Top students to speak at PHS graduation

By Kevin Wilson: PNT Managing Editor

Kari Jones has always been one to set long-term goals. The future New Mexico State University pre-chiropracty student had wanted to be just that since eighth grade.
“When my mom went to the chiropracter,” Jones said, “I wanted to do a better job than he did.”
Six years before that, the second-grader had a goal to be the valedictorian at Portales High School. That mission is accomplished, as Jones finished tops among 145 seniors set to graduate Friday evening at Greyhound Arena.
Among those seniors is salutatorian Aaron Stoutjesdyk. Both will be scheduled to make a speech to the graduating class.
Stoutjesdyk’s plans have been set almost as long as Jones’. Stoutjesdyk is planning to study chemical engineering and biology at New Mexico Tech, but said he originally wanted to be an architect.
That changed his freshman year, when he took a biology class.
“I was reading through and I came across something on genetics,” Stoutjesdyk said, “and it changed my mind.”
Each spent some time in band, but were limited in extra-curricular activities. Jones said she limited herself in an effort to be the valedictorian.
“I had to give up some free time to do it,” Jones said, “and I had to give up some of my extra-curricular activities to do it.”
Both have their minds on the future, but for now graduation is a feeling of relief.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Jones said. “I just want to be out of high school.”