Brownwood High School valedictorian Sean Yoder and salutatorian Cora McNeese seem bound on similar paths as each will attend the University of Texas at Austin this fall.

Yoder, who finished the semester with a 4.1 grade point average, and McNeese, who finished the semester with a 4.02 GPA, will each attend UT with Yoder pursuing finance while McNeese will pursue a degree in business.

“It’s exciting, and a little scary not knowing how you’re going to fair in the world,” Yoder said. “… I just wanted to expand my horizons. Growing up in a small town, I just wanted to experience what big-city life was and get exposed to new things.”

Despite attending the largest school in Brown County, Yoder and McNeese knew each other well having attended BISD together since second grade. Yoder locked down valedictorian earlier this semester and recently completed paperwork for his scholarships, which left him little time to prepare for his valedictorian speech.

“I want to share some advice and some things I’ve learned,” Yoder said. “I’m not a very emotional guy so I don’t want to make anyone cry or inspire anyone. I just want to give them some stuff to think about as they begin the next phase of their lives.”

Yoder is the son of Jeff and Mistee Yoder. While at BHS he competed in basketball and belonged to various organizations such as:vice president of National Honor Society, Key Club, Texas Boys State and the Congressional Youth Advisory Council. Yoder attributes his coursework at BHS for inspiring him to seek a career in finance.

“Math was always my best subject,” Yoder said. “I took the business and industry endorsement throughout high school. I really enjoyed the accounting classes. I’ve always been interested in how the economy worked.”

McNeese is the daughter of Eric and Sarah McNeese. While at BHS, she was captain of the drill team, president of the Spanish club, treasurer of Key Club and was a member of NHS, crime stoppers and student council. Similar to Yoder, McNeese attributes courses taught by Stacee Hetzel to inspiring her to pursue a career in business.

“I just want to travel, experience different cultures and different people,” McNeese said. “I feel like business is kind of the best option to do that.”

McNeese described her graduating class as close, but driven and in her salutatorian speech she seeks to look back on the journey they all made.

“I just want to reflect on all of the time we spent together,” McNeese said. “Our class is such a close-knit group. I just want to talk about the friendships and everything we’ve gone through.”