2022 valedictorians represent the cream of the crop

·7 min read

Jun. 4—Here are the students deemed the best of the best for the Class of 2022 at high schools throughout Madison County and surrounding communities.

ALEXANDRIA

Kendall Parker, 18

GPA: 4.436

Extracurricular activities: Student Council, National Honor Society, SADD, Youth Leadership Academy of Madison County, Class Officer, High School Softball, High School Volleyball, Prom Committee, Travel Softball

Scholarships offered: Academic and Athletic Scholarships to Bethel University, Lilly Finalist Scholarship, Kiwanis Scholarship

Postgraduation intentions: Attend Bethel University while playing softball.

Intended major: Nursing

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

My parents and their work ethic is what inspired me to do my best in and out of the classroom, because I would like to somehow help them after they've sacrificed so much for myself.

ANDERSON HIGH SCHOOL

Ricky Wong, 17

GPA: 4.862

Extracurricular Activities: Band, marching band, track, cross country, swimming, senior executive, Interact Rotary Club, National Honor Society and eSports Overwatch Team.

Scholarships offered: Red Haven Memorial Award (nominee)

Post-graduation intentions: Attend Purdue

Intended Major: Computer Science

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

I owe this success to my mom and my grandparents. Through their own life experiences and stories, they taught me at a young age the value of hard work and how important it was for the future, no matter how talented you might've been at something. So, whenever times got tough, I would always remember what they stood for and how they had worked so very hard for what they had, and that kept me going all throughout school.

ANDERSON PREPARATORY ACADEMY

Hayden Hornocker, 18

GPA: 4.68

Extracurricular activities: Basketball; soccer; baseball; football; show choir; National Honor Society, president; senior class officer, president

Scholarships offered: Hanover College 1827 Scholarship (60% Tuition), Experience Award and FAFSA Filing Award; Paul Bradford Memorial Scholarship; Lilly Endowment Finalist; Catching Star Foundation finalist; Rotary Scholarship; APA Faculty Scholarship; Red Haven finalist

Post-graduation intentions: Attend Hanover College

Intended Major: Elementary education

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

I have a high standard for myself to complete my work, take harder classes, and to study and get As on tests. The high GPA part just came along with all of that.

Kasandra Rea-Padilla, 17 (early graduate, Class of 2023)

GPA: 4.56

Extracurricular activities: National Honor Society; senior class officer, treasurer; Cadet Council; community service at Anderson Community Hospital

Scholarships offered: 21st Century Scholar, federal Pell Grant, Mitch Daniels Early Graduation, Jaguar Excellence Scholarship, APA Faculty Scholarship

Post-graduation intentions: Attend IUPUI

Intended Major: Mechanical engineering

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

I was inspired by my parent's example of a strong work ethic to maintain a level of excellence that has led me to keep up my academics. Education has always been pushed on me as the way to a better life with more opportunities. I was motivated to pursue a higher education, and I was willing to put in the work to achieve my goals.

DALEVILLE

Gwendolyn Schmiedel, 18

GPA: 4.43

Extracurricular Activities: Basketball; cross country; track; academic team; DHS digital media editor; National Honor Society, president; National English Honor Society, president; Science National Honor Society; Math National Honor Society, vice president; Student Council

Scholarships offered: Jeff Roberts Memorial Scholarship and President Academic Excellence Scholarship, Indiana State University

Post-graduation intentions: Attend Indiana State University. I hope to one day be a forensic scientist.

Intended major: I plan to major in criminology and minor in forensic science.

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

I'm a very competitive person, and academics is an area that I knew if I applied myself I would excel in.

ELWOOD

Zach Hood, 18

GPA: 5.052

Extracurricular Activities: Cross country, track, academic teams

Scholarships offered: $22,000 Scholarship to Manchester University

Post-graduation intentions: Attend Manchester University

Intended Major: Pre-med

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

Trying to fulfill what I know I was capable of.

INDIANA CHRISTIAN ACADEMY

Sydney Tipton, 18

GPA: 3.98

Extracurricular Activities: Volleyball and basketball

Scholarships offered: $40,000 BJU academic scholarship

Post-graduation intentions: Attend Bob Jones University

Intended Major: Accounting

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

To work and study hard in order to receive academic scholarships and use the knowledge in the real world.

LIBERTY CHRISTIAN

Madysen Rees, 18

GPA: 4.6

Extracurricular Activities: Varsity Basketball, varsity softball, Youth Group, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and student government.

Scholarships Offered: Presidential Scholarship, Visitation Scholarship, Red Haven Finalist, Mary Jo Lee, Century and a Half, and Grand Lodge.

Post-graduation Intentions: Attend Manchester University I also plan to continue my basketball career.

Intended Major: Doctorate in Physical Therapy

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

I wanted to maintain this level of excellence because of my family. I was always a decent student, but once I hit high school I told myself I did not want to get a grade lower than a 95%. I decided to do this because of my sisters above me. They were both very intelligent and were successful in sports. I didn't know if I could surpass them in other areas, but I knew if I worked hard enough I could in academics. My sister got pregnant when I was about to go into high school. I decided that if she can finish high school with great grades, sports, and a beautiful child, I can finish high school with two of those things.

MADISON-GRANT

Gabrielle Rudy, 18

GPA: 4.0

Extracurricular Activities: Volleyball, club volleyball, Spanish Club, Champions Together, A-Team, National Honor Society

Scholarships offered: Ball State Presidential Scholarship, Florence Gemmil Scholarship

Post-graduation intentions: Attend Ball State University

Intended Major: Nursing

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

The personal satisfaction I get from reaching my aspirations for life after high school.

Mason Richards, 18

GPA: 4.0

Extracurricular Activities: Varsity baseball, tennis, National Honor Society, Student Council, Spanish Club, Campus Life, FCA

Scholarships offered: Lilly Endowment Scholarship, IU Provost Scholarship, IU A.R. Metz Scholarship

Post-graduation intentions: Attending Indiana University Bloomington on the Pre-med track.

Intended Major: Biology and neuroscience

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

My competitive drive and the great feeling of personal accomplishment drove me to try my best in school and pursue the valedictorian position.

PENDLETON HEIGHTS

Darcy Jacobs, 17

GPA: 13.6786 or 4.8895

Extracurricular Activities: The Muse, German Club, Beta Club, tutoring, track and field and National Honor Society

Scholarships offered: National Merit Scholarship

Post-graduation intentions: University of Alabama

Intended Majors: Behavioral economics and statistics

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

I am smart, but I know I am not the smartest student. I wanted to prove that determination and a work ethic are more valuable than raw brain power. I inspired myself. Not my parents, my peers, or my teachers. That is why I succeeded. I did it for myself and by myself. Self determination and motivation are more important than any award or approval, including this one.

SHENANDOAH

Delia Myers, 18

GPA: 4.42

Extracurricular Activities: Sources of Strength, softball, football manager, National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society

Scholarships offered: Purdue University Emerging Leaders, $40,000.00, and Linda Newman Scholarship through the Henry County Community Foundation

Post-graduation intentions: Attend Purdue University

Intended Major: Pharmacology

What inspired you to maintain the level of excellence that has led you to be the student with the highest GPA?

Delia is driving to always do her best and the feeling afterwards of knowing that she did just that. She has always challenged herself to do better next time. The reward for her is more than the honor of giving a speech it is knowing that she accomplished something that she set out to do and she did it well.

Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.