Garcia, Fischer top MHS Class of ‘21

By Phil Major
Posted 5/20/21

Valerie Garcia and Jonah Fischer will lead the Mineola High School Class of 2021.

They have been battling for the top spot since they were freshmen, with Garcia taking the nod by decimal points.

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Garcia, Fischer top MHS Class of ‘21

Valerie Garcia
Valerie Garcia

Valerie Garcia and Jonah Fischer will lead the Mineola High School Class of 2021.

They have been battling for the top spot since they were freshmen, with Garcia taking the nod by decimal points.

They will continue to see each other on campus when they head to Texas A&M in the fall.

She plans a major in mechanical engineering while he will pursue a business degree.

Valerie Ann Garcia is the daughter of Robert and Sherry Garcia and has two siblings in Mineola schools, Kloey, a sophomore, and Alexander, an 8th grader.

Valerie became interested in robotics in elementary school, loves science and wants to help innovate the future. She would like to work at NASA someday and is interested in human space travel and exploring the unknown. She would like to help program projects such as the Mars rover.

She had hoped to visit NASA during her senior year, but those travel plans got curtailed during the pandemic.

Her school activities have included cheer, four years; volleyball, four years; band, four years, and National Honor Society, serving as vice president.

She served as percussion captain and ensemble section leader, and winning two state marching championships with the band were among her fondest memories.

It was exciting the first time as a freshman but more meaningful as an upperclassman and leader, who helped the younger students to grow and achieve that goal, she noted.

As a leader, you spend a lot more time and are more passionate about it, she said.

It’s no surprise, then, that Band Director Chris Brannan and percussion director Austin Brannon are two of her favorite teachers.

And she will definitely miss the people of Mineola High School, especially in band.

She won’t be pursuing the A&M marching band which features military precision style. But she hopes to join one of the other ensembles or perhaps a community band.

Jonah Christopher Fischer is the son of Chris and Michelle Fischer. 

Fischer may be best known as a four-year letterman on the Yellowjacket basketball team, which enjoyed a run of success during his years, in no small part due to his contributions.

When Fischer was in 8th grade his English teacher, Julie Heard, had the class write a journal entry to themselves as seniors. They were opened recently, and one of his goals was to make basketball as popular in Mineola as football.

Judging from the crowd support at the Yellowjackets’ playoff game with Atlanta in February, Fischer thinks he met that goal.

One of his best memories was the district championship game with Edgewood his sophomore year. The two rivals went into overtime to decide the outcome, with Mineola winning on some late free throws and the fans streaming on the court to celebrate.

At first Fischer thought he might like to try basketball at the collegiate level but instead decided he “just” wants to be a student when he arrives in College Station.

He has already been involved in the family business, Wing Dingers, since a young age. He helps manage the family’s third location, in Lindale. A fourth is being built in Canton to go along with the ones in Mineola and Quitman.

He has two older brothers, Lincoln and Reagan, but didn’t get a presidential name although he said Kennedy was considered. 

His sisters, also MHS students, sophomore Mylee and freshman Macy, are following his path as excellent athletes.

Lincoln is an accountant in Tyler while Reagan is preparing to enter the teaching profession.

Fischer spent three years in FFA and raised rabbits, though he says he has no interest in the animal science program at A&M.

He said he will miss the community spirit of Mineola, calling it a unique community in East Texas that supports its students, from attendance at events to numerous scholarships.

Other involvements include Fellowship of Christian Athletes four years, National Honor Society three years and Junior Historians four years where he served as president. That group’s sponsor, Jimmy Phillips, was among his favorite teachers, along with Mrs. Heard.

He said the group offered the volunteer opportunities and fun trips.

Ag teacher Martinez was another of his favorites.