Temple High School’s Class of 2016 is set to graduate at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Bell County Expo Center.
Out of a class of 507 students the top two were recognized at a ceremony at the end of May as this year’s valedictorian and salutatorian.
Parth Gupta was named valedictorian. He said being ranked No. 1 in his class was never really a goal he had in mind. But he ended up at the top with his plain and simple approach to school.
“I just went to school and did my work because I wanted to learn,” Gupta said.
Kathryn Seela is this year’s salutatorian. She said she wanted to follow her older sister’s footsteps by excelling in high school.
“My freshman year my sister was a graduating senior and she was in the top 10,” she said. “So my goal was to also beat my sister.”
Temple Independent School District Superintendent Robin Battershell said the interesting thing about both students, more so than any other “val-sal” pair they have had, is how different they are.
“For these two more than the others — and I have been here long enough to where I have seen most of these kids since they were little — they have both had amazing achievement in totally different programs, different ways, different extracurricular activities. … They have two completely different personalities and two completely different learning styles and yet they have both done well,” Battershell said.
Gupta plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin this fall as a part of the school’s Plan II Honors Program, a separate program within the liberal arts college that focuses on multi-disciplinary studies.
“The focus of the honors program is to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills,” he said.
Math and science are his favorite subjects and because of that he has an interest in aerospace engineering. However, he said he is not yet certain on a concrete career route.
He is a member of the school’s water polo team, teen court program and the Interact Club, which is a part of the youth branch of the Rotary Club of Temple-South. He competed in math for University Interscholastic League academics.
Out of all of his extracurricular activities, there is one area of involvement he is most passionate about.
“I am part of the orchestra,” he said. “I play the cello and that is a really big part of my life.”
Gupta made All-State orchestra his junior year — a standout accomplishment for the teenager.
Seela said most of her time is dedicated to the school’s art program. She is a member of the German club, which allowed her to teach elementary students. She said her involvement with the Interact Club led her to several community service projects — an area she is passionate about.
She will head to College Station this fall to attend Texas A&M University to study psychology with hopes of becoming a counselor for children.
“I really liked A&M it just kind of just felt like home and I really love all of their traditions,” she said.
One highlight from her freshman year is when she went to state with school’s soccer team. She said her time was cut short as a soccer player after sustaining an injury.
“I think my biggest achievement would be getting to create all of these different relationships with people and getting to be a leader at Temple High,” she said.
More than $2 million in scholarships were awarded to Temple High School seniors.
Gupta said he felt lucky to receive a fair number of scholarships so far totaling $13,750.
For Seela it was her involvement at her church and community service that paid off. She will be receiving two scholarships so far totaling $1,250.
Temple High Principal Jason Mayo said he enjoyed getting to know both students, who are members of the National Honor Society.
“They have made a positive impact on THS,” Mayo said. “I look forward to watching their futures take shape. Both are very prepared and will succeed in everything they do.”