Shining Moments at Best of Class

Tony spent Monday rubbing elbows with the brightest academic seniors in the region. One group of brash and opinionated Buckeyes caught his attention.


New Friends at Best of Class
You might say this year’s 28th annual WSAZ Best of the Class celebration sponsored by Buckeye Hills Career Center featured something old, something new. You see I spent lunch with the senior valedictorians from Oak Hill High, new acquaintances for sure!
While I had never met these 6 dynamic young ladies and man (5 to 1 ratio) personally, we actually knew of each other quite well!
Let me explain.
Every year it has become a tradition for the gang at WSAZ to hop a ride on the Oak Hill Seniors float in the Apple Festival school parade in Jackson Ohio. Carrie Cline, Rob Johnson, Josh Fitzpatrick, John Marra and I travel to Appletown to report and enjoy the mid week parade. Well, several years ago I decided to jump on the Oak Hill seniors float as they passed the WSAZ booth.
Sure enough the seniors loved it and that spur of the moment “kid reaction” in me turned into a WSAZ tradition.
So for roughly one minute every year, we WSAZers go back to those care-free days of high school as we ride the Oak Hill float for a two block stretch down Main Street in Jackson. Given we are on the float for a minute tops, there really is no formal introduction. We are just float crashers who pass in the day!
It was a natural then for me to take time to get to know this six pack of bright academic stars that gathered at the Huntington Museum of Art on Monday. With more than 200 invitees from schools around the Tri-state area, I guess you would say it was destiny that made me choose the Oaks!
Since there were 6 valedictorians all tied for the best of the school, the first question I asked of the gang was who is the smartest of the bunch? You see in my day, there was just one valedictorian, the smartest of the class. But nowadays with cumulative averages in the 4.3 range (hey whatever happened to the day when 4.0 was the best?), it is not unusual for some schools to have multiple top academic dogs!
While there was no consensus, Breanna Butler seemed to get the most votes as the sharpest tack in the Oak Hill hallways. A basketball star on the Oaks girls team, Breanna is bound for Wheeling-Jesuit on a basketball scholarship where she will study Biology with an emphasis in Physical Therapy.
The busiest Oak Hill valedictorian you ask? That would easily be Rachael Arrowood who boasts a career high of 30 thousand text message in a month! “Sometimes, there is nothing else to do at school”, Rachael said sheepishly! Rachael will be walking the scenic University of  Rio Grande campus next fall.
Heather Wells may be the most outspoken of the lot. When asked what course she found the hardest, she chimed in Mr. Homa’s “3rd period government class”. Added Lakin Caudill, “government can be boring, but Mr. H makes it bearable”. 
Of course, I was on a mission today when I arrived. I was scouting out future Ohio State students for tickets to the Horseshoe for the next 4 falls. Bingo, as Jessica Taylor is headed for Columbus in September with a career in medicine in mind! Funny but I failed to tell her I would be cheering for my beloved Nittany Lions when they come to Columbus in 2013 and 2015. No sweat since she will be studying no doubt for her MCATS when the Buckeyes take to the Horseshoe. 
Oh yeah, among this bevy of smart beauties, Dirk Dempsey is the lone male and a WSAZ veteran. A member of 4H and FFA in Jackson County, Dirk has been showing animals at the county fair since he was a kid. Now he is outspoken about the need for Jackson to have funding for the 4H and FFA programs. “Right now we have to do our own fund raising to support our clubs.” Dirk was raised on the farm and will be a Buckeye in the fall majoring in Animal Science. I sense a quality vet in the making!
Turns out this is a busy 4 weeks for the seniors as they cram for finals, get ready for prom this Saturday and the class trip the week after. Washington DC will be there destination and a trip to Six Flags Amusement Park to ride the roller coasters is part of the itinerary!
A memorable day for sure thanks to the Oak Hill High validictorians!
Congrats to all for 4 years of academic excellence.
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