne, she was a member of the National Honor Society, was an AP Scholar with honor and earned a Smith Book Award. She was a member of the National Charity League, was a Challenger Baseball Buddy, served at the Small Steps Nurturing Center her junior year and at Holy Ghost School her senior year. She was also a member of the volleyball team.
The 2012 valedictorian at Incarnate Word Academy is Madeline Pelletier. She was honored as the recipient of this year's IWA "Woman of the Word." She plans to attend the University of Dallas in the fall to study art with a minor in Spanish.

Pelletier was a member of several clubs including National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honor Society, IWA swim team, IWA theater and served as an extraordinary minister of holy communion. 

She volunteered in the STH and IWA spring break mission trip to Joplin, Mo., at the Houston Food Bank and as a leader for the Del Monte Catholic Girls Club.

Pelletier has won several awards for her art pieces at TAPPS and for two years in a row she has won first place at the UST Italian Festival's sidewalk chalk art competition.
Jonathan Viernes is the 2012 O'Connell College Preparatory High School valedictorian. He will be attending the University of Texas at Austin to study biomedical engineering.

Viernes achieved the rank of an Eagle Scout. Academic honors include being a member of the student council for three years serving as sophomore class representative, junior class vice president and senior class president. He is a member of the National Honor Society, currently serving as vice president.

Viernes has also participated in three years of varsity tennis, three years of varsity basketball and two years of varsity baseball. He has also been involved in the ping pong and fishing club, and participated in piano and bowling for four years. 

Some of his accomplishments include the Top Ten Percent Award and the Principal's Top Two Award for the last four years. Viernes also received the Mainland Youth Bowler of the Year Award for the 2010-2011 season. He placed first in the club and zone Noon Optimist oratorical contest and represented the Galveston Club at the district level. As a freshman, he placed first in the Martin Luther King Jr. Essay contest, becoming the contest's youngest winner ever. Viernes is an active altar server at Holy Family Parish and received the Altar Server of the Year award in 2011.
Meagan Magaldi is a 2012 Pope John XXIII High School co-valedictorian. She will be attending the honors program at Tulane University to study cell and molecular biology, with a minor in religious studies. 

While at Pope John XXIII, Magaldi was captain of Saint Philip Neri House in the inaugural year of the house system, founding drum major of the marching band, leader of the Ladies of Virtue girls club, National Honor Society vice president, and Student Council Secretary. Through National Charity League and the Pope John Works of Mercy Service Program, Magaldi dedicated over 250 hours of community service to numerous organizations.

Magaldi served as a team leader with the Regnum Christi Challenge Program and volunteering with Sacred Heart Hospital.
Salutatorian Salutatorian Salutatorian Co-Valedictorian
Sofia Avendaño is the 2012 Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart salutatorian. She will attend Rice University in the fall to study mechanical engineering. 

While at Duchesne, she earned the Prize Day Award for senior calculus, the Prize Day Award for senior English and the Wellesley Book Award. Avendaño was also a member of the National Honor Society.
The 2012 salutatorian at Incarnate Word Academy is Arden Houghton. Arden will be attending Trinity University in San Antonio in the fall to study chemistry and math. 
Arden was an active member both in National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honor Society. 

She also competed on the IWA swim team and was a member of Teens 4 Unity, an organization dedicated to living by the Golden Rule. Outside of school, Arden competed locally and nationally in cheerleading competitions.
Katherine Hogan is the 2012 O'Connell College Preparatory High School salutatorian. She will be attending Texas A&M University in College Station in the fall.

While at O'Connell, Hogan received many academic honors and medals, which include being inducted into National Honor Society as a junior. She has also received many athletic achievements. At the end of her freshman year, the softball t