April 29, 2016
Amarillo—The top students of the Holy Cross Catholic Academy Class of 2016 have been announced by Darla Mueller, associate head of school for operations and instruction at Holy Cross.
Valedictorian is Benjamin Thomas Fullerton and the Salutatorian is Jose Luis Villafuerte.
Benjamin Thomas Fullerton, the son of Carrie Burton and Mark Fullerton, is an only child. Starting at St. Joseph’s school, he attended Catholic school for 14 years.
Through the years, Fullerton participated in a myriad of academic activities including Private Schools Interscholastic Association (PSIA), Student Council, National Honor Society (NHS), National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) Academics, TAPPS Speech and Debate, TAPPS Choral, TAPPS Golf and National Speech and Debate Association Honor Society.
Fullerton has also served in numerous leadership positions at HCCA, including president of Student Council, president of NHS and NJHS and co-captain of the Holy Cross Speech and Debate team. He accrued awards during his high school career that include:
• Three-time qualifier to the National Speech and Debate Tournament, qualifying in Lincoln-Douglas debate this school year;
• Double-octofinalist (top 32 out of 115 teams) in World Schools Debate at the National Speech and Debate Tournament;
• TAPPS State Champion in Original Oratory, Runner-up in Persuasive Speaking and State Champion in Lincoln-Douglas Debate along with Jose Villafuerte, both reaching the final round and sharing the title.
Fullerton will attend Columbia University in New York City, where he plans to major in Neuroscience and Behavior. He intends to pursue a career in neurological research, specializing in diseases and disorders.
The son of Cecilio Villafuerte and Gloria Quezada, Jose Luis Villafuerte is one of three siblings to attend Holy Cross Catholic Academy. Jose has attended Catholic schools for seven years. During his time at Holy Cross, he participated in a plethora of school organizations and activities, including football, basketball, Speech and Debate, Student Council, National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), National Honor Society (NHS), Private Schools Interscholastic Association (PSIA), TAPPS Choral and TAPPS Speech and Academics.
Villafuerte also served as president of the HCCA Student Council. He was honored with premier distinction in the National Speech and Debate Association Honor Society—the highest distinction awarded to members of the organization. Villafuerte is a two-time qualifier for the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament, he was a double-octave finalist in World Schools Debate his junior year (top 32 out of 115 teams) and has qualified in Lincoln-Douglas Debate this year. He was the winner of a myriad of L-D Debate tournaments across the area, winning tournaments hosted in Pampa, Canyon, Amarillo, Morton, Frenship, Tascosa, Randall, Muleshoe and Caprock. Villafuerte is also a State Champion in Persuasive Speaking and Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
After graduation, Villafuerte plans to attend Texas Tech University in Lubbock and major in Communication Studies. He also plans to attend Law School.
Baccalaureate Mass for the Class of 2016 is set for Thursday, May 26 at 3:00pm at St. Joseph’s Church, 4122 South Bonham. Commencement Exercises will take place Friday, May 27 at 7:00pm, in the Monsignor Tash Hall at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 4100 South Coulter.