• Valedictorians / Salutatorians 

    We’re very proud of the hard work and dedication shown by our valedictorians and salutatorians, and thankful for the teachers, families and school employees who helped them along the way. 

    To honor their achievements, we asked these students to:

    • Share their plans after high school;
    • Highlight a teacher or staff member who made a difference in their life; and
    • Answer an icebreaker question: If you could be an animal for one day, which one would you choose? 

     

    Congratulations to our valedictorians and salutatorians!

 

Anndrena Downs

Austin-East Magnet High
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Attend Tennessee State University and major in biology. After that, I plan to attend Meharry Dental School.

The most influential teacher to me.

Ms. Gill. She guided me while starting my journey at Austin-East and always gave me someone to talk to.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A tiger, because they are cute and fierce.

Anndrena Downs

 

Sydney Allen

Austin-East Magnet High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Attend North Carolina A&T University majoring in Bioengineering with a minor in Theatre, and then attend Meharry Medical College.

The most influential teacher to me.

Sarah Edge and Laura Thompson, because they inspired me to look beyond the classroom.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A turtle, so I could take in the world slowly.

Sydney Allen

 

Baylor Johnson

Bearden High
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Attend the University of Tennessee-Knoxville for Nursing, as a part of the Honors and Scholars program. After this, I hope to work in travel nursing to gain experience and hopefully go back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner.

The most influential teacher to me.

Guidance counselor Brian Tanner assisted me with my schedule, day-to-day problems, and anything else I could possibly need at Bearden. He helped guide me in choosing the right classes for myself and always wanted the best for me in everything I did. I am beyond grateful for everything he has done for me throughout my time at Bearden. Other teachers that truly made a difference throughout my education would be: Lauren Sanderson, Sandy Hughes, and Michelle Hanks.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A bear, because ever since I was little my family had the nickname 'Baylor Bear' for me and slowly it has made me realize how quickly I am growing up, from this childhood name that I once knew and loved so much into a young woman with the characteristics of a bear. I hope to embody this name by being fierce and brave about the future and everything to come.

Baylor Johnson

 

Sally Pendergrass

Bearden High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Attend college and major in political science. I aspire to travel the world and enter an occupation that positively impacts people and our environment.

The most influential teacher to me.

Mrs. Kelley, my second-grade teacher. I had recently moved to Knoxville when I entered second grade, and her uplifting attitude made the transition less intimidating. Mrs. Kelley noticed my love for learning and always encouraged me to keep exploring -- a sentiment that I carry with me ten years later.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A dolphin, because I am fascinated by marine life and would enjoy cruising around the ocean all day. Dolphins are intelligent, friendly, and fun-loving, traveling in pods and exploring places where my human lungs and legs cannot take me.

Sally Pendergrass

 

Kyndall Collins

Career Magnet Academy
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Continue my college career but only after a summer break of just hanging out with my friends.

The most influential teacher to me.

There are way too many teachers to name that have made me a better person over these four years, but without my guidance counselor I would never have figured out how far I can push myself and be successful.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A blobfish, just to be able to say that I was a blobfish for a day.

Kyndall Collins

 

Leeann Martin

Career Magnet Academy
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Attend MTSU and study forensics.

The most influential teacher to me.

My math teacher Mrs.Crowe. Without her, I probably would have failed math.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A sea slug, I don't really have a reason other than just liking them.

Leeann Martin

 

Chloe Borst

Carter High
Co-Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

To go into Austin Peay State University's Radiology Program that concentrates on Nuclear Medicine. In my fourth year at Austin Peay, I will do a clinical internship at Vanderbilt's Medical Center.

The most influential teacher to me.

My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Hurd, made a difference in my life. She helped me improve at a young age to get me where I am right now. She taught me how to become confident with who I am and that it's okay to struggle. I will never forget the time she helped me work on my reading and handwriting. Without her, I would not be where I am today. I became stronger throughout the years because of her encouragement.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A pterodactyl, so I could go back in time and see the world at a different period.

