Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

May 23, 2013

Benavides, Prestwood tapped 2013 Elite Rams


Mineral Wells Index

— By LIBBY CLUETT



At the 20th Mineral Wells High School’s Hall of Honor induction ceremony, the Ram choir almost stole the show before the substance of the program began.

Led by director Mac Chestnut, a smaller group of singers opened the ceremony with the National Anthem, which the full choir followed with Ola Gjeilo’s choral piece “Northern Lights.”

In fact, after she was introduced by senior Courtney Havens, and prior to the induction, speaker Kayla Peak said, “I’d like to give a shout out to your choral assembly, today, they are just outstanding, what a brilliant performance you all gave.”

With music in their ears, the audience heard Peak’s message [see Friday’s Index] and got to the essence of the program – the induction of Coach Jackie Harvey as the distinguished honorary alumnus and two seniors as Elite Rams.

2013 Elite Rams

Looking at the 2013 Elite Ram finalists MWHS Principal Doug Rice told the audience, “These young men and women are models of outstanding character. They are leaders, scholars, athletes and good citizens.”

The finalists included five girls – Bethany Sailer, Niya Benavides, Mollie Wilson, Chandler Ortiz and Lexis Nix – and three boys – Kristian Santibanez, Kevin Gregory and Jacoby Prestwood.

Rice announced athletes Niya Benavides and Prestwood as the Class of 2013 members of the Elite Ram Society.

Once she graduates, Benavides plans to attend Western Texas College, in Snyder, where she will play basketball. Prestwood plans to attend Tyler College, in Tyler, Texas, where he will play football.

However, both seniors were singled out and called up to the MWHS auditorium podium to receive their plaques because they also excel in academics and school and community involvement and best exemplify “loyal” Rams.

Before announcing Benavides and Prestwood, Rice told all the nominees, “You are all deserving. You will go out, you will do great things, and of that I am very confident.”

“It means a lot,” Benavides told the Index after the ceremony. “All the people that were nominated for it – I was kind of shocked I got it – they are all really great people.”

She said she hopes to major in Biology and become a dentist.

“Those are my goals, but this means a lot,” she said. “I was really honored to get it with all the people who were nominated.”

“Congrats to Coach Harvey. He’s such a great person and a great coach. He’s helped me a lot here,” she added.

“I’m very honored that I received this award from the selection committee and the school and the teachers,” Prestwood said. “It means a lot to me, it really does. Kristian and Kevin, any one of us could have got it, I’m very honored I did get it – it’s a big honor.

He said he hopes, after a year at Tyler College, he can transfer to Rice University, where he wants to play Division 1 football.

Down the road, he said he would like to get a master’s degree in Engineering – either electrical or mechanical.

“That’s the plan right now,” he noted, adding that things can change.

Harvey

Also at the Hall of Honor induction ceremony, long-time coach Jackie Harvey became the 2013 honorary alumnus, joining the ranks of Clarence Holliman (2007), Wanda Reddell (2009) and Col. Willie Casper (2011), who preceded him.

Harvey has coached at MWHS since 1972, according to senior Courtney Havens, who inctroduced him and guest speaker Kayla Peak.

“I want to thank the selection committee and the community of Mineral Wells for considering me for this award and presenting me this award,” Harvey told the crowd. “It’s truly an honor. I came here 41 years ago and this community has really accepted me with open arms.

“People ask me, ‘Why have you been in Mineral Wells so long?’ and I say, ‘Because it’s a great place.’” It’s what you make of it every day. It’s a great community and I raised two boys here and my wife has been here most of her life.

“I’ve always lived by my motto – ‘I want to give back what teachers and coaches gave me when I was coming up.’ That’s what I’m striving to do every single day of my life.