“Excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.”
Twenty students in the RCSHS Class of 2018 have earned the distinction of graduating summa cum laude by achieving a 4.0 or greater grade point average during their years as a student at Rowan County Senior High School. These twenty students have overcome every obstacle to achieve their goals of excelling in academics. They will stand tall as they walk across the stage to receive their high school diplomas. Their plans for the future will lead them in many different directions, but they all have the will and the drive to succeed. Each one has noted that they earned this honor through hard work and dedication to their studies. They will make us proud.
The students graduating summa cum laude are, in alphabetical order: Helen Bandura, Conner Barker, Brian Carter, Terra Creahan, Natalie Curry, Kelsey Cyrus, Kourtney Dennis, Zachary Garrett, Aaron Gevedon, Sarah Hallock, Holly Lamb, Allison Lester, Georgia Means, Lukas Reynolds, Clay Sizemore, Baylie Sloan, Shelby Stanley, Nathan Terrell, Zachary Watkins, and Madison Welte.For these twenty students, the lessons of “ambition” and “setting goals” have been a guiding force.These students, along with many of their fellow graduating class members, are bound to surprise many people with their goals and their determination to succeed in their future endeavors.
Helen Bandura is the daughter of Kim Bandura and Brad Bandura. She is planning to attend Morehead State University but has not yet decided what she wants to focus on while in college. She says that earning the title “graduating summa cum laude” is rewarding. When asked what it took for her to achieve this distinction, she answered, “Showing up to class and putting in a lot of effort.” Her advice to incoming freshmen is, “Work as hard as you can. Be respectful to your teachers, go to school and do your work.”
Conner Barker, the son of Steve and Amber Barker and Darrell and Kim Crawford, will be attending Morehead State University this fall. Afterwards, he hopes to go to nursing school and become a registered nurse. To Conner, being named as one of the top students in his graduating class means, in his words, “that hard work does pay off.” He added that it took hard work, sacrifice, dedication and focus” to earn the distinction of summa cum laude. To incoming RCSHS freshmen, Conner advises, “The grades that you make as a freshman matter just as much as the grades that you make in your senior year!”
Brian Carter is the son of Alicia and Dewayne Carter. He will be attending Morehead State University where he will be studying biomedical sciences with the goal of becoming a physician. He remarked, “Being named summa cum laude means that my hard work and dedication towards a goal allowed me to achieve this. It is an honor and a blessing!” He then added, “To do this took being committed to my studies, always doing my best, learning time management, and having the love and support of my family and friends.” His advice to incoming freshmen was to strive for excellence and make it a habit, but he also told them to enjoy themselves and remember to make friends.
The daughter of Sherrie Davison and Thomas Creahan, Terra Creahan is planning to attend Ohio University to major in a science field and work in a field that she loves.Her goal is to earn a Ph.D. in paleontology or to travel and work with the environment.To Terra, being recognized as graduating summa cum laude means “I worked hard and earned my grades.It took hard work and dedication, but it also shows that I am responsible and do my best work.”Her advice to the incoming freshmen is to “work hard and don’t give up. When it comes to your senior year, which will come before you know it, don’t let ‘senioritis’ get the best of you!”
Natalie Curry, the daughter of John and Lori Curry, will be attending Brigham Young University-Idaho in the fall, with a goal of becoming a forensic accountant. When asked what she thinks about earning the title of “graduating summa cum laude,” Natalie answered, “It means all my hard work has paid off.” She added that as important as it was for her to give her all 100% of the time, it was also important for her to push herself even when she did not want to finish something. Her advice for the incoming freshman is to work hard but also remember to let yourself live a little.
Kelsey Cyrus is the son of Vivian and Steven Cyrus. She will been accepted to the United States Naval Academy, will study electrical engineering and be a Naval officer upon graduation. When asked what it took for her to be named summa com laude, Kelsey answered, “It took a lot of time. I had to be on top of all my assignments and make sure everything was done correctly.” Her advice for incoming freshmen is to “be organized with all your classes and take the most advanced classes that are offered.”
