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2010 Graduate – Vanessa Covarrubias


Vanessa CovarrubiasCleburne is Johnson County’s third county seat. It was formerly known as Camp Henderson, a temporary Civil War outpost from which Johnson County soldiers would depart for war (most of them would serve under General Cleburne). The city was formally incorporated in 1871.

Cleburne “was near the earliest Johnson County road, an old wagon trail that was used by soldiers traveling from Fort Belknap to Fort Graham. The location had an excellent water source on West Buffalo Creek that attracted travelers, including cattlemen from the nearby Chisholm Trail.

Camp Henderson became a permanent settlement on March 23, 1867, when it became necessary to choose a new, centrally located county seat to replace Buchanan. The town was named in honor of General Patrick R. Cleburne, under whom many of the men had fought during the Civil War.

Cleburne was primarily an agricultural center and county seat until the Santa Fe Railroad opened a major facility there in 1898. During this time the population boomed, as it became a sizable city for the area with over 12,000 residents by 1920. Cleburne had a post office during its first year and a newspaper, the Cleburne Chronicle, in 1868. Cleburne Male and Female Institute, established by the Alvarado Baptist Association, operated between 1868 and 1872 as a church-related school. It was nonsectarian for a few more years before becoming the site of the first public school.

Cleburne’s public school was fine for Miss Vanessa Covarrubias. But all that changed for her when she discovered she was going to have a baby. Vanessa had to make some tough choices for such a young woman. Fortunately, she made all the right ones. She decided to have her child, and to earn a high school diploma. She also decided that being away from her new precious gift from God was not acceptable. For Vanessa, day care was not an option. She decided to finish the last year and a half of high school while caring for her new born in her own home. She accomplished this with great diligence, a near perfect GPA, all in nine months.

Vanessa did not stop after earning her diploma. She realized that further schooling would be required to provide a better life for her and her daughter. Vanessa is now enrolled in Hill College where she is working on a degree in the medical field. Hill College did not let one bad decision ruin her life. She certainly made it more challenging. She has met the challenge with grace, determination, and pride.

We wish her all the successes she can handle and we know that her daughter has a terrific mom that loves her dearly.

Vanessa Covarrubias is Citizens’ High School
“Graduate of the Month” for May 2010.