By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
Valedictorian Joann Jang and Salutatorian Kaitlyn Mulkey of Commerce High School have been friends for a long time.
They’re also competitive.
“We’ve been best friends since Kaitlyn moved in fourth grade,” Jang said, adding that although they are competitive, they trust each other completely. “If I miss a day then I trust her to take notes for me.”
Their friendly competition will continue in their college years, as Jang received a scholarship to attend the University of Texas at Austin, and Mulkey will attend Texas A&M University at College Station in the fall.
Jang and Mulkey are both members of the National Honors Society, with Mulkey serving as secretary for the society, and Student Council, where Jang serves as Treasurer.
Both said they enjoy their classes, and teacher Bill Knutson in particular.
“We have him for calculus, statistics and physics this year,” Jang said, adding that they both also really enjoyed taking an English class from coach Colin Curtis. “I like the challenge.”
When she’s not in school, Mulkey said she can be found riding her dirt bike, or reading books such as “Hunger Games” and “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series over the summer.
Jang will be studying chemistry at Austin and said she wants to use it to go into Pre-Med.
According to Jang, her desire to help people was inspired by church sermons on helping others.
Mulkey said one of her geometry teachers suggested that since she likes to find out how things work, she should study mechanical engineering. She said her love of engineering also stems from riding dirt bikes.
“I like to know how things work, and I get on my dad’s nerves when we work on our bikes because I always ask how and why things work,” she said.
Both said that having grown up in a small, tight-knit community, they have enjoyed the closeness, but are looking forward to moving on to the next chapter of their lives.
“You know everyone personally,” Jang said.
Mulkey said, among the extracurricular activities she is apart of, she will also miss the friendships she has developed with fellow classmates through the years at Commerce.
“I’ll miss the dress up days and the school spirit during football season,” she said.
Jang said she wouldn’t be where she is today without the support she received from friends and family growing up.
“I want to thank my whole family for supporting me through my whole life,” she said. “And I want to thank God and my friends.”
Along with thanking the community as a whole for their support of Commerce Independent School District, Mulkey said she wanted to thank her family and friends as well for their support.
“My parents, because they taught me not only how to succeed in school, but in life as well,” she said. “And God for everything He has done.”