No competition, just encouragement

Published 1:05 am Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Opp val, sal challenged each other to do best

For Opp High School’s top two students, earning the grades to be honor graduates has never been a competition.

“I knew when he moved here in the third grade that I wouldn’t be valedictorian,” Jada Bess, the salutatorian joked.

“But it’s never been a competition for us, it’s always been encouraging each other.”

Ever since Bess has known Cody Davis, Opp’s valedictorian, they’ve been the best of friends.

“We’ve always wanted each other to do well,” Davis said.

“It’s always been pushing each other to do well.”

The two of them have done well, after all, both earning scholarships.

Bess earned scholarships to the University of Alabama for engineering, while Davis earned scholarships to Auburn University for pre-veterinary medicine.

Bess chose to study engineering because of her love for math.

“I really love math, I think that because of that I will really enjoy engineering,” she said.

Davis was inspired to do pre-veterinary medicine because of his mother.

“My mom is Dr. Cheryl Bailey, a vet here in Opp. It’s just something I’ve grown up around and I have a real passion for animals.”

When asked if they were surprised by their class rankings, there were two very different answers.

“I don’t want to say I wasn’t surprised, but this is something I’ve worked for and wanted since I was in kindergarten,” Davis said.

“Honestly, I was surprised,” Bess said.

“I feel like everyone works to be the top students but I didn’t expect to be salutatorian,” she said.

The two credit their success to great teachers and time management skills.

“My favorite teacher is Mrs. Denise Pierce,” Bess said.

“Yes, absolutely. She’s just someone you look up to,” Davis said.

Pierce has taught the two for three years.

“Really, it’s just her attitude and the way she teaches. I have so much respect for her,” Bess said.

For those that are incoming freshmen, the two have a lot to say.

“Be active in your school, join clubs, do sports and study for your ACT. Don’t be a person that goes home right after school,” Bess said.

“Put in effort and work and be self-disciplined. Paying attention helps a lot,” Davis said.

“Doing your homework and assignments can go a long with your grades,” Bess said.

“Anything that you’re recommended to do, do it,” Davis said.

As for what they’ll miss about high school, the list isn’t too long.

“I think I’ll miss the structure of high school,” Davis said.

“I’ll miss Mrs. Pierce, my friends and the partnership I’ve shared with Cody,” Bess said.

Bess is the daughter of two teachers and has two sisters. She enjoys spending time with her grandparents, mostly playing cards. Her hobbies are reading and watching Netflix.

Davis lives with his mother, father and twin brother. He enjoys reading, running and skiing.