Mary Brown and Sheyenne Mitchell have been named the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of the North Hopkins eighth grade class.
Brown earned the top slot with a 96.0384 grade point average. Her parents are Raymond Brown, who has been involved in medical supplies and equipment business since he was 18, and Donna Brown, a teacher at North Hopkins Independent School District. She is also the sister of Raymond William Brown, who after graduating this week plans to go to Tarleton State University to study to become a landscape artist; he already works tending the school and other lawns.
She’s attended North Hopkins Independent School District since pre-kindergarten.
“I can’t get in trouble at school,” Brown laments. “They’ll tell my mom. She teaches math for nine to 12.”
The valedictorian was involved in both athletic activities as well as academic and extracurricular pursuits.
She was a setter on the school volleyball team in both seventh and eighth grades.
Brown was a member of the Junior Beta Club, participating in various community service projects as well as competitions.
In academic UIL, she was part of the first place calculator team and competed in science this year. She also competed in UIl in sixth and seventh grades, and said she is “interested in probably doing it in high school too.”
Her advise for success is to “really try. Give it all you have to make it.”
Brown’s outside interests include music. She has been receiving piano lessons from a Texas A&M University-Commerce piano student since the beginning of the school year and had a recital in December.
“I like to play music and want to learn to play different instruments. My brother plays guitar. I like violin for the noise it makes and the cello. I play most things. I read music and listen to it by ear,” Brown said, noting she listens to rock and pop mostly and includes Demi Lovato among her favorites. “I’ll maybe pursue it later. I just do it for fun.”
Brown also loves animals and is passionate about saving endangered animals.
“I don’t like the fact that they get murdered so much. I want to stop it,” she explained, added that her focus is mainly tigers and lions.
She said she’d also own a zoo if she could. She’s visited a couple of zoos, going on field trips in third and fourth grade, and even spending the night at the zoo once with Girl Scouts.
Brown extends thanks to teacher Lynda Williams, the family and consumer science teacher who also conducts a career investigations class. She said Williams was tough, but “cool.” Students learn in her classroom, which goes more in depth than just paperwork; it includes discussion too.
“We did a lot of activities. Some of the stuff was fun. I learned about a lot of different careers that were fun, like anthropology — the study of humans.
Brown also offers thanks to her grandparents, who she calls Nana and Popa and Grandma and Grandpa.
“They always support me. I get to go places with them and they always give me stuff. I went with them to see my cousin Josh at the Air Force Base in Italy,” she said, admitting a fancy for travel.
Brown said she especially enjoyed Venice and Florence, although the latter she found to be really crowded. The pizza she found to be “amazing” and, although not actually Italian, the manicotti was “really good too.”
She also enjoyed meeting the people her cousin was stationed with on the AF base, noting them to be “all kind of funny.” Interesting to her was the fact that the military facility was set up much like in the United States, with a separate school for children stationed there with their families, but that another more European custom was followed in all the businesses — an evening siesta when businesses are closed. She found it odd not being able to run to the store or a restaurant in the afternoon for a snack. The mountains she found “pretty” and even had fun trying to ski.
Brown’s also been on trips with her mom as they go to different states for national Beta conventions, and even enjoyed traveling once to the Kentucky derby to enjoy the “pretty” horses.
“I want to travel. I like seeing other places,” the valedictorian said.
She said in her spare time she also enjoys spending time with her family and friends Kaylynn Allen, Cheyanne Cockrum, Hannah Stephens, Hannah Miles, Sidney Bold, Victoria Wilburn and Shealey Wills.
Mitchell earned the salutatorian slot with a 95.7692 GPA. She is the daughter of Stephanie Mitchell, area owner of 1st Choice Home Health Care, and Warren Mitchell, a Greenville narcotics police officer. She is also the younger sister of 23-year-old college graduate and teacher Ashley Deaton and older sister of 11-year-old Wyatt Mitchell. She too has attended school at North Hopkins ISD since pre-kindergarten.
She played on the A team in softball, was captain of the basketball and volleyball teams this year. She was also was on the school cross country and track teams. In basketball, the team earned third place honors. She made First Team All-District in Softball. In cross country, she came in third and made All-District. In track, she ran the mile and 1.5 miles and competed in the long jump. She finished fourth in the mile twice, fifth once, came in fifth twice in the 1.5 mile, sixth in long jump and made all District- three times.
“I like being included in all sports,” the salutatorian noted. “I like sports. I like basketball, and play center and wing and post. In volleyball, I’m a front row hitter. In softball, I’m a pitcher and cover first base. I’ve loved playing since I was little. I’m also on a travel softball team. We travel to tournaments.”
Mitchell also competed in academic UIL competition, earning first place honors in creative writing and fifth in impromptu speaking. In seventh grade, she earned first in dictionary skills, second in ready writing and fifth in spelling.
She’s also a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and serves as president of the Junior Beta Club. She’s helped with a canned food drive to benefit local people in need and has sold cold drinks and cups to raise funds to go to the Beta convention. In fact, their recycled art car came in third at state and is advancing to nationals in Alabama in July. She noted that the high school students can attend the state convention just by signing up, but at the junior high level students have to win state to move up.
Mitchell offers special thanks to coaches Garrett Todd and Larry Tucker for her successes in junior high.
“My parents have been supportive, taking me everywhere for 10 year, since T-ball. My dad is a police officer in Greenville, he works in narcotics. I like listening to his stories. There’s a lot into it than most think. I love spending time with dad. Mom has been a good support. Dad made me learn something besides basketball. Coach Todd and Coach Tucker have really pushed me to do my best the last two years, helping me do better. They made me a better athlete altogether,” she said.
In fact, she said she’s seriously considering becoming a coach or teacher. She enjoys art, theater and speaking.
Mitchell got a taste of theater as part of the school’s One Act Play cast and crew which earned first place honors at district competition.
The salutatorian’s advice to other students hoping to reach success, whether academic, athletic or in other areas of life, is to know your self worth.
“Don’t ever call yourself stupid. If you try to be really smart, you can. Don’t underestimate yourself,” she advises.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her friends Sydney McQueen, Allyiah French, Kimber Winchester, Victoria Wilburn and Shealey Wells.
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