November 27, 2021

Co-valedictorians to share graduation stage at HCHS

(Franklin, GA) — Not one, but two Heard County High School seniors will lead the Class of 2018 across the stage at Staples Stadium next Friday night as both Kaylee Neighbors and Sara Wiggins have been named Co-Valedictorians for this years graduating class of 131 Braves.

Heard County High School Class of 2018 Co-valedictorians Kaylee Neighbors (L) and Sara Wiggins

According to Heard High Principal Brent Tisdale, the distinction of Valedictorian is awarded to the honor graduate with the highest cumulative average through all four years of high school.

Neighbors and Wiggins tied for this coveted spot with each earning a remarkable GPA of 99.429. Both girls have been dual-enrolled for three years with each already earning over 30 college credits.

“They are both amazing young ladies who are clearly intelligent, but what really stands out to me is how well-liked and personable they both are,” says Principal Tisdale. “Their parents should be commended for doing a remarkable job in raising them. We look forward to seeing what their future holds!”

Kaylee, age 18, has been involved in many extracurricular activities during her time at HHS including cheerleading, football film crew, The WarCry, the art program, and many other clubs and organizations.

“Ms. Neighbors has been a pleasure to work with because she’s always seeking perfection in her work,” said HCHS art teacher Mr. Clint Robinson. “Her attention to detail in everything she does is impressive and she is never one to step away from a challenge. The one thing I wish is that I would have had her in more of my classes.”

Kaylee has attended local schools since Pre-K with stops at Centralhatchee Elementary and Heard County Middle School before entering Heard High.

She says her family has been instrumental in her education from the beginning.

“Throughout school, there have been many teachers that led me to be where I am now, but I could not have done it without the support of my family,” says Kaylee. “Their encouragement and support motivated me to put in the extra effort. “

Kaylee Brooke Neighbors

When asked what advice she would give to younger children wanting to earn the valedictorian accolade she says setting a goal is most important.

“The best advice I would give to a child wanting to be valedictorian someday would be to set this as your goal, stick to it, and never give up,” adds Kaylee.

Neighbors hopes to return to the Heard County School system some day and follow in the footsteps of her mom, Tara Neighbors, a teacher at Heard Elementary.

“After graduation, I plan to attend the University of West Georgia and obtain a Bachelor of Science in Education degree, then obtain a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology. After that, I hope to work in a school system — preferably the Heard County School System — as a speech pathologist,” says Neighbors.

Sara Wiggins has been involved in both spirit and high-level competition cheerleading as well as multiple other clubs during her high school years. She will attend the University of Georgia where she will major in biology and cheer between the hedges for the Bulldogs as a member of the sideline cheer squad.

Like Kaylee, Sara has also attended Heard County schools since Pre-K where both her parents, Ken and Angela Wiggins, are currently educators. Sara hopes to eventually enroll in medical school.

Sara celebrated her 18th birthday Friday and also states her family members have been most crucial to her success.

“My family has been the most influential and have always pushed me and supported me,” says Wiggins. “I have had many teachers that have influenced my life, truly too many to name, but my elementary teachers truly helped create my desire to learn. My discipline and motivation developed through gymnastics and cheerleading was also very important to me — I had some awesome coaches!”

Sara Kate Wiggins

Despite her academic prowess, Sara believes that sports and extracurricular activities are very important as well.

“I recommend sports to younger students because it teaches great life lessons that you will use and I advise them to start early — your freshman year is just as important as your senior year,” exclaims Wiggins.

One of Sara’s aforementioned coaches, HCHS Cheer Coach Amanda Horn, says Sara has been amazing to work with during her time at HCHS.

“Sara has unbelievable talent as witnessed every Friday night under the lights at Staples Stadium for the past four years. She is one of those individuals who never messes up. She is thorough and confident in all she does, both on and off the field,” says Horn. “Sara is the only cheerleader that I have known of to make All-American four straight years which translates to four flawless tryouts. She is most definitely one of a kind, and I am honored to have had her on my team!”

The Heard County High School Commencement ceremony takes place at 8 PM on Friday night, May 25 at Staples Stadium in Franklin.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: