Akins students soar to success

May 23, 2023

This school year has been difficult. Students have had to deal with the lingering effects of the pandemic, sky-high inflation, and many other problems. However, despite all of these difficulties, many students were able to come out on top and excel.

Many groups won awards and they deserve recognition for their hard work. It would be physically impossible to list all the students who did so well this year since there were so many of them. So here’s a list of a couple of groups and students whose success was notable.

The Orchestra earned a Superior award for their stage performance and received an excellent rating in sightreading. After their performance, a colleague of Orchestra Director Thomas Mann, told him that the Akins Orchestra was the best orchestras that he had heard in 22 years. The director said that other people agreed that the orchestra did very well.

Mann said that “Akins should be proud of not only what Sinfonietta has accomplished this year, but the entire Performing Arts Department.”

The Akins chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) has also racked up awards this year, including on April 25 when members won in the Star District Public Speaking Contest. Two FFA members got first place in their respective categories. Two members got 2nd place and two members got 3rd place in their respective categories.

Senior Ryder Thorton, a musician who is in FFA, was invited to Indianapolis as part of a national FFA band. He performed in front of 40,000 FFA members.

Junior Amaris Maldonado retired as Star District Sentinel and two Akins members were elected. Lily Gonzalez became the Star District President and Brynne Laguna became the Star District Treasurer.
Members of the Akins Diamond Dazzler’s Dance Team won two APEX awards in February, which means that they had the highest score in any category. Diamond Captain Rachel Croom won 1st Place for her solo and senior Valeria Pena won 1st runner up for her solo.

Criminal Justice students placed first in cell extraction at the Texas Public Service Teacher Association (TXPSTA) State Criminal Justice Competition. This group of students have placed first in this competition since they started competing in 2018. Maryjane Zuniga placed 2nd in inmate processing.
The class of 2023 made over $9 million in scholarships. Many of these seniors will use these scholarships at universities such as St. Edwards, UT, and Texas Tech.

Several student athletes won scholarships to play sports at the college level, including senior Elias Brown, who will play wheelchair basketball at the University of Arizona.

Akins is also celebrating the first graduating class from the Early College High School program, which allows students to earn between 40 to 60 hours of college credit while in high school.On May 12, 45 out of 119 Akins students earned an Associate’s Degree in General Studies. Those who didn’t earn their associate’s degrees still got a headstart on their college credit hours.

Another Akins senior Caleb Stever was recognized as a 2023 Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation.

Junior Raven Martin did so much for Akins this year. She gained 100 volunteer hours for a scholarship and a graduation cord. This success helps set her up for doing well in college as well as life.

Some quick success stories from this year:

  • Seniors Peter Olea and Edison Chea placed 5th in Austin ISD Science Fair. Their project was investigating biofuels using pAmylase.
  • Sophomore Ava Linnell broke multiple Akins track records.
  • Many Akins students participated in the Visual Arts Scholastic Event. Art teacher Eric Cannon told the Eagle’s Eye that had over 51 submissions from 35 students, and 39 of these submissions received top scores. 12 submissions received a 3 on the judges rubric.
  • Senior Deonne Topete went to state wrestling all 4 years of high school, she placed 5th in state this year. She has gained the All American status due to how well she has done in wrestling.
  • JROTC was called into service at many places. They were called into Camp Mabry, football games, and a Veterans Day ceremony.


There was many students this year that excelled. These groups of students couldn’t have done it without the work of the administrators and teachers. This group of people helped to support these students as they went through their high school career. If you see any of these students in the hallways, make sure to congratulate them on their success.

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About the Contributor
Photo of Mark Lomas
Mark Lomas, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Academy: New Tech

Number of Years on Staff: Third Year

Title: Co-Editor-In-Chief

Why do you enjoy being on staff? Being on staff allows me to experience things that I wasn’t able to experience before. I also find it fun to write and hopefully make an impact on people’s lives.

What do you do for fun?I like to read sci-fi books, watch movies, play video games, take apart electronics, etc.

What are your hobbies? Video Editing, Playing Tennis, listening to music.

Hopes & Dreams after high school? Hopefully, become a film editor or a newspaper editor. If all else fails, i’ll go into cybersecurity

Hidden Talent (optional): I play 4 instruments.

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