BHS’s top 2 students were both Jr. ROTC cadets

Published 11:10 am Friday, May 20, 2022

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The Bogalusa valedictorian and salutatorian for the Class of 2022 were members of the Bogalusa High School Jr. ROTC Program. This is the second straight year that both top graduates were members of the Lumberjack Battalion.

Valedictorian Katherine Vasquez came to this country from Mexico because her mother wanted a better life and future for her family. She had a 4.07 grade-point average and was in Jr. ROTC for three years. Her last leadership role in the Battalion was as the Public Affairs Officer (PAO).

Her message to her fellow graduates was, “We are all traveling a new path in our lives and searching for our purpose. No matter what obstacles life throws at you or how many people doubt you, always keep moving forward.”

Katherine said that Jr. ROTC opened a door of new opportunities for her and taught her many lessons along the way. She decided to join the U.S. Navy and will be leaving this summer for training.

The salutatorian was Litzy Ramos and her family also came from Mexico after their grandfather forged the path to the United States. She was in Jr. ROTC for four years with her last leadership role being the Battalion Commander.

She earned the title of Student of the Year twice — most recent one was this year, her senior year, 2021-2022. Her GPA was a 4.03.

In her speech, she talked about how she joined the Raider Team and had never run so much in her life. While competing in Georgia, she was running the 5K and a sharp pain struck her as she struggled up to the top of the hill. Once she reached the crest of the hill, she couldn’t believe how beautiful it was there in Georgia and never imagined being in this place her senior year. Her pain was gone and the way down felt like a breeze.

She told her class life is a lot like that random sharp pain. Life brings unexpected turns, but as long as you stay focused on your dreams and goals you will be guided back.

This article was written by Ret. Lt. Col. Rashann D. Harris, who is the Senior Army Instructor for Bogalusa High School.