Head of the class

Published 12:26 am Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Andalusia High School senior D’Amber Chambers was named the valedictorian of the Class of 2009 at the school’s 22nd annual academic banquet Monday evening.

Chambers, the daughter of the late Monica Chambers, received the recognition of the highest grade point average in the senior class of approximately 100 students.

“I’ve wanted to be valedictorian ever since I arrived in the ninth grade,” she said. “My grandmother, Lela Bradley, has always been there for me. She’s given me that extra push and told me the truth when I needed to hear it, and I thank her for that.”

Chambers will attend the University of Alabama this fall, and hopes to later go to UAB medical school and pursue a career in the medical field.

Charlotte Patterson, the daughter of Jud and Lynne Patterson, was named the class’s salutatorian.

The speaker at the banquet was Ashley Baker, a 1974 graduate of AHS who currently is vice president of environmental projects and construction, with Southern Company. He is the brother of AHS science teacher Angie Sasser.

Baker offered advice to the Class of 2009 as they embark on the next step of their life journey.

“The reason I am able to work in a job that lets me do what I want to do is because I prepared myself,” he said. “You’re going to have to use continuing education to get to the point where you want to be.”

Baker offered students five suggestions as they head into college and the workforce. He said, don’t take yourself so seriously all the time, anchor yourself with a critical skill, manage yourself and not your career, don’t lose your critical thinking skills and learn to develop your communication skills.

“You’re not always going to be right all of the time, and that’s a hard lesson to learn,” he said. “Rather than worrying about how you’re going to get to a certain point in your career, instead just focus on enhancing your skills. And as you work on those skills, be sure to look for opportunities to articulate your ideas to other people.

“It’s important to know how to communicate; if you have the greatest ideas in the world but can’t convey them to anyone, then those ideas will go to waste.”

Chambers and Patterson each will graduate summa cum laude (GPA between 98.0 and 100.0), along with Stephen Darby. Seniors who will graduate magna cum laude (GPA between 93.0 and 97.9) are Mary Beth Arrington, Clara Bass, Christina Christensen, Heather Cross, Alyssa Johnson, Gillis Jones, Travis Kilpatrick, Jorge Marquez, Jay McCord, James Mo, Tyler Moody, Karlyn Pugh, Gabby Shiver, Reid Taylor, Tara Ward and Ellie Watson. Those who will graduate cum laude (GPA between 90.0 and 92.9) include Joshua Huggins, Christopher Kelly, Jeffrey Moore and Courtni Peavy. All honors graduates are also members of the National Honor Society.

The top 10 in the Class of 2010 were recognized at Monday’s banquet. They are: Amber Anderson, Les Boartfield, Tyler Campbell, Mitchell Clark, Anna DeSchepper, Kristen Finley, Nate Mack, Lauren Powell, Jake Ricardy and Jessica Smith.

All students who made the all-A honor roll for the fall 2008 semester were also honored at the banquet. They were: ninth grade — Hunter Albritton, Stephen Caton, Samantha Greene, Alexandra Hart, Ander Helms, Samantha Hill, Caitlin Hults, Will Jackson, Michael Kelley, C.P. Rogers, Catherine Grace Searcy, Meredith Tillman, Susannah Watson and Kathryn Williams; 10th grade — Alicia Johnson, Ava May, Vincent McNemar, Millard McWhorter, Aubri Morgan, Garrett Sasser, Grace Spears and Devin Williamson; 11th grade — Amber Anderson, Les Boartfield, Anna DeSchepper, Kristen Finley, Heather Miller, Lauren Powell and Amber Thomas; 12th grade — Mary Beth Arrington, Clara Bass, D’Amber Chambers, Casey Inman, Alyssa Johnson, Gillis Jones, Travis Kilpatrick, Jorge Marquez, Jay McCord, James Mo, Charlotte Patterson, Karlyn Pugh, Gabby Shiver, Tara Ward and Ellie Watson.