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Home News-Telegram News Megan Rucker, Taylor Gifford named valedictorian, salutatorian at Cumby High School

Megan Rucker, Taylor Gifford named valedictorian, salutatorian at Cumby High School

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Cumby High School announced Megan Rucker as the valedictorian and Taylor Gifford as salutatorian of the 2013 Senior Class.

Rucker, who began attending Cumby Independent School District in kindergarten, said she and Gifford have gone to school together since Gifford transferred to Cumby in fourth grade. The two have engaged in a friendly battle for the top spot in the class for a number of years.

 “We worked really hard, me and Taylor. We battled it out, but toward the end, I think we knew,” Rucker said, noting that through the year, it could have gone either way. 

The valedictorian admits that reaching the top spot wasn’t necessarily easy. 

“I’m not good at tests, but doing it so many times, it become easier,” she explained.

She credits her parents, Mary Stanhouse and Dax Rucker, for her successes.

“My parents pushed me to do my best and are supportive,” Rucker said.

Her advice to other students trying to achieve academic success is to “try to develop good study habits. That will really get you through.”

Salutatorian Taylor Gifford, too, credits her parents, Lee Gifford and Donnie Gifford, for much of her success academically. She noted having a mom who teaches at the school ensures she knows what’s expected of her daughter in classes, then makes sure she gets everything done. Her dad is supportive in making sure her financial needs are met.

“He pays for everything,” Gifford laughs.

Gifford’s advice for other students hoping to do well in high school is “don’t procrastinate on homework.” 

Both Rucker and Gifford have been involved in various school activities and have served in leadership positions.

Rucker has served as Beta Club and class secretary, as well as yearbook editor. Gifford served as class vice president.

With the Beta Club, Rucker has had the opportunity to participate in various community service activities, including  Pennies For Patients and Bears on Patrol. 

Both of the top students participated in sports.

Rucker played volleyball her freshman year.

Gifford has been more active in sports. She was a mid-blocker on the school volleyball team and made it to the regional track meet in pole vault. This is also her third year to make it to state in powerlifting.

Each also was involved in University Interscholastic League academic competitions. Both competed in math UIL. Rucker also competed in headline writing while Gifford has been on the One Act Play crew for four years. 

Both were also involved in Relay For Life.

Rucker was part of the school’s Relay For Life team for one year.

“It was fun, a cool experience. It rained the year I went, but was fun still,” she lamented with a smile. 

“I enjoyed getting together,” Rucker added, noting her participation was to help a good cause, but she has been fortunate that no one in her immediate circle of family has died from or suffered from cancer.

Gifford’s involvement in RFL, however, is very personal and has been ongoing for several years. 

“I do Relay a lot. I do it for my aunt,” said the salutatorian, who served on the Hopkins County RFL Committee this year.

Rucker was been accepted into the honors college at Texas A&M University-Commerce, where she plans to major in math with the goal of becoming a math teacher.  

“This year, I tutored math in the library after school. I like doing it,” she said.

Gifford said her decision to double major in engineering and math at Texas A&M University was made after she heard an engineer speak about the field recently. She hopes to become a construction engineer, designing roads. She has been awarded an Academic Excellence Scholarship from A&M to help her reach reach that goal.




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