Special Education Graduates Honored at Commencement Ceremony

clapping groupDuring Thursday's graduation ceremony at Chaparral High School, a special group of hard-working seniors were celebrated by their family, friends, and the community as they prepared to enter the next chapter. The event, known as the Special Needs Commencement, included 33 seniors from various schools in the Killeen Independent School District (KISD), namely Chaparral, Ellison, Killeen, Shoemaker, and Harker Heights.

Notable attendees included top KISD leaders, board members, and enthusiastic family members. Jan Peronto, the Executive Director for Special Education, acknowledged the collective effort of parents, friends, teachers, and business partners who support the students' transition into the workforce.

Laura Dunnels, the Special Education Transition Coordinator, expressed gratitude to numerous organizations for imparting employability skills and offering job opportunities, whether full-time, part-time, or volunteer positions, to the students.

graduation Chaparral High School proudly celebrated its first official graduate, Jasmine Janae Ford, as she marked a significant milestone not only in her educational journey, but in the school's inaugural year. 

The ceremony included the CHS JROTC color guard presenting the colors, and Audrey Frisch singing the national anthem accompanied by her brother, Alan Frisch, who later received his diploma. Interim Superintendent Megan Bradley congratulated students for reaching this milestone in their lives. "Your dedication and perseverance have brought you to this moment, and I am confident that you will continue to shine bright in your future endeavors."


As the special guest speaker, Towanna Smith from the Texas Workforce Solutions in Central Texas addressed the students, donned in caps and gowns, and praised them as a source of inspiration. She encouraged them to continue inspiring others and urged employers to recognize their abilities and provide job opportunities. 

Congratulations to all the hard-working and determined seniors who have overcome challenges and are now ready to embark on their journey into adulthood. Your achievements and resilience are an inspiration to us all. We commend the support from parents, friends, teachers, and business partners who have contributed to your success. May your futures be filled with continued growth, opportunities, and fulfillment.

This year’s graduates include the following:

C. E. Ellison High School

  • Demarian Dewayne Collins
  • Victor Angel Corral-Lagunes
  • Randy Allen Finkbeiner Jr. 
  • Cameron William Lee
  • Aajoyce Elizabeth Lewis
  • Sara Lopez
  • Valentin Thomas Mejias
  • Janai Kaleen Ramirez Phillips
  • Quincy Jalen Smith
  • Jalen Amari Taylor


Chaparral High School

  • Jasmine Janae Ford


Harker Heights High School

  • Joseph Abrams
  • Marcel Yamon Bowens, Jr. 
  • Fredi Cabrera
  • Cheyanne Nashay Davis
  • Sean Thomas Edwards
  • Carmelo Vaughn Johnson
  • Sean Thomas Edwards
  • James Tyler Mitchell
  • Robert Antonio Moreno
  • Wilythza Enid Rodriguez
  • Vincent Xavier Saucedo


Killeen High School

  • Jacob Feng Clark 
  • Ronald William Gehrke
  • Natalie Rey Gonzalez
  • Christian Wyatte Salisbury
  • J'Quan Elijah Smith
  • Dylan Thomas Tesar
  • Jaymes Kemonte Williams 


Robert M. Shoemaker High School

  • Za'Kari Jehmell Bradshaw
  • Calisha Denise Garner
  • Semaj Phillip Holland
  • Deontrae Smythe McCoy
  • Darin Javaughn Rowell