Chloe Borst

 

John Purkey

Carter High
Co-Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Attend the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and major in Pre-Med.

The most influential teacher to me.

Ms. Atchley, because she taught me to love math and always believed in me in the classroom and on the tennis courts.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A monkey, so I could see the world from the tree tops and swing freely amongst the trees.

John Purkey

 

Brylea Cardwell

Carter High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Attend the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and major in Pre-Professional Law. I will ultimately attend law school and become an attorney.

The most influential teacher to me.

Mrs. Brock was my AP language teacher for the second half of the semester after our original teacher left on maternity leave. Mrs. Brock had never taught AP language before this class, and an outsider would have never been able to tell. She spent her own time outside of school researching the best way to teach us and best prepare us for the AP language exam. This resoluteness to succeed is something I especially admired.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A bird, so that I could see the world from another viewpoint. This would broaden my appreciation for the scenery in my area.

Brylea Cardwell

 

Ella Blair

Central High
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Attend a four-year institution to study history and journalism.

The most influential teacher to me.

Mrs. Christie Jones has made a profound difference in my life and high school career. She is considerate, supportive, and truly a wonderful teacher. I am so grateful for our time working on the yearbook together.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A macaw. Even though I’m afraid of heights, I would love the opportunity to fly around and see the world from a different perspective. Hopefully, I would also get the macaw’s innate sense of direction, as I might have a hard time navigating the sky without a GPS.

Ella Blair

 

Marie Essary

Central High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Go to UTK and follow a pre-med track while working as an advanced EMT. My end goal is to be an emergency medical doctor.

The most influential teacher to me.

Multiple staff and teachers at Central impacted me, but Andrea Turner changed my life in an unforgettable way. I am eternally grateful to be able to experience her love and compassion. She is an incredible educator and an even more incredible human being.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A cat in the house of a rich, single, elderly woman. Working hard is excellent, but I truly just want a day of napping peacefully and being fed on command.

Marie Essary

 

Raymond Jin

Farragut High
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Go to a four-year university somewhere in the U.S. After that, I plan on obtaining a Ph.D., although I am not completely sure what subject it would be in. Beyond that, I currently would like to become a university professor, but I'm open to doing something else if life takes me in a different direction.

The most influential teacher to me.

All of my teachers have made a difference in my life. They have all supported me throughout high school, whether it be academically or otherwise, and they have all helped me become the person I am now. I would also like to give recognition to all the wonderful school counselors that I have had a chance to work with. They made many parts of high school, like signing up for classes or applying to colleges, much less stressful than they would have otherwise been.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A peregrine falcon. As this bird of prey, I'd be able to soar through the skies, viewing the land from far above. Not only could I take in the landscape around me from this vantage point, but I could also see minute details on the ground below.

Raymond Jin

 

Alice Tang

Farragut High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Right after? Hibernate for two weeks to catch up on lost sleep. The details are still up in the air for me, but all I know is I'll be off to college in the fall and majoring in engineering or computer science.

The most influential teacher to me.

There are a lot of teachers that have made a difference in my life, each inspiring my love to learn. But two I want to especially thank are my Physics teacher Mr. Milligan and my State Mu Alpha Theta sponsor Dr. Bothman. Mr. Milligan pushes me to think more and in different ways, fueling my curiosity and passion for problem-solving. Dr. Bothman inspires me to be a better leader, she supported me through running a whole math convention and seemed to have a solution to every problem.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A seagull, so I could see the world from above, hang around the beach, and travel wherever I like. Also aggressively steal everyone's food.

Alice Tang

 

Janiyah Moore

Fulton High
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Attend a 4-year HBCU and major in Biology with a minor in Child/Maternal Health. I plan to attend medical school to become an OBGYN after earning my bachelor's degree.

The most influential teacher to me.

