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Valedictorians: EHHS, HHS, NHHS, WHHS, Early College

From left, on ground, are Heather Pinkston of Early College, Elina Misiyuk of West Henderson High School and Kathryn Thomas of Hendersonville High School, on wall, Zachary Garrett of North Henderson and Brianna LaRue of East Henderson. From left, on ground, are Heather Pinkston of Early College, Elina Misiyuk of West Henderson High School and Kathryn Thomas of Hendersonville High School, on wall, Zachary Garrett of North Henderson and Brianna LaRue of East Henderson.

EAST HENDERSON HIGH SCHOOL

 

Brianna LaRue

 

Parents: Eric LaRue and Angie LaRue

Leadership roles in sports, academics, civic clubs:

Color guard captain and soloist
Winter guard soloist
Sketchbook Club Leader

What are your plans after high school?


I’ll be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

What do you plan to major in?

I plan to major in biomedical engineering.

What career would you like to pursue?

I definitely want to go into the medical field, hopefully doing research or working as a surgeon.

ValsSmilesWhat is your proudest achievement in your high school career?

My proudest achievement in high school has been my growth in art. I’ve taken AP Studio Art two times (Drawing and 2-D Design). I used to focus solely on creating realistic art, but since taking AP Studio Art my art has really grown in to have a unique style and represent who I am. This year I received two gold keys, two silver keys, and two honorable mentions in the WNC Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, so it really paid off!

You obviously excelled as a student. What advice would you give an incoming freshman at your school on how to be disciplined about studying, reading, major projects like term papers and book reports, and test taking?

I think the best thing you can do is to realize that everyone excels at different things. Do your personal best and don’t beat yourself up if school just isn’t your thing.

 

Anything else people should know about you?

Ironically, the attention from being valedictorian makes me a little uncomfortable, even though that was exactly what I thought I wanted as an underclassmen. I had this idea that I would prove myself through my class rank, and I made myself really miserable as a result. When I think about my high school experience, I’m proud of my artwork, the time I’ve dedicated to serving others, and the friends that I’ve made, not my class rank or GPA.

 

HENDERSONVILLE HIGH SCHOOL

Kathryn Thomas

 

Parents: Ann and David Thomas

Leadership roles in sports, academics, civic clubs:


● Founder and President, Global Lens Club
● Gold Award Girl Scout
● President, National Honor Society
● Student Leader, First United Methodist Church Youth Group
● Senior Leader, Keywanettes
● Co-Chair, Henderson County United Way Youth Council
● Treasurer, Spanish Club
● Clarinet Section Leader, HHS Band Program
● Youth Representative, First United Methodist Church Board Leadership Team
● Student Leader and Tutor, HHS Math Help Center
● Student Tutor, HHS Writing Center


ValsYayWhat are your plans after high school?

I will be attending Duke University.


What do you plan to major in?


I plan to double major in Political Science and Public Policy.


What career would you like to pursue?

 

I hope to work in the field of International Relations and Policy Analysis, potentially for organizations such as the State Department or UN Women.


What is your proudest achievement in your high school career?

My proudest achievement in my high school career was creating the Global Lens Club. The curriculum of Global Lens is built around the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In meetings we discuss the global and local implications of the SDGs and then participate in service projects to help solve the global problems on a local level. This club has been more successful than I could have ever imagined and I am so excited to see what the new leadership team accomplishes!

You obviously excelled as a student. What advice would you give an incoming freshman at your school on how to be a good student?

My biggest piece of advice is to stay organized! It sounds simple, but creating an organizational system and keeping an up-to-date planner that works for you will be your saving grace! As for major projects, it is all about time management. My personal advice is to break the project down into manageable parts. This will help keep you on track and avoid cramming a huge project all into one night.


NORTH HENDERSON HIGH SCHOOL
Zachary Garrett

Parents/guardians: Marc and Sandra Garrett

Leadership roles in sports, academics, civic clubs:


Trombone baritone leader of marching band, GSA President.

What are your plans after high school?


Louisiana State University.

What do you plan to major in?


Music Performance.

What career would you like to pursue?

Music performance in a brass or military band.

What is your proudest achievement in your high school career?

Senior and junior year qualified to audition for all-state band on euphonium.

 

You obviously excelled as a student. What advice would you give an incoming freshman at your school on how to be a good student?

Don’t hold off until the last minute. Easier said than done. When you have the chance to do something, you should probably get it done.

 

WEST HENDERSON HIGH SCHOOL

Elina Misiyuk

 

Parents: Pavel and Yelena Misiyuk

Leadership roles in sports, academics, civic clubs:

Made County, District and State honors band, pianist/choir member at church, assistant teacher for Russian school program at church, event photographer at church, leader of instrument ensemble group at church.

What are your plans after high school?
UNCA.

What do you plan to major in?


Accounting, minor in music.

What career would you like to pursue?
Certified public accountant.

What is your proudest achievement in your high school career?

Completing 1½-year choir conducting program through a Ukrainian academy with 60 people from neighboring states, which covered music theory and conducting.
(Very out of the box and out of her comfort zone, but good for the experience.)

 

You obviously excelled as a student. What advice would you give an incoming freshman at your school on how to be a good student?
Start a planner, find people to hold you accountable because it’s a good pressure.You shouldn’t be in your comfort zone.

 

EARLY COLLEGE
Heather Pinkston


Parents: John and Jennifer Pinkston

 

Leadership roles in sports, academics, civic clubs:
I have taken part in various clubs, such as Key Club, Science Olympiad and Art Club.
What are your plans after high school?

I plan on going to Warren Wilson College directly after high school.

What do you plan to major in?
I hope to major in either Environmental Studies or Biology.

What career would you like to pursue?
I am working towards being an Environmental Scientist, most likely something with Botany.
What is your proudest achievement in your high school career?

As a freshman, I never expected to do so well with volunteering, but I surprised myself by not only sticking with the same place to volunteer (Carl Sandburg Home) but also racking up more than a total of 200 hours.

You obviously excelled as a student. What advice would you give an incoming freshman at your school on how to be a good student?

Classes seem to be so much easier when you focus on assignments one at a time, and you really spend the time to fully understand the material you are expected to learn. Also, it may be difficult, but give yourself enough time to complete everything expected of you without cutting the deadline close.

Anything else people should know about you?

Despite being Valedictorian, I always made sure to not get carried away in my school work. My hobbies, art being a major one, helped me through high school and make up a big part of who I am.


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Interviews were conducted by Elise Trexler, a senior at West Henderson High School, and Gracie Milner, a junior at Hendersonville High School.