Kourtney Dennis is the daughter of Kevin and Amanda Dennis. She is planning to attend Morehead State University with plans to major in psychology. She says that being listed as a top student in her graduating class means a lot to her and “proves that my hard work was worth it.” When asked what it took for her to achieve this distinction, she answered, “It took a lot of stress, a lot of studying and dedication.” She then added, “The best advice that I have for incoming freshmen is don’t let the dramas of high school drag you down; it isn’t worth it.”
Zachary Garrett, the son of Kipton and Gina Garrett, will be attending Morehead State University in the fall, with goals of becoming a Spanish teacher, a gospel preacher and a missionary. When asked what he thinks about earning the title of “graduating summa cum laude,” Zachary answered, “I feel this is an honor and a strong finish to my high school career that reflects the effort that I have put forth.” He then added, “It took the ability to focus and the ability to prioritize. By paying attention, studying and putting my schoolwork above many of my own desires, everything fell into place.” His advice for the incoming freshman: “Be respectful. A lack of respect makes everything worse. Avoid drama (unless we’re talking our fantastic drama department!) Drama will make you miserable. Finally, don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you join three sports teams and take three AP classes, taking care of your needs both in and out of school will be very difficult.”
The son of Tim and Teresa Gevedon, Aaron Gevedon will be attending Morehead State University to study biomedical sciences with the goal of becoming a doctor.When asked what it means to him to be listed as one of top students in the Class of 2018, he remarked, “It’s a big honor and it means that I get to make my parents proud.”According to Aaron, earning the honor took countless hours of hard work and dedication.He offered the following advice to the incoming freshmen: “Even when you don’t want to prioritize school, it will make your life easier in the future.Work smart.”
Sarah Hallock is the daughter of Ben and Shellie Hallock. She is planning to attend Morehead State University with plans to become a pediatric physical therapist. Talking about graduating summa cum laude, she stated, “This is an amazing honor that represents four years of hard work.” She then added that it took learning to prioritize schoolwork over extracurriculars and hanging out with friends. Her advice to the incoming freshmen: “Learn time management and don’t sit next to your best friend in Advanced Geometry!”
Holly Lamb, the daughter of Don and Louise Lamb, has been accepted to Morehead State University and will be studying business. When asked what it means to her to be named as one of the top students in her graduating class, she answered, “The last four years of high school have put us all through some trying situations, but to finish high school and graduate summa cum laude means that I am resilient and my hard work is being recognized.” She then added, “To get anything you want takes hard work and dedication. You have to be driven, be resilient and work hard.” She advised incoming freshmen to remember that “high school only lasts four years. Enjoy it. It will fly by and, before you know it, you’ll be going to your high school graduation. Therefore, remember that it does not last forever and always prepare for what comes next.”
Allison Lester is the daughter of Debbie and Donald Lester. She will be attending Morehead State University to study for a degree in engineering management. She said that being named as one of the top students in her graduating class means “all my hard work I put in to my grades have paid off. It took a lot of long nights studying and putting in a lot of effort.” Her advice for incoming freshmen: “try your hardest in school because it will help you in the long run.”
The daughter of Kimberly Adkins and Brent Means, Georgia Means will be attending Eastern Kentucky University with the goal of becoming a speech language pathologist in an elementary school.When asked what it means to her to be listed as one of top students in the Class of 2018, she stated, “I feel so proud of myself.It took a lot of studying and extra work.I put in a lot of hours of extra work to get the grades that I received.”To the incoming freshmen, Georgia has offered the following advice: “When you start school, don’t let your grades drop just because you don’t think they’re not important.Start high school strong and keep your grades high to make your life 100 times easier when you get into your senior year and want to get into a college.”
Lukas Reynolds, the son of Karly Milner and Shane Reynolds, will be attending the University of Kentucky. He wants to pursue a career in dentistry while still continuing with his passion for filmmaking. As for graduating summa cum laude, he remarked that “this is an amazing honor” and he is happy to be recognized with his fellow top performing students. For his success during high school, he stated, “I think it took a lot of dedication towards my classes and studies. In addition, it took a will to not only keep a high GPA but also be the best I can be and try my absolute hardest on everything I do.” He advised incoming freshmen to “always give your full effort towards anything in life, as the rewards for doing this outweigh the difficulty. Also never give up when things seem impossible or bleak.”
