DHS Announces Class of 2023 Top Two Students

DeSoto High School Announces Its Top Two Graduates
Posted on 04/06/2023
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The sound of the award-winning DeSoto High School drumline, the sight of the DHS Student Council with balloon bouquets and sweet treats flanking campus and district leaders as they walk the hallways means one thing in the spring - the announcement of the senior class’ top two students is near.

In the DeSoto High School senior class of 2023, the valedictorian is Patrick Williams and the salutatorian is Anay Landeros. These two students have the highest grade point average of all the seniors and are both participants in the DeSoto Early College High School program.

Working dutifully fulfilling his role in the ECHS front office as a student aide, Willams was surprised to see campus and district leaders, his student peers, and even the superintendent walk into the ECHS office cheering and applauding him.

“I am so excited to receive my official recognition as valedictorian,” said Williams who had longed to meet this goal since middle school and is the first one in his family to obtain this level of success. “It was a lot of sacrificing my time to make room for my work and balancing all of my extracurricular activities with my academics. It was a lot of time management and studying.”

He recalled his epiphany that served as the fuel for his quest. 

“When I was leaving the eighth grade at West Middle School and was in second place in my class, this was the start of my hunger to be valedictorian. I saw then, that it was possible for me and I thought, why not me?”

DeSoto High School salutatorian, Anay Landeros, sits in the second seat atop the DeSoto High School senior class of 2023. She is extremely excited to celebrate her achievement as she was recognized in her classroom by Superintendent Dr. Rodgers, DHS Principal Campbell, and grade level principal Dr. James McBride and student leaders.


“I was so surprised. As an early college student, I spent much time studying for my college and high school courses. But, it was time well spent because sacrificing always pays off,” said Landeros smiling as she proudly held her personalized announcement sign.

Like Williams, Landeros has been a DeSoto Eagle for many years. 

“I have attended school in DeSoto since I was in Pre-Kindergarten, my whole life, so it is so great to have this honor,” she said.  “My community has been a strong support system for me. My teachers, my counselors, my classmates, and my family have supported me throughout these four years. I just never thought that I would be here right now.”

Landeros plans to attend Southern Methodist University and major in Engineering with her tuition fully paid. Reflecting on those who helped her along the way, “Ms. Garner was my English teacher my first year. She helped me get used to early college and high school and has been a constant help and support to me.”

Both Williams and Landeros are appreciative of the strong start they received from their teachers. 

“Mr. Beck-Smith is one of my best teachers. He helped me prepare for high academic achievement and raised my standards. I probably would not have gone as far without him,” began Williams who plans to attend Florida A&M and major in bioengineering. “Ms. Head gave me the standard my freshman year and I have been trying to follow as close as I can ever since.”

DeSoto High School senior grade level principal Dr. James McBride was truly pleased to learn of the selection of these students especially since he was their former middle school principal.

“I have known both scholars since the sixth grade. I am particularly proud of Patrick, the valedictorian, because he was a part of the West Male Leadership Academy. To see him blossom over the years and come on top is really great,” shared Dr. McBride. “The same goes for Anay, who has also taken care of business in the classroom, and to now be rewarded this is just awesome.”

Dr. McBride also commended Williams, Landeros, and the entire senior class for staying focused on the books even through the pandemic and virtual learning.