DHS Announces Class of 2022 Top Two Students

DeSoto High School Announces Its Top Two Students in the Class of 2022
Posted on 03/11/2022
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The sound of the DeSoto High School (DHS) drumline roaring through the campus hallways on a Monday, the footsteps, cheers, and applause of District and campus leadership brought excitement to the air and gave notice to students that a special announcement was imminent.

DHS Principal Monica Smith led the team of celebrants to fulfill their single mission - to make the surprise announcement of the class of 2022 valedictorian and salutatorian to campus students.

“I am super excited to share this moment with our other students so they can see what it takes and how we celebrate students who do well academically,” said Smith. “I hope this experience inspires the rest of the campus to know that everyone can receive these types of honors, we have an equitable opportunity here for everyone. They just have to work for it.”

The campus leaders walked into the classrooms of two DHS Class of 2022 seniors, Valerie Villacorta, who is the class valedictorian, and Ancela Soriano, who is the class salutatorian. Both students were extremely overwhelmed and grateful for the recognition.

“I was very overwhelmed and almost cried when I received the certificate. I had a lot of good teachers and mentors who have done a lot to prepare me,” said Villacorta, who desires to major in political science and government to become an attorney. “I was taught a lot about putting in the hard work and responsibility. I am so grateful for what they instilled in me.”

DHS Class of 2022 salutatorian Ancela Soriano heard the drumline stop near her classroom door and was in tears when she learned that all the leaders were coming especially for her.

“It shows me that everything that I worked off is paying off and that all the times that I was stressing about my work was for something good and was not wasted,” said Soriano who wants to study psychology and become a psychiatrist. “The teachers that I had all focused on academics, real-life, and college classes.”

The announcement of both Villacorta and Soriano as the top two students brought little surprise to senior principal Dr. James McBride. 

“For 4 years and even with the issues related to the pandemic, these young ladies continued to stay focused on their academics whether they were studying virtually or in the brick and mortar building,” said McBride. “This shows other students that no matter your circumstances you should continue to move forward and move forward with excellence”

“I noticed a long time ago that these young ladies were scholars even as freshmen and sophomores and on track to be in the top ten in their classes at that time.” 

Looking at their transcripts, I saw the excellence in them before they came to the campus and I knew they had a support system,” Dr. McBride continued.  “The difference is that they are scholars who continue to strive for excellence here at the high school.”

Interim Superintendent Dr. Larry D. Lewis observed the commitment and support system of the students.

“I am so proud to know that they have been committed to excellence their whole school career. It shows by what they have earned today, said Dr. Lewis. “These young ladies are soaring and will continue to soar.”

Ms. Sonia Soriano, who joined her daughter Ancela, for the celebration, was instantly in tears as she hugged her daughter multiple times extensively after learning of her selection as the class salutatorian. 

“I feel proud, she worked really hard. I see her every day doing her homework or studying for a test. She is so committed to her school,” said Ms. Soriano. “She is going to be the second one to graduate from high school in our family. I was the first one. I want her to complete her university studies. She is my baby girl and I am truly proud of her.”

The mission of DeSoto ISD is to ensure students, without exception, learn and grow at their highest levels. After these presentations, DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees President DeAndrea Fleming marked this momentous occasion as the reason for their work.


“These students are the example of what we want every student to be here in DeSoto ISD,” she said. “We know that we were moving through a pandemic the past two years and these students still strived to excel.”

Both Villacorta and Soriano received a certificate of recognition from the campus and a yard sign which includes their class of 2022 recognition.