Patrick Murphy feels he’s ready for the next chapter in his life.

The valedictorian for Early High School thanked his teachers for not only preparing the class of 2016 to pass the necessary testing in order to graduate, but on how they “go above and beyond” and render the essentials for life after high school.

“They teach you how to study for college, write a college-worthy paper and work out a budget to where we won’t be suffering in debt by the time we die and have to pass it on to our kids,” said Murphy, who will be one of 80 EHS graduates receiving their diploma Saturday at 6 p.m. at Brownwood Coliseum. “It’s that feeling they really care about our future and us not just being another face in their classroom.”

Murphy, who will go pre-med at Baylor University in the fall, said he is excited for his move to Waco, as he’ll be able to “make my own choices” and “get started on the rest of my life.”

The 18-year-old from Early served a valuable role for his class and the student body throughout high school. Murphy was drum major, president of student council and key club, vice president for National Honor Society and participated in UIL literary criticism. Murphy said the interaction with several people in these extracurricular activities has allowed him to work well with others to reach a common goal.

Murphy said his grandmother, who was a doctor until the age of 75, is an “inspiration” for him to pursue the medical field. His parents also are registered nurses.

“Medicine kind of runs in the family,” he said.

Morales, salutatorian

 

Most students aren’t exactly eager to make public speeches. David Morales said he “doesn’t mind it.”

In fact, the EHS salutatorian is used to having large crowds locked onto him. Morales has done one-act play and speeches at scholarship and awards events. He is a former member of the Longhorns baseball team and, most recently, has played a major role in the Brownwood Lyric Theatre’s “Love Rides the Rails.”

Though he would often be exhausted with these responsibilities, combined with his studies, the 18-year-old said he has “never made myself do something that I didn’t want to do or see a positive outcome to come out of it…it hasn’t been easy, but I enjoy [doing these extracurricular activities] because at the end of the day it makes it all worth while.”

Morales will attend the University of Dallas and go pre-law, majoring in history and minoring literature. He credits the “competitive side of me” for the earning of his No. 2 class ranking.

Morales constantly seeks the next best thing. Though he is “honored to have that type of [academic] recognition,” he buries the idea of complacency.

For example, at last month’s UIL regional competition for literary criticism, Morales said he “thought I did OK,” but after winning first place, he said he “immediately” switched gears and wanted to get a medal at state.

“I’m not going to rest on my laurels,” he said.

Morales, who lives in Brownwood but has attended Early Independent School District most of his life, will enter the University of Dallas with familiarity, as his father also attended the private college.