Ellison HS Valedictorian, Salutatorian 2024

Top Ellison 2024 gradsOne dived into community service and the other found her place in the theater, both on their way to the top of their graduating class.


The Ellison High School Class of 2024 valedictorian is Y Nguyen and the salutatorian is Brianni Gaines.


The pair have been No. 1 and 2 for all of high school. Both said they were surprised as freshmen to find out they were ranked at the top and determined to stay there.


Top EHS graduate Y NguyenEllison HS Valedictorian Y Nguyen

“I think it’s very nerve racking,” said Nguyen, thinking of the speech she is expected to deliver at graduation. “It’s a pivotal point in our lives and leads to the next step.”


The No. 1-ranked graduate has spent much of her time in school in dual credit and Advanced Placement courses, as well as taking health track courses at the KISD Career Center.


She is planning to attend the University of Texas and study biomedical engineering on her way to medical school.


“The best experience is being able to make an impact in different organizations around the city,” she said.


She has been part of National Honor Society and Health Occupations Students of America. Much of her involvement has come from the Youth Advisory Commission, where she was president last year.


Serving as a youth liaison to the Killeen City Council and working to bring to fruition a recycling program in the schools has been rewarding.


After spending her childhood in Vietnam and California, she has been in Killeen most of her life, attending Willow Springs Elementary, Patterson Middle School and Ellison High School.



Ellison salutatorian Brianni GainesEllison HS Salutatorian Brianni Gaines

Gaines has taken a full load of dual credit and AP courses and spent a huge amount of time in the school’s theater.


She has been involved in every major production of the past four years, co-directed a play and has been the drama club president this year.


Gaines is also a longtime resident. She attended Timber Ridge Elementary, Liberty Hill Middle School and Ellison High School.


“I’m really relieved,” she said of reaching the end of senior year. “Freshman year I found out I was No. 2 and thought, ‘how did that happen?’ It’s been stressful to maintain. Finally, it’s done and solidified.”


Her sister, Brianne Gaines was Ellison’s valedictorian in 2022, “so expectations were high,” her sister said.


She is on her way to the University of Texas at Arlington to study theater and dance.


Ellison High School graduation is 2 p.m. Friday, May 24 at the Cadence Bank Center in Belton.