AHS val, sal headed to state’s top universities

Published 12:05 am Friday, May 22, 2015

Andalusia High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian may be going to the state’s top universities, but will take with them a good sense of hard work and a desire to learn new things.

Valedictorian Ashley Spears

Valedictorian Ashley Spears

Valedictorian Ashley Nicole Spears said achieving academic success has always been important to her.

“I also enjoy learning new things, so school never felt like work to me,” Spears said.

Salutatorian Brayden Burkhardt said his parents have always told him to do his best in everything that he does.

In fact, Burkhardt said it was his parents and coaches who have pushed him the farthest.

“They have all pushed me to greater things than I ever thought I could do,” Burkhardt said.

Salutatorian Brayden Burkhardt

Salutatorian Brayden Burkhardt

Spears said she’s always been self-motivated, and her family has always supported her.

Spears will graduate tonight with a 4.48 grade point average (GPA), while Burkhardt finished with a 4.45.

After graduation, Spears will attend the University of Alabama to pursue a degree in chemistry, and eventually hopes to attend medical school. Spears earned a National Merit Scholarship to UA.

Burkhardt plans to attend Auburn University. Burkhardt received the Spirit of Auburn Founders Scholarship, which is full tuition for four years.

While at AHS, both participated in a slew of activities.

Spears was the copy editor of the yearbook; president and treasurer of Usher Club; and was a member of the Student Government Association, National Honor Society and Key Club. Additionally, she was in the theatre production of “Murder by Accident,” and attended the Hardin Youth Leadership Forum and the University of Alabama Rural Health Scholars program.

Burkhardt played varsity football and baseball, where he was named permanent team captain and had the highest academic average in both; was in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; was vice president of the senior class; a summa cum laude honors graduate; was in the National Honor Society; had the highest average in economics; was the winner of the Mike Andress Award; and was named Class of 2015 Most Dependable. Additionally, he was involved in Peer Helpers and the SGA.

Burkhardt is the son of Bob and Shan Burkhardt of Andalusia.

Spears is the daughter of Dale and Laura Spears of Andalusia.