Courson, Helms top of the class among Opp High School graduates

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, May 31, 2023

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Opp High School held graduation for the senior class of 2023 Thursday, May 25, and was led by Caroline Courson as the valedictorian and John Helms as the salutatorian.

Courson is the daughter of Ben and Elizabeth Courson and granddaughter of Grady Lanier. She has a sister, Anna Kate Courson, and a brother, Cale Courson.

Helms is the son of Joe and Bonni Helms. He has a brother, Sam Helms.

Both felt rewarded for the recognition after giving a lot of time and effort in school.

“Representing my senior class as valedictorian means that hard work will pay off in the end. I set this goal for myself when I was in elementary school, but I have not always been sure it would come true. Even when I felt unmotivated, I continued to do my best in all aspects of my school work,” Courson said.

“I take great pride in representing my class as salutatorian because it is an honor I have worked hard for many years. I put a lot into Opp High School and my studies. To receive this kind of feedback is just a blessing,” Helms stated.

They have chosen to pursue fields based on what they have enjoyed while growing up.

“I will start college at Auburn University in the fall, and I am majoring in Poultry Science. I chose this field because I have my own chickens that I have raised. I wanted to choose something that would take me towards my next goal: vet school,” Courson said.

“I plan to attend the University of South Alabama and major in Electrical Engineering. I have worked hard in the Opp City Schools IT department for the past two years. I started to enjoy the physical side of technology when I began,” Helms said.

As graduates of Opp, they were happy to be part of their school family and community.

“The most enjoyable part about being a student at my high school is having a town that cheers you on along with your school,” Courson said. “I was able to build close relationships with my fellow students and teachers. Go Bobcats,” Helms added.

Although their time as Bobcats has ended, the two will treasure the memories they made as they transition into life as adults.

“The thing I will miss the most about being a student at Opp High School is being able to play softball with my best friends. I am looking forward to making friends from different areas as I move forward in the real world. I would like to thank all of the individuals who have gone out of their way to help me succeed. Those people are family, friends, teachers, and church family who have poured into my life,” Courson said.

“I will miss the familiar atmosphere of being in a place that is so close to home. I am looking forward to starting my own future, designated to building a firm foundation to support the rest of my life,” Helms stated.

The future is bright for each with dreams and aspirations hopefully coming in place by the next several years.

“In the next five to 10 years, I see myself as a student or graduate of vet school. Hopefully, I will be married and able to start a family soon, too,” Courson said. “I would like to be working for a company or have my own in my field. I hope to be a godly husband and father as well,” Helms said.