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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 9:42 PM
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Aviation Nomination

Aviation Nomination
Thrall High School senior Avery Koonce acknowledges crowd during a ceremony honoring her congressional nomination for the Air Force Academy Wednesday, March 27. Photos by Hunter Dworaczyk

Thrall student honored by congressman

THRALL — Thrall Independent School District celebrated a student this week whose eyes are set on Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Avery Koonce received the Congressional Nomination for the Air Force Academy from Congressman Pete Sessions, during a ceremony Wednesday, March 27, in the high school’s gym.

“I am incredibly honored and excited to join the Air Force Academy and pursue my passion,” Koonce said. “I am going to major in biology and minor in kinesiology. I am hopeful to become a pilot physical therapist and eventually prolong the (careers) of pilots.”

Koonce is heading to the Air Force Academy after committing to run track and field for the Falcons.

In the 100-meter dash at the 2A state meet last year in Austin, Koonce was the runner-up with a time of 12.12 seconds. She also placed highly at state in the pole vault as her mark of 10 feet 6 inches finished fourth.

Thrall High School’s Wall of Honor recognized Avery Koonce for attendees to see before they entered the gym.

During her senior year, Koonce competed in cross country, powerlifting and track and field. She was also a member of the high school cheerleading squad.

Thrall ISD Superintendent Tommy Hooker had Koonce stand up during the ceremony as a way of inspiring the students in the audience.

“It’s hard to believe that she doesn’t let her size slow her down,” Hooker said. “She has to have more stride; she has to have more steps to come across that finish line.

Hooker said that Koonce being able to routinely outperform opponents that are taller is a testament to her work ethic.

“That’s a compliment to her, to not let there be any excuses or barriers, to be able to have that determination and pride to get to where she is,” he said.

Sessions said the Air Force Academy is designed and specifically purposed to take the brightest and the best of the young people, break them down and build them back up so that they can become leaders of the next generation.

He added that a lot of outgoing seniors compete for congressional nominations to military academies, so Thrall should be honored to have a representative from its community.

“No matter what happens in her future, I know Thrall, not only the (school) but the community, will be offering you prayers, support and will be proud of what you do,” Sessions told Koonce.

Thrall Athletic Director Aaron Vanecek, Principal Nicole Tindol, Williamson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Boles and military committee representatives joined Koonce, Hooker and Sessions on stage during the ceremony.

Students from Thrall Elementary School and Thrall Middle School joined high school students in the audience, making it a district-wide celebration.

Superintendent Tommy Hooker has Avery Koonce stand up during the ceremony to praise her dedication.
Students from each of the Thrall Independent School District schools gathered inside of the gym to honor Avery Koonce Wednesday, March 27.

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