The teachers who made a difference in my life are Alexis Dale (Honors Chemistry) and Brandon O'Neill (AP US History). They both pushed me to my limit and showed me what I'm capable of. They both allowed me to let my guard down and took the time to get to know me personally. This created a safe space for me at school and reminded me that teachers really do care and are available to talk about real-life things.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

An African elephant, because they are very smart, loving, fun, and they help people.

Janiyah Moore

 

Jahneulie Weste

Fulton High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Attend the University of Tennessee-Knoxville as a Haslam Scholar and pursue a master's degree in computer science with an entrepreneurship minor.

The most influential teacher to me.

While I have been blessed with plenty of great teachers, Mrs. Melody Hawkins made a lasting impression on me in the 8th grade. She was the first Black woman in STEM that I crossed paths with, and she inspired me to explore new opportunities.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A panda because they get to sleep and eat all day, and that sounds like a relaxing day. Plus, they are adorable.

Jahneulie Weste

 

Lydia Adkins

Gibbs High
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where I will be pursuing my Bachelor's in History at the College of Arts and Sciences. I then hope to continue my education with a Dual Masters in Business Law, by working towards my JD-MBA.

The most influential teacher to me.

Many teachers have made a difference, and two that stand out would be Coach Conley and Madame Davis. Coach Conley taught my freshman year AP Human Geography class and I have jumped at the chance to take any of his classes since. He taught me the value of hard work and perseverance in every aspect of life. Madame Davis, my French teacher, has also been a constant presence in my life for the last five years. She has taught me there is always time for the most valuable life lessons.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

My personal cat Merlin, because he lives such a life of luxury. I provide his every whim, and that seems like an ideal situation.

Lydia Adkins

 

Madison Morgan

Gibbs High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Attend ETSU in the fall, as I have received guaranteed acceptance into their nursing school.

The most influential teacher to me.

Dr. Cynthia Lynn has made the biggest impact on my life. I have had three of her classes at Gibbs, but her CNA class is what changed everything for me. I went into this class wanting to go to medical school one day, but she sparked a desire for nursing in me and allowed me to explore all the possibilities that can stream from this career. I can never thank her enough!

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A great white shark. I’ve always wanted to explore the ocean and coral reefs, so why not do it as one of the biggest predators on earth.

Madison Morgan

 

Colby Cardwell

Halls High
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Attend the University of Tennessee and major in biology with a pre-med concentration.

The most influential teacher to me.

Mrs. Neely inspired me to go into the medical field after high school. She is always cheering me on and pushing me to succeed in whatever I may do. She is always positive and her passion for the medical field has accentuated my love for it. She is always willing to find opportunities to get involved in whatever aspirations you may have. Her love for all her students shines brightly every day by how compassionate and caring she is. She is the best teacher, HOSA advisor and overall best person.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

An elephant. Elephants are intelligent and have an amazing memory. They are also loyal and family-oriented, which describes me. Elephants also have "never give up" personalities. This personality is one I believe I have and one I aspire to keep having. They are the world's largest land animal, which I find to be very enticing. Elephants are leaders of their domain, so it would be cool to rule.

Colby Cardwell

 

Kinley Whittington

Halls High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Go to either Charleston Southern University or the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and major in Kinesiology. I hope one day to be an orthodontist.

The most influential teacher to me.

Mrs. Williams made the biggest difference in my life because I felt that she always wanted the best for me and provided emotional support when needed.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A shark, because they are so cool, can swim far and fast, and are on the top of the food chain pretty much. Plus, they are my favorite animal!!

Kinley Whittington

 

Emily Haugh

Hardin Valley Academy
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Go to college to major in Biomedical engineering. I hope to one day do medical research.

The most influential teacher to me.

I had a science teacher named Mrs. Manning in middle school, she probably had the biggest impact on my life, as she was the teacher that finally got me sorted into more challenging science classes.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A goldfish. This might be an odd reason, but my sister told me that fish don't have the mental capacity to know they exist and are fish. So I would just be a fish for a day, and not know it, until I woke up the next day and went 'Oh, so I was a fish.' For some reason, that sounds really fun to me. It'd be like a prank on myself.

