Friday night will mark a new chapter in the lives of 95 students at Clinton County High School as commencement begins around 7 p.m.
This year, three students hold the top spots as the Class of 2013’s Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and Historian.
Kiley Hoppe, this year’s Valedictorian, is the daughter of Melissa and Rick Tallent. She finished with a 4.165 gpa.
Troy Butler, this year’s Salutatorian, is the son of Donna and David Butler. He finished with a 4.106 gpa.
The Historian is Ryan Beard, son of Lisa and Mike Beard. Beard finished with a gpa of 4.089
Being top in her class has been something Hoppe has worked for during the past four years.
“It’s very important to me. It’s something I’ve worked for my whole high school career,” Hoppe said. “I started thinking about it even as a freshman. I’m very blessed to realize my goal.”
Butler said now he has reached his goal, it is very satisfying to be in the top three of the Class of 2013.
“Ever since freshman year, I decided being in the top three was a goal I had,” Butler said. “When we did computer assessments where you had to set your goals, I set my goal as being in the top three of my class.”
Beard said being in the top three wasn’t necessarily a goal for him, but he always put forth the effort and it has paid off.
“I just always tried my best and here I am,” Beard said.
After Friday night’s ceremony, Hoppe, Butler and Beard will be alumni of Clinton County High School and all three plan on attending college next semester and continuing their education.
Hoppe plans on attending Tennessee Tech and double majoring in Early Childhood Education and English.
“I hope to be a pre-school or kindergarten teacher,” Hoppe said.
Butler will be attending Lindsey Wilson College and plans on majoring in Biology with a Chemistry minor. After undergraduate school, he plans on attending pharmacy school to become a pharmacist.
Beard’s next adventure in academics will move him west where he will attend Western Kentucky University to become a physical therapist.
All three students agreed to working hard during the past four years, and all three said they had help along the way.
“Anytime I was feeling discouraged or really upset about my classes, my mother helped me,” Hoppe said. “She encouraged me and told me I could do it. She is that way in everything … not just school.”
Butler also mentioned his mother Donna as a being a key influence on his school work.
“I can always go talk to her if I was having problems or if I was having a really bad day,” Butler said. “She was always there to give me support and tell me to do my homework and just keeping me on task.”
Beard said his father, Mike, pushed him throughout his career at Clinton County High School.
“He always pushed me in basketball and academics both,” Beard said. “He was probably the stickler for grades. He just wanted me to do the best I could.”
Not only did Hoppe, Butler and Beard excel in academics, all three also participated in extra curricular activities that took up time after school.
“Sometimes it was really hard if I had practice or a game after school,” Hoppe said. “I was just fortunate enough to make it work. There was a lot of late nights or doing stuff during other classes at school.”
Hoppe was a member of the varsity cheerleading squad during her freshman year, as well as the tennis team her sophomore and junior years.
“I was always really active in the KYA Club as well. That was my favorite and sometimes you had to put in a lot of long hours for that,” Hoppe said. “I ran for state office last year and that took up a lot of time.”
Butler was a member of the band during his four years of high school.
“That takes up a lot of time, especially during basketball season when we had to play at Ryan’s games,” Butler said. “We do a lot of stuff in band. I always found time somewhere during the day to do my homework.”
Beard has been a member of the Bulldogs’ basketball team for the past four years and from October until March, he said his schedule was hectic.
“Basketball takes up a lot of time obviously,” Beard said. “We had practice everyday after school, on Sundays, sometimes on Saturdays, and we have games, so you can’t procrastinate a lot or you will fall behind.”
As this year comes to a close, a new crop of freshmen will roam the halls next school year at Clinton County High School. Hoppe, Butler and Beard all agreed the next four years of their high school career will go by fast and not to take if for granted.
“It flies by and the next thing you know you are a senior having to make tough life decisions,” Hoppe said.
Hoppe’s advice to upcoming freshmen was to not stress as much as she did the past four years. Butler said “What you do in high school is important, but not life changing. You should try your hardest, but if you mess up, it’s not the end of the world.”
“I’m sure it goes by quicker when you get out of high school, but the past four years have goneby quick,” Beard said. “Enjoy it and at the end of high school, you can realize it’s just the beginning.”
All three of this year’s top students said they will miss their friends the most after high school is over.
“I will miss the camaraderie. I know there will be some people I won’t see again after high school,” Hoppe said. “I will miss my classmates and having those close relationships with them, as a well as my teachers.”
Butler agreed with Hoppe about missing his classmates, but he said the atmosphere will be something he misses the most.
“We’ve been here for four years, and transition to a new place will be different,” Butler said.
Beard said he will miss his teammates most of all.
“I’ve spent more time with them than anybody else in high school,” Beard said.
Moving on at the age of high school seniors is more or less a right of passage for their future.
Hoppe said she is excited about what the future has in store for her. “I can’t believe I’m this old,” Hoppe said.
“This year has flown by and the fact that I’m graduating Friday is hard to believe,” Butler added.
“I think it’s time that we’ve grown up,” Beard said. “We are fixing to get into the real world.”