RACINE — Valedictorian Marissa Brooker and Salutatorian Mallory Johnson will address the Southern High School Class of 2019 during the commencement and graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m.
For Brooker, graduation and the end of high school is a bittersweet time.
“I’ve grown up with my classmates, we’ve went to school together since kindergarten so were a really close,” said Brooker. “I will miss that next year.”
For Johnson it is her teammates and coaches from her extracurricular activities which she will miss about high school.
“I will miss a lot of the coaches, and the fun times hanging out with my teammates. I won’t have that kind of companionship in college,” said Johnson.
“Cross country taught me a lot about personal goals rather than trying to be first in the race,” said Johnson of the lessons learned outside the classroom.
Brooker said that graduating at the top of her class has been something she has had in mind since starting school, having taken all of the challenging classes she could along the way.
“Set goals for yourself. Give 100 percent effort in everything you do,” said Brooker, who set the goal for herself back in kindergarten.
Johnson reflected on the change that will come next year moving on to college.
“I will miss how the teachers knew our names, knew our strengths and weaknesses, and the personal connections,” said Johnson.
Asked about the advice they would give to the younger students coming behind them, Brooker said, “Competition is really just competing with your self to be your best self.”
Johnson added, “Grades are important, but they are not everything. Student Council, National Honor Society and sports have taught me many things that can’t be learned in the classroom.”
“It’s okay to not have the same interests as everyone else. It’s okay to be different and not care what everyone else thinks. That’s something I wish I knew earlier,” said Johnson.
Brooker and Johnson thanked all of those who have helped to make their school years a success, including the “teachers, staff, custodians, lunch ladies, bus drivers, everyone at Southern High School.”
Brooker is the daughter of Pete and Paula Brooker of Pomeroy. She plans to attend Ohio University to major in biological sciences.
Brooker is the recipient of the Franklin B Walter All Scholastic Award, Jewell Cutler Scholarship and the Todd Judy Ford Scholar Athlete Award. Her extracurricular activities include varsity volleyball, student council, National Honor Society, Science Olympias and she is a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Johnson is the daughter of Bruce and Elizabeth Johnson of Portland. She plans to attend Ohio University to major in chemical engineering with a minor in Spanish.
Johnson was the recipient of the Leadership Award for Track and Field in 2016, a Southern Local Academic Banquet honoree each year since 2010 and a four-time Meigs County Academic Banquet honoree. Johnson has been active in numerous extracurricular activities while in high school, including cross country, track and field, student council, National Honor Society, Carmel Sutton United Methodist Church, piano lessons and a delegate to the iBelieve Foundation.
The Southern Class of 2019 Awards will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 17, with graduation to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 25.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.