Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Tough competition for the top of the Longhorn class

Last minute scoring launched Clark to the top of the class


Late in the afternoon on Monday, May 8, Kimball High School Counselor Chauncey Pedersen announced that, after weeks of evaluation by Kimball High School administration, Audrey Day and Taylor Muldoon were named co-valedictorians, with no salutatorian for 2017.

Early Tuesday morning, May 9, Pedersen called with the news that last minute grades made all the difference for 2017 graduate Hollie Clark.

With the addition of those last minute grades, and just five days until graduation, Hollie was launched to the top of her class and was subsequently named valedictorian with Audrey and Taylor co-salutatorians.

The standards are high for the annual race to the top of the class, and a tie is not unusual for Kimball students. Valedictorian and salutatorian candidates must maintain stellar grades and they nearly always demonstrate positive leadership in high school.

Hollie has participated in Spanish club, Academic Decathlon and Quiz Bowl all four years of high school and she added Publications her sophomore year.

She was inducted into the National Honor Society and the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society in tenth grade as well and she has been a 4-H competitor the last two years.

Being inducted into two honor societies is a true accomplishment and Hollie said she has enjoyed many of her high school classes.

"My top two were probably English and art. I like being able to create something, so I really love writing and drawing," she said. "I also enjoyed Mrs. Ferguson's Civics and American History classes. She always made class really fun and interesting, and I learned a lot."

Hollie said that she found support everywhere, her family, friends and teachers, but her favorite teacher at Kimball High School Patricia Sulu, a past language teacher.

"She always worked to help everyone and make sure they understood. She always wanted to get everyone involved and she made class and Spanish Club really fun," Hollie said.

Hollie was inspired to become a teacher, and she will begin working towards that future following graduation. She plans to study elementary education and journalism at Chadron State College, and though she plans to become a teacher, she dreams of publishing a book in the future.

"I think I'm very lucky to have so many supporters in my family, friends and teachers, she said. "I think my parents have been my biggest supporters. They've always encouraged me to do my best and reminded me that I don't have to be The best to be great."

This year though, Hollie has been named "The Best" and she will lead the Kimball High School graduating class of 2017 in their commencement ceremony this Saturday.

Audrey began her extracurricular activities her freshman year, with the STAND club, Spanish club, InterAct club, band, jazz band, speech and One Act plays.

She remained in all of those activities throughout her high school years and was inducted into the National Honor Society her sophomore year.

As a junior Audrey added Mock Trial and Quiz Bowl and in her final year she became a member of the student council.

"My favorite subjects are Geography and History, so I loved my classes with Mr. Dea," she said. "He never assigned too much homework, and yet I still learned so much in his classes!"

Though her favorite classes were with Mr. Dea, Audrey is a committed and talented musician and she said her favorite teacher has been Mrs. Hiles-Smith, an instrumental music teacher.

"She is one of the nicest people I know, and is always willing to help kids with their music and whatever else they need. I will really miss her," Audrey said. "My biggest supporters were my family and my piano teacher, Pat Randolph. They were always there for me and listened to me vent."

Audrey has many great high school memories, but her favorite comes from just this last year when classmate Jaden Withrow scored the game winning trey against Dundy County.

"I have never been so hyped up about a game like that before," she said.

Audrey plans to attend either the University of Nebraska-Lincoln or beginning at Southeast Community College. She will study psychology and she hopes to become a doctor. Though she will miss her class mates and the laughs they have shared, she is looking forward to the next chapter of her life.

"I would like to thank everyone who has made such an impact on my life. My friends, teachers, and family have helped shape me into the person I am today. I am grateful for their kindness and helping hands," she said.

Audrey leaves future graduates with a few words of advice, "High school goes by so fast! Wow. The older you get, the faster time flies. Don't make any stupid decisions that could jeopardize your future or success. I wish my fellow graduates and all future ones very happy and accomplished lives. God bless!"

Editor's note:Taylor Muldoon did not return our inquiries prior to publication.


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