Heather Anderson earned the valedictorian spot with a 4.7283 weighted grade point average. She is the daughter of Phillip and Sarah Anderson of Dike. She is the younger sister of Jeffery Anderson and Derek Anderson and the older sister of Luke Anderson.
Kaitlynn Hancock earned the salutatorian slot with her 4.6930 weighted GPA. She is the daughter of Lisa and Rodney Josey of Dike and Lee and Cristie Hancock of Big Spring, and has eight siblings — four brothers and four sisters.
Both Anderson and Hancock have attended classes at Sulphur Bluff Independent School District since elementary school. Anderson transferred in third grade from Peerless school, while Anderson admits her move from Tennessee to Sulphur Bluff ISD in Texas in fifth grade was quite drastic.
“It was a pretty big adjustment,” Hancock admitted. “They were a kindergarten through sixth grade school with 600 [students]. Here, K through 12th is only like 200.”
Anderson said she was a little surprised to learn she is year’s valedictorian. When they finished junior high, Hancock was first in the class and she was second, so she figured it would likely be the same for high school.
Hancock just shook her head and said she’s not surprised at all; their GPAs have always been very close.
Both girls have been involved in various activities both at SBISD and the community during their high school years.
Both girls were members of Beta Club, participating in such community service activities as Coke tab drives to raise funds for charity. Anderson said she gave blood during one of the drives hosted at the school. Hancock was one of only two SBHS seniors recognized Friday by Carter BloodCare as part of their Red Cord Honors program. Seniors are given red cords to wear during graduation if they donate blood twice during a school year, recognizing their contribution and commitment to help save others’ lives through blood donations.
Hancock and Anderson also made the A Honor Roll and were involved in Future Farmers of America, with which they learned about and demonstrated such tasks as repairing dry wall as a member of the skills team. Anderson also raised chickens one year with FFA.
Each also competed in academic UIL. Anderson also competed in social studies and headline writing categories, finishing fifth in social studies her second year of competition. Hancock competed for one year in news writing.
Both have taken numerous dual credit courses, earning both high school and college credit simultaneously. Hancock has taken every dual credit course offered at SBISD, and Anderson has taken all except trigonometry.
Hancock also contributed to the school’s athletic successes the last few years. She played in whatever position she was needed in basketball and softball, and did hurdles and was on the relay team in track. The last few years, the basketball team has been to the district and bidistrict playoffs. In track, her team made it to region her freshman year and almost to finals at one time. She was awarded the Cap Herman Award this year. She indicated she will likely remain active in athletic activities through intramural sports.
The salutatorian also a was selected to be on the Alliance Bank Junior Advisory Board, where she learned more about the industry as a whole from insurance to how different banks operated, and many topics in between.
Anderson was also member of and participated in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America for one year and admits that in her spare time she likes to play drums — something she wanted to learn, so she bought the percussion instrument and tried to teach herself to play, then took some lessons.
Both Anderson and Hancock indicated they like watching movies in their free time.
Anderson, an admitted comics fan, is excited to see the new Superman movie. She admits that her favorite of the Superman films and television shows was the first season of the “New Adventures of Lois and Clark.” Her favorite movie, however, is “Gone with the Wind,” which is also her favorite book in her favorite reading genre –?historical fiction. She’s especially partial to Clark Gable movies, and finds “It Happened One Night” especially funny. And, noted she even once had a fish named Rhett.
Hancock, in what little free time she has, enjoys watching most any kind of movie, although she’s not too crazy about science fiction — things like Star Wars. She likes too many to pick a favorite or even a favorite type of movie, but does enjoy laughing at comedies.
Also outside of school, Anderson has been involved with Theta Rho Girls Club, a division of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for girls ages 8 to 21 for eight years, and even served as a state officer. Her involvement has allowed her to travel to various locations including New York, Canada and Gettysburg. Participants were based on papers written about the locale. These young women also have opportunities to apply for scholarships through the organization by writing essays. She was awarded a $2,000 Marcus E. Drake Memorial Fellowship Friday from the Grand Lodge International Order of Odd Fellows of Texas. She said she has also been notified she will receive another Oddfellows scholarship for more than $200.
Anderson said she plans to use the funding to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas, a program which will allow her to pursue her dream of becoming a pastry chef. The last 12 weeks of the program are spent working at a business. The best of the best from the group are recruited to work in some of the best pastry chefs’ kitchens across the country. She hopes to be recruited by Disney to work at their Florida Disneyland.
“I want to be a pastry chef,” Anderson gushes. “I’m excited. It’s only 21-months. I can be done before my brother (Luke) graduates high school. ... I enjoy cooking desserts. My great-grandmother used to make lemon meringue pie. She had a stroke and couldn’t do it. ... I figured ‘How hard can it be?’ It was fun. It’s what I want to do for a living.”
Anderson already makes some pastries on request for friends or family, but admits she doesn’t generally charge for doing it.
Ultimately, Anderson would one day in the distant future like to have her own bakery. But, after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, she’s quite happy to go wherever job opportunities present themselves, to gain experience and build her reputation in the kitchen.
In fact, she enjoys traveling, and in additional to her various trips with the IOOF Theta Rho Girls Club, often travels with her grandparents, Jack and Mary Emma Anderson.
“My grandparents take me places with them,” Anderson said, noting the many tropical cruises she’s taken with them, including to the Caiman Islands. She has numerous Hard Rock Cafe pins she’s picked up, a visual recollection of her travels.
The valedictorian says those travels have helped her to become more cultured and to develop an appreciation for “Old School” music such as the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey, which they play in the car along the way.
Right now, however, she’s employed at Taco Bell. She has been employed there since October 2011, when she started out working the window. Since then, she’s performed various tasks, and currently helps to make the food and sometimes even fills in washing dishes.
Her advice to other students looking to be successful is to “focus on doing what you want to do. Don’t take classes and join clubs that are what others want to do. Do what you want to do.”
Hancock is leaning toward Tarleton State University to begin pursuing her career goals; she will have a couple of friends going there. She plans to pursue a career in nursing, particularly as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. (That physiology and anatomy class she earned the highest grade in the class for could prove a useful stepping stone toward that pursuit.)
“I knew I wanted to be in a health career. My sister is a nurse. My mom was talking to someone one day who was a CRNA and I thought that sounds interesting,” Hancock said.
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