Eastman didn’t expect to be sal
Dallas Eastman, the unsuspecting Florala High School salutatorian, said he never expected to earn the title.
“I mean I worked really hard to be one of the top students, but I never predicted this,” he said.
Eastman said it’s never been a competition between him and Morgan Jackson, the valedictorian of the class.
“That girl is smart,” he said. “She beat me out in every subject.
“I really couldn’t keep up with her.”
But beyond being surprised, Eastman said he’s happy that he got it.
“I’m pretty excited,” he said.
Eastman says he felt inspired by his teacher, Mrs. Hope Hinson.
“Mrs. Hinson teaches English, and she’s really helped me throughout everything I’ve done, especially with reports and things I was struggling with,” he said.
He said his foster parents, Gerry and Jimmy Kimbril, also helped push him to success.
“They’re my mentors,” Eastman said. “They really helped me with a lot of behavior issues I had growing up.
“They taught me how to be respectful, how to pick my battles and control my anger.”
For those who aspire to be a top student, Eastman said to work for it.
“Just remember that everything matters,” he said. “Everything you do in school does pay off. Study and work hard because all of it will matter later on.”
High school is just the beginning, Eastman said.
“I’m definitely going to miss seeing all my friends, and I know that everyone will part ways, whether it’s the military, college or working,” he said. “This is the beginning of the rest of our lives.”
Outside of school, Eastman enjoys playing basketball, hanging out with friends and video games.
After graduating, he plans to enlist in the Alabama Army National Guard as a combat medic.
“I chose to be a combat medic because I’ve always wanted to be a registered nurse, and I think this could give me a good idea of if I like the medical field or not,” he said.
When he returns from training, Eastman said he will go to Lurleen B. Wallace Community College for two years.