Tillman, Ballard pace Opp Class of 2024

Published 1:00 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2024

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Opp High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian for the Class of 2024 were Amberly Tillman and Colby Ballard, respectively.

Both graduates were glad to represent their senior class with these academic honors.

“My class is full of a lot of great students that have worked very hard for four years and earned many achievements. I am especially honored to be the valedictorian of such a remarkable group of classmates,” Tillman said.

“I am proud I can be an example to show that when you work hard and stay committed to whatever you do, you will get the results you desire,” Ballard said.

Tillman plans to attend Auburn University in the fall and major in Organismal Biology with a goal to apply to Auburn’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

“I have always heard if you do what you love every day, then it will not seem like a ‘job.’ From a very young age, I have loved animals and imagined being able to help them. Ultimately, my dream is to become a veterinarian,” she said.

Ballard plans to attend Troy University in the fall and major in Environmental Science.

“I enjoy the outdoors and would like to learn more about preserving and protecting our environment,” he said.

The two named those they were friends with and sports as the most enjoyable parts of their time at OHS.

“The friendships I have had have been the most enjoyable part about being a student at Opp High School. Opp is a small school, and most of us have been together for many years and have many fun memories together,” Tillman said.

“I enjoyed playing football, baseball, and basketball with the teammates that I grew up with,” Ballard said.

While Tillman and Ballard were glad to graduate, they named aspects of OHS they would not forget.

“I will miss the involvement I have had in the extracurricular activities I participated in during high school. I gained many special friendships and made many great memories through these activities. It will be hard to leave the past of Opp High School behind,” Tillman said.

“I will miss the fellowships I made with my friends, coaches, and teachers,” Ballard said.

Both are ready to tackle the real world and see what lies ahead in the future.

“I am looking forward to proving to myself that I can be independent and successful with the goals I have set for myself. Because I anticipate my college coursework to take at least eight years, in five to 10 years, I will be focusing on finishing my education and training. I will still be working towards becoming a vet and will hopefully be married and thinking of starting a family,” Tillman said.

“I am looking forward to starting a new routine, having a stable job, and accepting new responsibilities. I plan to apply at PowerSouth. My hopes are to get a job that allows me to use my environmental knowledge and skills to the fullest potential,” Ballard said.

Amberly is the daughter of Chris and LaShon Tillman. She has an older brother, Connor Tillman, and an older sister, Avery Tillman. Colby is the son of Brock and Carla Ballard with an older brother, Lane Ballard.