Class of 2017 Val and Sal Share Great Grades and Friendship

It’s typical for the top graduating seniors to be separated by fractions of points. But the two young ladies who will represent Duncanville High School as valedictorian and salutatorian have much more in common than test scores and grade point averages.

For the Class of 2017, Corinne Daniels is the valedictorian and her close friend, Rebeca Zambrano, is the salutatorian. The young women have been friends since middle school. They have followed similar paths. Both are members of the award-winning DHS Band. They both received scholarships to attend the University of Texas – Austin where both plan to study biology.

Corinne Daniels has been a Duncanville Panther since kindergarten. She began playing soccer as a 6 year old and continued all the way through high school. She balanced that with the demands of playing the oboe in the band and the rigors of advanced placement courses.

Sherri Smith, now the principal at Central Elementary School, was Corinne’s third grade teacher.

“Even at an early age, Corinne demonstrated high standards of herself,” Smith said. “Not only was she a top academic student, but she excelled in sports and was well-liked by all. Although she was multi-talented, she never settled for less than her best.”

Corinne had a family tradition to follow. Her oldest brother was valedictorian in his class and the next brother graduated number 10 in his.

Rebeca Zambrano is beginning a new tradition for her family. As the oldest child, she is the first to go to college.

Rebeca came to Duncanville ISD as a four-year-old in pre-K, and she only grew and flourished in the years that followed.

Rebeca has been a member of DHS’s top band since her freshman year, and she was chosen to perform a clarinet solo at the state band competition in 2016.

Her school counselor Danielle Prince lauded her ability to balance her demanding coursework and dedication to the band program with the hours she volunteered at a local animal shelter.

“She exemplifies what we refer to as Panther Pride - a combination of dedication, hard work and integrity,” Prince said.

Rebeca isn’t sure exactly where her biology studies will take her, but she wants to use her knowledge for the greater good.

“I would like to have at least a small impact on the world,” Rebecca said.

Wherever their studies take them, Corinne and Rebeca say their teachers at Duncanville High School laid a firm foundation for them. They aren’t rooming together at The University of Texas, but because of the similar paths they’re pursuing, Corinne and Rebeca say they won’t be surprised if they bump into each other on campus.