JAL —Jal High School’s 2022 valedictorian is Stanton Richard — but he didn’t even know he was in the running until last year.
Even so, Richard — a life-long resident of Jal — has worked hard his whole high school career to get to where he’s at today.
“I didn’t learn I was in the running for this position until the beginning of my junior year,” Richard said. “I worked pretty hard for it and it was not easy because my class is full of a bunch of smart people. It’s really nice to have this accomplishment.”
Richard varsity lettered in five sports: cross country, track and field, football, baseball, and basketball. He’s a member of the National Honor Society, the “Systems Go” rocket program, was a semifinalist for the Jack Maddox Foundation’s scholarship, and was named to the Dean’s list for the New Mexico Junior College.
“I did field events in track. I threw discus and javelin in track,” Richard said. “I was thinking about maybe walking on for baseball at Texas Tech but I’m not really sure.”
Richard plans to attend Texas Tech University in the fall. He is a recipient of the Presidential Merit Scholarship for TTU, which pays a portion of his tuition.
“I will be attending (Texas Tech) come fall, but I’m just not sure yet what I want to major in,” Richard said. “The scholarship gives me in state tuition and it reduces the tuition by $25,000 a year. One semester would cost around $40,000, but because of the scholarship it will cost me around $15,000.”
Dusty Loftis, Head Senior Principal of Jal High School, said for him to see Richard graduate, especially as his head principal, is a full circle for him.
“Stanton is an exceptional young man. I had the pleasure of teaching him for a number of years before I became principal. I have been able to see the hard work and dedication that he has always put into his work. He always wanted to make sure he could do everything to the best of his ability. You knew you were always going to get quality work from Stanton.”
Richard attributed his success to his parents and teachers. “I would like to thank my teachers for putting in the hard work everyday and my parents for pushing me to be my best,” Richard said.