The valedictorian and salutatorian of Wylie’s Class of 2016 know each other well.
Valedictorian Bethany Witemeyer and salutatorian Brian Fakhoury are both in band, both take advanced placement classes, both were in Footloose this past fall and are both very invested in math and UIL competitions.
In fact, the top four students in Wylie’s class of 2016, which includes No. 3 Caden Ellis and No. 4 Mariana Pye, are all close friends and are all in band, math and UIL. As a group they dominated the Texas Math and Science Coaches Association competition, winning four of the six senior scholarships given out at the state level. All four are going to state with the UIL team.
“Caden and I are essentially the same person,” Brian said. “We are best friends. I am with him 24/7.”
Bethany said she and Mariana are also good friends.
“We met in 3rd grade and reconnected in investigative math,” she said. “We have almost the same mind.”
In addition to being named Wylie’s valedictorian, Bethany was named a National Merit Semifinalist this year. She plays the flute in the band, is a member of the flag corps, has been involved in theater for three years, is in the National Honor Society and is going to the UIL state meet as part of the calculator, computer science, science and math teams.
She plans to study at ACU next fall and major in math.
“I definitely want to get a doctorate in math,” she said. “I am looking at triple minoring in physics, chemistry and computer science. After that I don’t really know, but I want to teach. Teaching has always been a passion.”
Bethany said tutoring and investigative math have given her an opportunity to experience teaching.
“Through investigative math, I’ve had opportunities to teach one on one,” she said. “People tell me I am good at it.”
Bethany plans to teach at the university level, but if she decides to teach in high school, she said she would also like to be a UIL sponsor because that program has been a huge part of her high school experience. She said she can relate to what the sponsors’ endure.
“They have a tough job to do,” she said.
While most kids are getting out of school early during their senior year, Bethany is taking a full load. And she usually ends up putting in even more hours after the regular school day ends.
“I just stay after school all the time,” she said. “It’s rare to find a day I’m not at school after it is over.”
Bethany is the daughter of Wes and Karen Witemeyer, and she has two brothers, Wyatt and Peter.
Brian has tried a little big of everything during his time at Wylie. He has been in robotics, DI, Student Council and even theater. He earned a spot in the musical Footloose this past fall and was vice president of the National Honor Society. He is a section leader in the band and plays French horn.
But don’t let his participation in fine arts fool you – he is a math and science guy. He loves math and science and UIL competitions.
“I thoroughly enjoy doing it,” he said. “You get to hang out and talk math all day. People understand my problems.”
Brian plans to go to Boston University, but he is not sure what his major will be. He is leaning toward computer science, but any science would be an option. He plans to go to graduate school and get a doctorate.
“Where I go I do not know,” he said. “I will work my hardest in college and see where it takes me.”
Brian said he was a little surprised to learn he was ranked 2nd in his class.
“Junior year when class rankings came out, I went in the bathroom and checked it on my phone,” he said.
He was thrilled to discover he was No. 2 and that he along with his three friends had taken spots 1 through 4.
“That was motivation to keep doing what I was doing and stay at No.2,” he said.
Brian is the son of Abe and Tammy Fakhoury, and he has a little brother Mark, 11.
Brian stays very busy with plenty of activities, but he says he doesn’t have much trouble staying on top of things.
“I am very organized at understanding what needs to get done,” he said. “I know how to prioritize my schedule to get done what I need to get done.”