Emily Bunger

Since her freshman year, Emily Bunger has been at the top of her class. It has always been her goal to be named the Class of 2020 Kaufer High School valedictorian, she said, which meant she would have to hold on to that top rank.

“It’s actually something that was really important to me,” Emily said. “Not for the label, but so I would have a good shot at getting those scholarships for college and graduate without as much debt.”

When she learned she had been named the class valedictorian earlier this month, Emily said she felt both honored and excited about the accomplishment.

“It took a lot of hard work,” she said.

Emily is the daughter of Jennifer and Rick Bunger. She said she has been involved with “pretty much everything” during her high school career, including the National Honor Society, Riviera FFA, band, volleyball and basketball.

She has also participated in the Kleberg-Kenedy County Junior Livestock Show since she was four years old, exhibiting a variety of livestock through the years including swine, poultry and most recently goats.

Emily said even though keeping up with her rigorous studies while being involved in several extracurriculars was difficult, she always put her education at the forefront.

“It required a lot of late nights studying,” she said.

Emily said she has a lot of fond memories of her senior year, even with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting things during the past few months.

“It was an interesting year, that’s for sure,” she said. “Starting out, it was really great. Volleyball was fun, band was a struggle but it was good and memorable. FFA was the highlight of my year as I got more involved than I have in any other year.”

“But (with COVID), it was really hard because I could no longer see my friends and we didn’t get that last traditional part of the year,” she added. “It was different with the virtual school.”

This fall, Emily will be attending Texas Tech University in Lubbock where she will study animal science on her path to become a livestock veterinarian.

“I’ve got all my dorm stuff squared away and now I’m just applying for scholarships,” she said. “A lot of scholarships.”

Emily said raising livestock was a big – and fun – part of her life growing up, and she wants to continue working and helping care for them as an adult.

“Livestock has a really big impact on life in general,” she said. “And not a lot of people are livestock veterinarians, so it’s actually really needed in the world. I know it will be a challenge, but I’m ready for it.”

For incoming freshman next year, Emily said her advice is to never procrastinate.

“I know everybody says that, but it’s a true, true thing,” she said. “Because it will haunt you for life. Also, never give up. It’s hard to juggle things like extracurricular activities, but never give up on trying. It’s really important to have the high school experience.”

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