Pecos High has no valedictorian following dispute for top spot

Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 8:55 PM CDT
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A dispute over who is valedictorian for the graduating class at Pecos High School ended up in court Friday.

Blanca Gallego and her family said that a month ago they were told by school officials that she would be #1 in the class, and transcripts printed as recently as last week show her in the top spot.

However when the official honors were announced earlier this week, Gallego was #2, and Zachariah Hung was now valedictorian.

The Gallegos said the school told them that the change was a result of a glitch, but that officials wouldn’t elaborate.

“For me to grow up here and work as hard as I have,” Blanca Gallego said, “And have them do this to me last moment. I can’t even enjoy the fact that I’m graduating.”

With only days before graduation, the Gallegos filed a restraining order and injunction on naming a valedictorian.

In court, the school district said that instead of giving the traditional honors at Friday’s graduation, both students would be referred to as the “highest ranking scholars.”

That satisfied Judge Mike Swanson enough that he took no action on Friday, while the matter is to be further investigated by the district and the Texas Education Agency.

“From the start this shouldn’t have happened,” Gallego said. “Everything should have been cleared out, so that’s just problems with school administration. Whoever has the blame, no one knows for sure. But this shouldn’t have been a problem, and it’s sad to see that this is where it’s gotten today.”

Hung, the other student involved, is the son of Reeves County Judge Leo Hung.

Judge Hung said he didn’t want to comment on the ongoing situation, but did say that it was disappointing that the students would have to share the honor, and that the truth will eventually be revealed.

On Monday, Interim Superintendent Earl Jarrett released a lengthy apology to students and parents about the controversy, but declined further comment following Friday’s hearing.