ROCKSPRINGS — Nicholas McConnell and Tresiliana Smith will address the Meigs High School Class of 2021 as the Valedictorian and Salutatorian, respectively, during Friday evening’s commencement and graduation ceremony.
McConnell is the son of Paul and Linda McConnell of the Rocksprings area. The family moved from Alaska to Meigs County at the beginning of Nicholas’ freshman year.
The valedictorian has been appointed to the United States Air Force Academy where he plans to become an aeronautical engineer and a pilot for the Air Force.
Smith, of Middleport, is the daughter of Joseph Smith and Racquel and Charles Miller.
The salutatorian plans to attend the University of Kentucky to study political science pre-law with the goal of working for a district attorney’s office.
While at Meigs High School, McConnell has participated in Boys State, National Honor Society (Vice President), class treasurer for one year, archery, band and track.
While at Meigs High School, Smith has participated in student council, been the class president for three years, served as the National Honor Society President, and taken part in band, Buckeye Girls State, and the internship program.
For McConnell, the focus was on the Air Force Academy, with being at the top of the class happening on its own because of that goal.
McConnell explained that he always wanted to be in aviation, and that after seeing a family friend whose sons had went through the academy it was something he knew he wanted to do. He will be reporting there before June 24 this summer.
Smith said that being at the top of the class was always a goal she worked toward in high school.
Asked what he will remember most about his four years at Meigs High School, McConnell said it will be the people.
“I have learned a lot in high school and you remember the people that help you to learn it,” said McConnell.
For Smith, it is Spanish class which she will remember the most.
“I love the teacher and classmates; we have a great time and laugh,” said Smith. “(Mrs. José) helped me a lot with school applications and looked over my essays (for applications). She has had a big impact on my high school career.”
McConnell said he would encourage younger students to keep chasing their goals.
“Don’t quit trying; never be afraid to fail; always keep at it,” said McConnell.
“I would tell them to always follow their dreams no matter how many time they may change. Don’t follow someone else’s dream. You only find happiness in doing what you want to do,” said Smith.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.