Best friends earn top honors

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, May 24, 2011

FHS salutatorian Jessica Linzy and valedictorian Dana Martin are among the county’s top students. | Kendra Bolling/Star-News

It was a neck-and-neck race for Florala’s valedictorian and salutatorian, Dana Martin and Jessica Linzy, with only .66 of a point separate the pair’s GPAs.

And the two best friends said they wouldn’t have had it any other way.

When Linzy arrived in Florala in the sixth grade, Martin was the second person she met.

Add to that a hefty dose of competitiveness, and their’s is a friendship that’s only gotten strong over the years, for it.

“We’ve always been competitive,” Martin said. “It’s a friendly competition, but it’s still competition, though.”

Martin, who is the daughter of Janet Burleson, is the Beta Club representative, Mu Alpha Theta president and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

Martin jokingly said she’s always been “smart.”

“Or at least that’s what I’ve been told,” she said. “I really enjoy school. Sports weren’t my thing. I’m a really big nerd. I read a lot, which is what I think got me to where I am.”

When she’s not “being smart” and takes the time to pull her nose out of a book, Martin said she can be found hanging out with friends.

After graduation, she said she plans to attend Enterprise-Ozark Community College for two years, where “hopefully, I can make up my mind about what to major in,” Martin said.

As for Linzy – the Beta Club president, French club member, SGA rep for Mu Alpha Theta, Future Farmers of America and F-Club member, varsity softball player and captain of the drum line for the last three years – well, she has her plan mapped out.

“I’m headed to Belhaven University in Jackson, Miss.,” Linzy said. “I’m going to major in sports medicine, and I plan to be a physical therapist.”

Thanks to numerous scholarships, Linzy’s goal is well within her reach.

“It’s bittersweet,” Linzy said. “Being salutatorian is a big moment. My goal was to rank in the top two of my class. I wanted to be the first person in my family to do it. And I did it.”

Linzy is the daughter of Sandy Williford and Trevor Linzy.