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Tops in 2018: La Porte H.S. names valedictorian, salutatorian

Kevin, who is this year’s valedictorian, and Noah, the salutatorian, are both all-around outstanding young men who know what they want from life and have plans in place to make their dreams a reality.

Kevin, the son of Virginia and Miguel Serrano of La Porte, will attend the University of Texas at Austin, where he will major in accounting and minor in business administration.  He plans to become a certified public accountant, with the eventual goal of becoming the chief executive officer at a company or organization.

The youngest of three siblings and a first-generation college student, Kevin credited his parents, who moved to La Porte when he was a young child, with providing opportunities that he might not have otherwise had.

“I feel like I can never repay them, but I like to try, and the best way I can do so is to work hard in school,” he said.

Kevin is also inspired by his older brother and sister, both of whom attend the University of Houston. His sister, Lizbeth, who graduated in 2009, is studying finance, while his brother, Miguel, who graduated in 2016, is also studying accounting.

When Kevin walks across the stage at Bulldog Stadium in May, he will not only have earned his high school diploma, but his associate degree from San Jacinto College.  He is in the second cohort of students to graduate from the school’s ACE (Accelerated College Education) program, through which students attend some of their classes at San Jacinto College, earning high school and college credit for both. The rigorous program also involves taking classes at the college during the summers following their sophomore and junior years, with LPISD taking care of the tuition for their participation in the program.           

Kevin is also an Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar, having received grades of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams during his junior year, and is a member of the National Honor Society.

He participated in cross country/track his freshman and sophomore years, but decided to devote more time to his studies his last two years of high school.  When he does have a few spare hours, he enjoys editing videos and exercising.

Kevin is a product of La Porte ISD schools, having started prekindergarten at Leo A. Rizzuto Elementary School.  He also attended the James H. Baker Sixth Grade Campus and Lomax Junior High School.

Noah is the son of Kathy and George Ashworth of Shoreacres, also attended La Porte ISD schools since kindergarten.  He went to Bayshore and Heritage Elementary Schools, followed by the James H. Baker Sixth Grade Campus and La Porte Junior High.

Noah has applied to the Air Force Academy, nominated by Senator John Cornyn. He is also considering Trinity University in San Antonio or the University of Houston, where his plans would include studying mechanical engineering and joining the ROTC, with the goal of entering the Air Force commissioned as an officer.

Noah hopes to enter flight school to “fly F-16s and the new generation of fighter planes,” he said, anticipating a career in the military followed by work as a commercial pilot after retirement.

Noah was inspired by his grandfathers—Ted Lorfing, who was a drill sergeant in the U.S. Army, and the late Paul Ashworth, who was a navigator in the U.S. Air Force.  He says that he was also inspired by the late Jim Counts and other elders at La Porte Community Church, where he listened to their stories during conversations after church services.

“That’s where I got my inspiration for the service,” Noah said.

Noah played football at LPHS all four years and was a freshman letterman on the LPHS track team. He hopes to earn his fourth letter this spring after his wrist heals.  He is also a member of National Honor Society, performed as a dancer in the school musical Guys and Dolls, and competes in pole vaulting both in and out of school.

In addition, Noah is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction based on his junior year, which means that he received an average score of 3.5 on all AP exams taken and a score of 3 or higher on five or more exams.

Noah’s mom is also a graduate of La Porte High School, and his grandfather (Lorfing) was a long-time math teacher at LPHS. His grandmother, Della Lorfing, also served the district as a school nurse. Noah is the youngest of three siblings, and his brothers, Zach and Nick, also graduated from La Porte.

Among the classes that Noah and Kevin share is art, and Noah said that his paternal grandmother, Carolyn Ashworth, an accomplished artist, is his inspiration in that pursuit.

“She’s the reason I’ve been in art the past couple of years,” he said.

Both young men credit La Porte ISD teachers for making a significant impact on their lives.  Noah, for example, mentioned that LPHS physics teacher Mark Riegart sparked his interest in engineering, while Sandra Warren, who was his teacher at Bayshore and now works with the gifted and talented program at LPHS, is “an inspiration to me” who is “like family.”  Kevin added that cross country/track coach Zach Johnson and English teacher Eveline Bailey are among those who helped motivate him to succeed.

Neither Kevin nor Noah were focused on being in the “top two,” but kept their sights on just doing their own personal best along the way.

“It’s really important to stay on top of your grades,” Noah said, advising younger students not to get “zeroes” on assignments and to keep their grades up even before the first rankings are announced in high school.

“Work hard, do your very best, turn in the best work you can possibly turn in—that shows integrity and who you really are as a person,” Kevin added, noting that an outstanding work ethic is key to a high ranking in a competitive class.

“We made jokes about ‘taking each other out’ in class rank, but even in class, we help each other,” Noah said. “It’s been more a friendship than a competition.”
 
Photo: From left, Noah Ashworth, salutatorian; Kevin Serrano, valedictorian and Carlin Grammer,
La Porte High School principal.