Bates, Patel top of the class among Straughn High School graduates

Published 9:15 am Saturday, June 3, 2023

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Straughn High School held graduation for the senior class of 2023 Friday, May 26, and was led by Carlin Bates as the valedictorian and Taj Patel as the salutatorian.

Bates is the daughter of Patty and Kyle Rountree. She has three sisters: Avery Bates, Alex Rountree, and Presley Bates.

Patel is the son of Neil and Binita Patel. He has a brother, Dhilan Patel.

Bates and Patel attended Straughn for 13 years and were happy to represent their class.

“I am very proud to represent my class as this year’s Straughn High School valedictorian. The class of 2023 is full of hard-working people who deserve good representation, and I hope I can do it,” Bates said.

“It means a lot to represent Straughn High School as the salutatorian. It brings me great significance and pride and also brings a sense of validation and validation for my academic abilities,” Patel said.

They have elected to pursue future careers in the medical field.

“I plan to attend Auburn University and major in Biomedical Sciences. I chose this major because it is the pre-med track at Auburn. I want to follow in my mom’s footsteps and join the medical field with the goal of ultimately becoming a doctor. War Eagle,” Bates stated.

“I plan to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I want to major in Neuroscience and Italian with a minor in Chemistry. I chose these fields because they’re interesting to me. I’ve always found the brain fascinating and have always found the Italian culture to be beautiful,” Patel said.

The two took pride in being Tigers and embraced the cultures and traditions at Straughn.

“The most enjoyable part of attending Straughn is how every day is different. I truly felt like I had a unique high school experience. I will really miss how supportive the teachers are. Straughn has amazing teachers who try to prepare everyone for the future,” Bates said.

“My favorite part of high school was probably when I led the student section. I will miss the inclusiveness of everyone the most,” Patel added.

Their experiences in school and childhood have prepared them for the real world.

“I am the most excited for independence. I will be able to take classes I want to take,” Bates said.

“Growing up has allowed me to be able to think and make decisions for myself. I know the repercussions that occur will be due to my decisions. I would like to thank my family for helping and supporting me throughout my high school career,” Patel said.

Both said they would be going strong in medical school in the next five to 10 years.