Our weekly roundup of Toasts & Roasts: We offer a round of applause to Hudson’s Jocelyn Gonzalez, who rounded out a spectacular career on the soccer pitch by being named the 19-4A MVP. Gonzalez earned her second straight district MVP honor after breaking her own school record with 51 goals just one year after earning MVP by scoring 49 goals. She finished her stellar Hudson career with 150 goals and was chosen for the all-district team in each of her four seasons. But the awards didn’t stop there for the Lady Hornets, as Kimberly Penick was named the Goalkeeper of the Year one year after also earring first-team honors. She shared the award with Center’s Alli Stuever. Lady Hornets’ head coach Derek Lillard was named Coach of the Year, while the Lady Hornets were officially named district champs. Diboll’s Abby Galvan earned Sophomore of the Year recognition. Other Lady Hornets receiving honors were Jenna Quarles, Estephanie Escobedo, Raylei Smith and Laurel Ainsworth, who were each named to the first team. Quarles’ award comes on the heels of being named the Offensive MVP as a junior a season ago. As a junior, she also was the Newcomer of the Year. Ainsworth was an all-district selection for the fourth straight year, while Smith and Escobedo earned all-district selections in each of their three seasons on varsity. Diboll’s Jessica Castro was a first-team selection. The Lady Hornets also put four players on the second team: Jazmine Jamison, Ryleigh Evans, Claire Gowin and Brisa Ibarra. Evans was a three-time honoree, while Jamison earned the honor a second time. Avery Bearden and Aneesia Lopez were each second-team selections for Diboll. Britney Rojo and Taylor Rojo rounded out Hudson’s all-district selections with honorable mention honors, while Paulina Montoya, Julissa Montoyo and Alyssa Garza were Diboll’s honorable mention selections. We congratulate all these young ladies.
A tip of the cap to a group of Lufkin Lady Panthers who were among those honored for their contributions throughout their high school careers as District 16-5A selected its All-Senior Team, which was announced last week. Lufkin players honored were pitcher Halea Wells and first basemen Tatum Liles and Natalie Chavez. Liles, in her fourth year with the Lady Panthers, had been a member of two playoff teams at the 6A level and was a second-team all-district performer as a sophomore and a first-team all-district honoree as a junior. Chavez also was in her fourth year with the program and her second as a varsity player. She had a double, two RBIs and three walks in this season’s district opener. Wells was in her second year in the Lufkin program and will continue her playing career at Southern Arkansas University Tech. Lufkin was expected to be a contender for one of the four playoff spots in 16-5A before the season was eventually being canceled with 12 games still left on the schedule. We hope these honors will serve as consolation to some very deserving athletes.
And a big “atta girl!” to the four women in the Buckner Family Hope Center Family Pathways Program who have graduated from their respective colleges and universities. Kelly Inkster received a bachelor’s of applied arts and sciences from Stephen F. Austin State University in allied health service and general business, while Krystle Calais, Jaselyn Johnson and Rachel Barrett graduated from the registered nursing program at Angelina College. Executive director Marisa Phillips said the best part of her job is to watch the students and their children grow and succeed through the program. “It’s a challenging proposition (to obtain a degree as a single parent) even under normal circumstances because they are single parents, so they face challenges with time and money and spreading themselves between being an effective single parent and being an effective student and in some cases being a part-time employee,” Phillips said. On top of that, the women have to keep up the responsibilities of classes, trainings and counseling that are part of the center’s program. “With the arrival of COVID-19, all those challenges were accelerated,” she said. “All of our students went to online courses only, which can be a challenge for some without having face-to-face instruction. Then on March 23, our child care center was forced to close for safety reasons, so for the last several weeks of their last semester in school they were at-home schooling and at-home parenting their children in addition to doing online coursework themselves.” We celebrate these women for their determination to make a better life for themselves and their children.
And finally, we offer our congratulations to Livingston’s own Laci Kaye Booth, who signed a major record deal last week just one year after placing in the Top 5 on “American Idol.” Host Ryan Seacrest announced the deal with 19 Recording and Big Machine Label Group during Sunday night’s season 18 finale. Booth’s stablemates will include such notable artists as Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line and Sheryl Crow. Just before Booth moved to Nashville to continue pursuing her professional music career last summer, she was the featured cover story in the July 2019 issue of Charm. During that interview, she told Charm that performing on ‘‘American Idol’’ and her subsequent move to Nashville were both a dream come true. We’re pleased to see another dream come true for this East Texas artist and look forward hearing her first album.
Editor’s note: Is there a person or organization you’d like to nominate for either a Toast or a Roast due to a recent accomplishment, event or incident? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 631-2618. You can also contact us anonymously through our online news tip page at lufkindailynews.com/tips.