Griggs, Wilkinson named PHS valedictorian, salutatorian

Published 9:15 am Saturday, May 27, 2023

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Pleasant Home School held its graduation ceremony for the senior class of 2023 Thursday night, which was led by Courtney Griggs as the valedictorian and Joel Wilkinson as the salutatorian.

Griggs is the daughter of James and April Griggs. She has three siblings, Annie, Shawn, and Mathew Griggs.

Wilkinson is the son of Barry and Laura Wilkinson. He has a sister, Hannah Grace Wilkinson.

Both were honored to lead their graduating class and felt it was very special.

“Being able to represent the Pleasant Home School Class of 2023 as valedictorian means so much to me. I have worked so hard to achieve this, but it was not easy. We have all been very competitive for this position, and it shows the true drive and persistence of the class of 2023. Being valedictorian shows me that all of my hard work and dedication from the last four years has paid off. It is validation to me that when I set my mind to achieving something, I can do it,” Griggs said.

“It means a lot to me. There are a lot of very talented and gifted individuals in my class. Many of them had just as good of a chance of getting salutatorian as I did. Being able to represent my class with people of that caliber in it is a true honor,” Wilkinson added.

The two will remain close to home for now before moving away for their fields.

“I plan to attend Lurleen B. Wallace Community College to finish up my general studies. I will then transfer to Troy University to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. I have known from a very young age that I wanted to be a teacher. I was strongly impacted by my elementary teachers growing up, and I want to give that same impact back to young minds inside a classroom,” Griggs stated.

“I plan to attend LBW for two years and then transfer to Auburn University to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I chose this field because I’ve always been good at math. I had a fascination with problem solving, loved building things, and always had a fascination with robotics,” Wilkinson said.

According to both of them, Pleasant Home School was a home away from home with people who made it an exciting atmosphere.

“The most enjoyable part about being a student at PHS would definitely have to be how open and caring each of the teachers is. They truly care for you inside and outside of the classroom. I really think I will miss the home feeling of being at Pleasant Home. I have been here for the last 13 years, and the people inside have seen me grow up,” Griggs said.

“Being at Pleasant Home allowed me to meet a bunch of different and interesting people. I became friends with them and made memories with those people that will last a lifetime,” Wilkinson said.

For Griggs, the most exciting part about the real world will be taking her own direction.

“For the last 13 years, I have had my path laid out for me. This is my chance to work hard and make my life what I want it to be. I get to decide what my future holds, and I think that’s the most exciting part of it all. I want to thank my parents for every bit of encouragement they have given me all throughout school. They have been my rock, and I would not have gotten this far without them. Thank you to my teachers who have given me the tools and knowledge that I have needed to get this far,” she said.

Wilkinson wants to let the chips fall where they may and lean on his faith. “I’m looking forward to experiencing new things and seeing where God will take my life,” he said.

Both are hopeful of starting a family and working in their select careers down the road.

“In the next five to 10 years, I see myself teaching an elementary class at an amazing school. My classroom will be colorful and uniquely decorated just the way I want. I also plan to go to grad school after I have been teaching for a few years. I also see myself married to my fiancé with maybe a couple of kids,” Griggs stated. “I hope to be in a stable and well-paying job that I enjoy with a sweet wife and kids,” Wilkinson said.

The two graduates closed with a tribute to their alma mater.

“Isaiah 40:31 says, ‘To those who trust in the Lord will find new strength, and they will soar high on wings like eagles,’” Wilkinson said. “Once you’re an Eagle, you’re always an Eagle,” Griggs added.