SMHS names valedictorian, salutatorian

Feb. 22—Senior students in the Class of 2024 at Stone Memorial High School were honored last week with a Latin Honors celebration and the official announcement of the class valedictorian and salutatorian was made.

Valedictorian for the SMHS class of 2024 is Rachel Houston, and salutatorian is Carrie Houston. The sisters are fraternal twins.

Carrie had a visible look of shock on her face when the salutatorian announcement was made.

"I was shocked because I knew there were so many other deserving individuals for this honor. They had put in just as much work as I had. I was grateful for all the prayers and support that I have received in my lifetime. I did not earn this award alone. So many others played a role in my academic journey," Carrie Houston said.

When Rachel's name was announced as valedictorian, the Houston sisters both smiled and hugged briefly on the auditorium stage while the crowd cheered.

"Being awarded valedictorian was definitely an exhilarating experience and a huge blessing. It was amazing to receive this honor alongside my twin sister. The entire day felt like a surreal, made-for-TV moment. It was very humbling for me as I realized that so many people in the last 12 years played a role in my success," Rachel Houston said.

Valedictorian and salutatorian have the two highest numerical averages of the final course grades in the top half of the Summa Cum Laude graduating class.

Each of the top two must meet the benchmarks on the ACT or equivalent on the SAT. ACT scores at a minimum of 18 English, 22 math, 22 reading and 23 science.

In determining the academic recognition, the Cumberland County school system are using the Latin system based on local weighted GPA.

Seniors at SMHS graduating Summa Cum Laude with a GPA of 4.25 and above include Hannah G. Barnes, Mikenzie R. Borngrebe, Carrie I. Houston, Rachel C. Houston, Kevin K. Manning, Peyton G. McGinnis, Samantha G. Nesperos Gibson, Nicole J. Ranson, Daniel I. Richard, Abigail G. Sisco, Ellie G. Smith, Phoebe N. Smith, Allie G. Stover, Austin J. Tabor, and Jacob R. Tabor.

Seniors graduating Magna Cum Laude with a GPA from 4.0 to 4.24 include Savanna J. Amos, Malinda L. Burgin, Chesney V. Cash, Connor D. Delaney, Trenton A. Duncan, Bailey I. Dyer, Conall M. Elkins, Bryce D. Elmore, Natalee M. Findley, Wyatt F. Grothe, Alyssa M. Harris, Sophia L. Johns, Peyton G. Lee, Jasmine A. Marshall, Hailee A. McDonald, Jackson D. Miller, Emma M. Slone, Isaac G. Smith, Michaela N. Smith, Jared T. Spicer, Ellie B. Strong, Graci B. Tatum, Alison D. Tollett, and Kara B. VonAchen.

Seniors graduating Cum Laude with a GPA from 3.75 to 3.99 include Graeson C. Bowles, Whitney M. Brown, Andrew J. Bryant, Kira N. Carr, Chloe I. Casteel, Kimberly J. Fuentes, Amy C. Gunderson, Katheryn E. Hammons, Alyssa B. Houston, Jorja A. Kirby, Alvin B. Lane, Jordan S. Manis, Preston I. Mayberry, Alexandra L. McDonough, Austin R. Munsey, Aidan L. Patton, Maddelyn G. Pollock, Kalaisha L. Ralphs, Joshua Z. Rice, Paige L. Roberts, Joshua L. Sherrill, Isabelle G. Smith, Lexi G. Smith, Tri Tran, Isabella K. Van Hoose, Karys K. Wilson, and Levi J. Wood.

Gary Nelson may be reached at