Clay Sizemore is the son of Douglas and Effie McLoney. He will be attending Morehead State University where he will study biomedical sciences and then attend dental school either at U of L or UK. He stated, “To be listed as graduating summa cum laude means that I am a part of the elite and outstanding group of students in my graduating class and that my hard work has paid off.” He then added, “My parents set a good foundation for me as a younger kid and that led me into becoming the student that I am today. Over the years, I’ve learned that dedication, time management and hard work are the key.” His advice to incoming freshmen: “Don’t take this time you have in high school for granted. Have fun and always do everything to the best of your ability. Be a part of everything you can and get involved.”
The daughter of Tim Sloan and Lori Dickerson, Baylie Sloan will be attending Morehead State University this fall.Her plans include a career working with food or exercise science, such as a bakery owner, chef or dietitian.When asked what it means to be listed as one of the top students in her graduating class, she responded, “It means that I went above and beyond the expectations of academic performance.”In speaking about the reason behind her success, she stated that it took hard work and perseverance.Baylie advised incoming freshmen to “make sure you complete every assignment you are given and do not procrastinate!If you get things done early, you’ll spend less time worrying about it!”
Shelby Stanley, the daughter of Brandy Barker and Shane Stanley, will be attending Bellarmine University in the fall. Her career goal is to become a cardiologist. When asked what it means to her to be one of the top students in the Class of 2018, she stated that her hard work was worth the effort. She remarked, “It took dedication to my learning and genuinely loving to learn. It also took time to relax through and enjoy my time with those people in my life.” Shelby’s advice to incoming freshmen is to “come expecting to learn and to care about what you’re learning because it matters. Enjoy high school because it goes by so quickly.”
Nathan Terrell is the son of Russell and Maria Terrell. He will be attending Western Kentucky University and hopes to attend law school and practice law in Kentucky. To be named as one of the top students in his graduating class is a reward for all his hard work, according to Nathan. He then remarked, “It took time management and a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes I had to give up fun times with friends for my education.” Nathan had the following advice for the incoming freshmen: “Get out and get involved. Manage your time and take every opportunity that comes your way. Do NOT procrastinate.”
The son of Greg and Laura Watkins, Zachary Watkins will be attending Easter Kentucky University this fall.His future plans are to earn a Ph.D. in Music Education and teach students on the collegiate level.His reaction when asked what it means to be listed as one of the top students was, “It is an honor and the reward for working hard over the past four years.”He then remarked, “It took hard work and dedication and not always doing what you want to do, but doing what you need to do in order to succeed.”His advice to incoming freshmen: “Never take the easy way out.Always push yourself to the best you can be in all areas of your life.”
Madison Welte, the daughter of Greg and Heather Welte, will be attending western Carolina University in the fall. Her career goal is earn a Master’s degree and become a speech language pathologist. She remarked, “Being listed as graduating summa cum laude means a lot to me, as I have come to highly respect my fellow classmates who are also graduating summa cum laude. Counting myself as one of them is an honor and a privilege.” When asked what it took for her to achieve this honor, she answered, “I think forcing myself to take harder classes and doing my best to excel in these classes is what helped me earn this honor. It definitely took a lot of determination to the best that I could possibly be in those difficult classes.” Madison had some age advice for the incoming RCSHS freshmen. “Don’t be afraid to talk to people you don’t know. I met my best friend because we were both brave enough to talk to one another. Also, don’t shy away from hard classes. A harder class might just end up being your favorite class that you take during your entire time in high school.”
Superintendent Marvin Moore offered his congratulations to these students, saying, “These students deserve to be celebrated for their discipline and good decisions in learning with their teachers throughout the past twelve years. They now see the results of their hard work and determination as well as the dedication offered to them by their teachers. I applaud them and I know they will achieve the success that they have worked so hard for while they were in school.”
The words from Steve Jobs may say it best: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”