Chen, Straughan will lead Pleasant Home’s Class of 2022

Published 7:30 am Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Pleasant Home School has announced Emily Lashay Chen as the senior class of 2022 valedictorian and Lexi Reyne Straughan as the salutatorian.

Chen is the daughter of Jackie and Nikki Chen with two siblings: Riley Chen and Melody Chen. Straughan is the daughter of Moy and Ashden Bougafa with three siblings: Rylee Straughan, Addilyn Bougafa, and Jaxton Bougafa.

“I feel very fortunate to be allowed the opportunity to represent my senior class as their valedictorian. It is a true honor and a privilege to do so, and I can only hope to live up to their high expectations. I strive to not disappoint any of them,” Chen said. “I am so excited I get the opportunity to represent my class as salutatorian. It means that all of my hard work and dedication has paid off with the help of my family and friends,” Straughan said.

Chen plans to attend Troy University for two years and then transfer to Auburn University. “I will be seeking a degree in Aerospace Engineering. I have spent what seems like the majority of my life staring at the sky, pointing at stars, and grinning like a fool at every plane that was in sight. I have always loved the idea of flight from kites, drones, and even bottle rockets. From the select few times I’ve been fortunate enough to fly, I felt like it was such a freeing experience I wish to share with others. With such, it seems fitting for me to pursue this career choice.”

Straughan plans to play volleyball for LBWCC under the guidance of Janie Wiggins and then transfer to Auburn University. “I would like to receive a Pharmaceutical degree. I have been working at Bailey’s Pharmacy for a few months now and love it. I would love to be able to have a part in helping people get better.”

This year’s valedictorian and salutatorian were both grateful to attend Pleasant Home School. They reflected on their high school careers as Eagles and said their futures were bright.

“I will have to give that honor to our amazing Ag class and super awesome Ag and FFA teacher, Mrs. Castleberry. It is a very hands-on class that has helped inspire my love for seeing things come together and has inspired my decision to go into the engineering aspect of my degree. I will sorely miss seeing so many familiar faces in the hallways. The majority of our school has been going there since pre-K or kindergarten, so it is not unusual for just about everyone to know you. I feel like it will be hard not seeing these faces almost every day,” Chen said.

“I would have to say sports was my favorite part of high school. The friendships I have made will last a lifetime. I loved being on the court and would do anything to play another game at Pleasant Home. I will miss how close everyone was at my school and the way you could talk to anyone because you knew him or her. I loved the teachers, coaches, and administrators there,” Straughan said.

The two seniors are taking different paths for the years to come. “I will be broadening my horizons and meeting others that share the same passions I do. Hopefully, I will be working at some place like Boeing, Lockheed, or even NASA. My end goal is to become a professor of aerospace engineering,” Chen said. “I am looking forward to becoming everything the Lord wants me to become. In the next five years, I see myself in pharmacy school. After that, I would like to come work at Bailey’s Pharmacy and take over when Mr. Jeff retires Lord willing,” Straughan said.

Pleasant Home School will hold the Class of 2022’s graduation ceremony Thursday, May 26 at 6 p.m.

“I wish all graduating seniors the best of luck in their future endeavors. May we all pursue our dreams,” Chen said. “I would like to thank my parents for pushing me to be the best I can be. My mom always wanted straight A’s, and that paid off. I would also like to thank my Aunt Jane, teachers, and coaches for helping me through my years of high school,” Straughan said.