Hunter, McFall, Zheng are Top Three

Posted May 18, 2017 at 11:09 am

McFall, Zachary.psd

Hunter, Matthew.psd

Friday, May 19, the 100th graduating class of Clinton County High School will walk across the stage in Lindle Castle Gymnasium and move from students to alumni in a matter of seconds.

This year’s graduating class is the largest in school history with 130 students receiving their diplomas and of those 130 students, three sit at the top, in a complete three-way tie for the top grade point average with a 4.224490.

Frank Zheng, Zack McFall and Matthew Hunter have all spent the last four years working toward this goal … to be one of the top students in their class. All three finished with the same GPA as of the final week of classes.

During the past four years, Zheng, McFall and Hunter all agreed it was a difficult road to endure, but well worth it now that they have reached their goal.

“There are a lot of bus rides spent working on homework. A lot of late nights. It’s a hard decision to make taking these classes with sports,” McFall said.

Other than being one of the top scholars in his class, McFall also spent a lot of time on the soccer field in the fall, working on the academic team during the winter and on the tennis court during the spring.

“It takes a lot of time, but it’s worth it in the end,” McFall said. “It’s good to have to take your mind off everything. You have school to take your mind off sports and sports to take your mind of school. It was very important. I’ve always enjoyed academics and sports equally.”

“Without sports it would have been a lot more stressful,” McFall said. “I think I would have enjoyed the entirety of high school a lot less if it had not been for sports.”

McFall said during his eighth grade year he wanted to be in the top of the class.

“I knew it was going to be hard to,” McFall said. “I tried to prepare myself in middle school. I would try to tell myself that you’re not going to want to do this work, but you’re going to have to if you want to achieve this goal. For the most part it’s worked out well.”

During the course of his high school career, McFall said there were several people who were there for him and helped him along the way.

“Mrs. Erin Casada and all the sports coaches I’ve had … Greg Cummings, Dee Soma, and my family,” McFall said.

A person doesn’t get to the point of where this year’s top three have ended up without learning a few things along the way.

McFall said his advise to incoming freshmen would be to not be afraid to take the hard classes.

“You might not enjoy them while you’re taking them, but in the end, it really does help you,” McFall said. “Don’t be afraid to take on academics and sports at the same time.”

McFall will attend Lindsey Wilson in the fall on a tennis scholarship he signed last month. He said he wants to be an educator.

“I plan on getting a double major in math and history education,” McFall said. “Growing up in the school system and seeing all the important things you can do being a part of the school system … it’s just an environment I want to be a part of.”

McFall is the son of Micky and Sharon McFall.

Matthew Hunter, the son of Mitchell and Kathy Hunter, is also at the top spot in the Class of 2017 and he said there is a tremendous amount of work to get to where he finds himself now.

“There is a huge amount of work ethic involved as well as a lot of studying. You have to push yourself to do well in class,” Hunter said. “I had a strong relationship, on the religious side, with God, and He helped me push myself to a further limit than what I had originally expected for myself.”

Hunter said one thing that pushed him was his older brother.

“It was put on my mind at an early age with my brother finishing second in his class,” Hunter said. “There is always going to be a sibling rivalry there. I had to set my mind to push myself a little farther than most.”

Hunter said along his way through high school he had help from his mother, who is a teacher within the Clinton County School system.

“She always made sure I had my school work done and checked on my work and Mr. Lucas Dalton always answered my questions anytime I asked,” Hunter said. “Even if I didn’t have him as a teacher, he would still help me out in any way he could.”

Hunter is thankful he had the people in his life who have pushed him to get to where he is now.

“It’s a good feeling, but it’s really not going to stick with you once you get to college,” Hunter said. “You’re still going to have to push yourself even harder, but it does make you feel like you have accomplished something and make your family proud.”

Hunter, like McFall, will attend Lindsey Wilson on a tennis scholarship in the fall.

He said he is going into mathematics, but hasn’t decided on a career path as of yet.

“I either want to go into education, kind of the family business there, or accounting,” Hunter said. “It’s still all up in the air though. I’m a little bit nervous, but I think I’ve made the right choice on where I’m going to college. It’s a great campus. It’s small and it’s pretty much like Albany, by the way it feels and everything.”

Hunter’s advice to incoming freshmen is not to worry so much while you’re in high school.

“Don’t worry like I did,” Hunter said. “It will just hurt you in the long run. Be sure to ask questions. The teachers here are good and they will help you … push yourself and learn.”

Hunter said the one thing he will miss the most will be the teachers.

“I’ve known most of the them all my life so it’s going to be hard losing that bond,” Hunter said.

Frank Zheng is the son of Wen Juan Chen and Yao Zheng and is also at the top of the class with a 4.224490 GPA.

Zheng said it was a difficult road getting to where he is now and he had to juggle a lot of things along the way as well.

“Trying to balance everything including extracurricular activities is kind difficult,” Zheng said. “Especially with work and school stuff. Sometimes you have to give up some things in order to get other things done.”

Zheng said when he was growing up his mother always told him to do good in school.

“I was kind of just doing what she told me to do,” Zheng said. “I had to give up playing tennis to work at the restaurant and it was kind of hard.”

Over the course of his four years of high school, Zheng said there were several people who influenced him.

“Mrs. Melissa Tallent helped me a lot. There were a lot of things that she did to develop me into the person I am today and she helped me in class as well,” Zheng said.

Zheng said he was also apart of the Thanksgiving Meal and that took a lot of time for him as well.

“I also want to thank Mrs. Holly Claborn. She is my FBLA advisor and I want to thank her for everything she has done,” Zheng said. “I’m also a member of the FCCLA and Beta.”

Zheng said he is looking forward to the next step in his academic career.

“I’m actually the first one in my family to graduate high school and attend college, so I’m really excited about going to college,” Zheng said. “Even though I’m kind of like I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Zheng said he will be attending Western Kentucky University in the fall and will become a business data analyst.

“I’ll be analyzing data and it will be used to advise businesses,” Zheng said.

During the course of Zheng’s high school career, he said there were things he learned in his extracurricular activities that you can’t learn in a classroom and he will forever be grateful for those experiences.

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