Emily Haugh

 

Iris Li

Hardin Valley Academy
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

I plan to major in aerospace engineering, but I haven't decided on the college yet.

The most influential teacher to me.

Mrs. Walker. She was my computer teacher in 6th grade, but more importantly, she was the mentor of TSA. It was the first club that I had ever joined, and it was because of her that I had the confidence to jump into leadership positions. I'm forever grateful to have had her as the first taste of what it means to be proud of an organization.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

An albatross. I want to see what it is like to fly across the sea and into the sky.

Iris Li

 

Emily Seibel

Karns High
Co-Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Attend Freed-Hardeman University to pursue a degree/major in Mathematics and a minor in Spanish. After 4 years of undergrad, I'll go on to grad school to earn a PhD in Mathematics, hopefully attaining a teaching position at the college level soon after.

The most influential teacher to me.

I couldn't decide between Mrs. LaPointe and Mrs. Cook. Both are kind, caring, student advocates who have not only a passion for teaching, but a passion for learning.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A panther. I'm so clumsy that it would be cool to be an animal that not only pairs grace and extreme athleticism, but hunts with stealth. I would also be living in the rainforest, and overall, it would just be a really cool experience (they are also perceived as mysterious and dangerously beautiful, and it would be interesting to embody that for a day.)

Emily Seibel

 

Jeanne Seibel

Karns High
Co-Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

I want to become a physical therapist. I'm going to attend college at Freed-Hardeman University and then go to PT school.

The most influential teacher to me.

Mrs. LaPointe and Mrs. Cook. They both have been so kind and supportive in so many ways. They both really care about each student and would always be willing to work with them. They are so understanding, and I am so grateful to have had them as teachers.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A squirrel. They move around everywhere and just look like their lives are so exciting. They don't do anything slowly and are so fun and cute to watch.

Jeanne Seibel

 

Caleb Jarreau

Karns High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Attend a 4-year university and go into the medical field.

The most influential teacher to me.

Jacob Neblett. "Neb" is one of my favorite teachers and has always helped me. He wants the best for all his students. Karns would not be the same without him.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A hawk. I'd like to fly around and see everything from a bird's-eye view, literally!

Caleb Jarreau

 

Morgan Dawson

KCS Virtual High
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Start at Pellissippi State in the Fall of 2022. I want to get my basic, transferable classes taken care of using the TN Promise, while I decide what career path I want to take.

The most influential teacher to me.

The teacher that really affected me most was Ms. Burnette at Karns. She was my Computer Applications teacher my freshman year and she was such a kind teacher, always there to help and willing to go above and beyond for her students.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

An Arctic Fox. Foxes are nocturnal animals, curious and like cold areas, which I love.

Morgan Dawson

 

Katelyn Braden

KCS Virtual High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Go to college and pursue a veterinary degree.

The most influential teacher to me.

Mrs. Braeuner

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

I would choose to be a liger. It's pretty much my favorite animal.

Katelyn Braden

 

Cristine Chen

L&N STEM Academy
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Go to college and major in something in the STEM field (probably biological science.)

The most influential teacher to me.

All of the teachers I have had made a difference in my life. I believe in the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child.” For example, my U.S. history teacher, Mr. Griffin, encouraged me to enter into history competitions. My biology teacher, Mr. Hawkins, sustained my interest in the life sciences. My computer science teacher, Mrs. Bakaletz, supported my various endeavors in different fields of technology. However, these are just a few examples from a long list.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A penguin, because they are very cool. There are a lot of things I can learn from being a penguin. For example, I could go tobogganing and swim underwater.

Cristine Chen

 

Max Harper

L&N STEM Academy
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Go to college for jazz guitar.

The most influential teacher to me.

Mr. Gibson, the band director my freshman year. Being taken seriously by a teacher and feeling a sense of mutual respect had a big impact on me and afforded me many opportunities. He also introduced me to music that greatly influenced my approach to making art.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A rat to see where I could skitter around and cause mischief.

Max Harper

 

Reagan Radocesky

Powell High
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Attend either Washington and Lee University, Vanderbilt, or UTK. I want to major in Pre-medicine with a minor in Political Science in order to become an infectious disease physician. My dream is to work in the CDC or WHO.

The most influential teacher to me.

I had Mrs. Holt, my Latin teacher, for three years and I have had some of my favorite memories in her classes. She showed me how to find what we learned in class in what I see and experience in the real world. Also, she taught me not to be so serious all of the time. It is ok to have fun and also learn at the same time. However, her most lasting impact was her care. She took the time to know each of us individually and make sure that wwere all doing well. Mrs. Holt, I will always remember your c

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

If I could be any animal, it would be a hippo. Hippos are such unassuming and underestimated animals, so most animals do not take them seriously. However, they are some of the fiercest animals in the savannah. Also, I just think they are really cool!

Reagan Radocesky

 

Grant Trivette

Powell High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to major in Biochemical Engineering.

The most influential teacher to me.

A teacher that made a difference in my life is Mr. Thompson.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A falcon, because I would be able to see many places from an aerial view.

Grant Trivette

 

Ella Farmer

South-Doyle High
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Attend the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in the fall. Go Vols! I plan to study Political Science and English. My goal is to become an attorney. I am so excited for my next chapter!

The most influential teacher to me.

My French teacher, Madame Wheatley, made a huge impact on my life. She continually makes me smile and is always there for me. I had never felt special or seen in a class before I had her as a teacher. She helped me discover a passion for learning a new language, and I look forward to her class every single day. I will carry her kindness with me always.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

My Golden Retriever, Millie. She is very lazy and lives a very good life. If I got to be Millie for the day, I would get to take lots of naps on the couch and eat snacks all day long! That sounds like a pretty good life to me.

Ella Farmer

 

Sarah McDaniel

South-Doyle High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Finish my biology degree, attend medical school, and become a doctor in a specialized field where I can be of the most service to people in need.

The most influential teacher to me.

My seventh-grade math teacher, Mr. Trembley, had the biggest effect on me academically. He taught me to love math and showed me and my classmates how fun learning can be. To this day, I’m still grateful for his dedication to his job and how much he cared about us.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A bumble bee, simply because they are hardworking, gentle, and get to spend their days flying around meadows and napping in flowers, all the while doing the very important job of pollinating the earth.

Sarah McDaniel

 

Henry Dansereau

West High
Valedictorian

Plans after high school.

Go to college for premedical studies (chemistry or math) and then med school to become a doctor. The type of doctor I'd like to be is an anesthesiologist since I've been interested in being one since middle school.

The most influential teacher to me.

Mrs. Hill from Bearden Middle.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A falcon, because I'd like the chance to fly around at insanely high speeds in the open air.

Henry Dansereau

 

Grace Theriot

West High
Salutatorian

Plans after high school.

Attend a four-year university in the fall. I want to major in public policy and international relations on a pre-law track.

The most influential teacher to me.

The teacher that has made the biggest difference in my life is Paula Frankin, a West High School social studies teacher. Ms. Franklin has been a second-mother figure in my life and has always made me feel supported in all of my endeavors. She has helped me celebrate my biggest successes and has consoled me during some of my lowest moments. Her Global Politics class inspired me to want to pursue a career in policy and international relations, and her passion when teaching is infectious.

What animal would I choose to be for a day.

A bee. Like me, bees are very driven and task-oriented, and I would relish the ability to continue to live a structured life. Yet, as a bee, I would have the ability to fly around and see some of nature’s prettiest flowers, which sounds really amazing.

Grace Theriot