June 20, 2021

Head of the Class

2019 Heard County Valedictorian Jordan Cornelius with his family (L-R): Ginger Cornelius(mother), Keith Cornelius (father), and Drew Cornelius (brother) at the commencement ceremony on May 24 at Staples Stadium (Photo: Amber Cornelius)

(Franklin, GA) — Valedictorian is just one of the many impressive accomplishments for recent Heard County High School graduate Mr. Jordan Cornelius.

The popular senior led the Class of 2019 across the graduation stage at Staples Stadium on May 24 and it came as no surprise that he made the ceremony after attaining perfect attendance throughout his entire 14-year school career.

Jordan says the rare accomplishment didn’t come without a couple of close calls.

“There were times that I had to check in late or check out early for various sicknesses, but my goal was to do my best to keep my perfect attendance,” he stated in a recent interview. “My closest call was when I broke my wrist before a recreation baseball game and couldn’t go to the doctor that night, so I had to go to school with no cast for half a day to make sure I could keep my perfect attendance.”

That he participated in sports is no surprise either as HCHS Principal Brent Tisdale describes Jordan as one of the most well-rounded students you could imagine.

“Jordan is an outstanding young man. His academics clearly speak for themselves but he is also a leader, a musician, and an athlete — he’s a modern day ‘Renaissance’ man,” says Principal Tisdale. “His parents have instilled in him high values, solid morals, a strong work ethic, and tremendous character, which may be his most impressive accomplishment.”

Jordan’s other academic achievements included a 99.5 GPA during his four years of high school, Don Staples award winner, Principal’s Award in Language Arts, and several other academic scholarships.

Jordan is not the first in his family to achieve such high graduation honors as his aunt, Amber Cornelius was the HCHS Valedictorian in 1988 and his mother, long-time HCMS teacher Ginger Walker Cornelius was the Class Salutatorian in 1989.

Tisdale’s comment about Jordan being a ‘Renaissance man,’ could not be more true as the gifted student not only participated in but excelled in many unique areas of the high school experience.

In music, the Marching Brave captain and trumpet soloist was given the John Phillip Sousa Award by the band director as well as being selected Most Outstanding Musician by his peers. In athletics, he was named Most Valuable men’s tennis player.

In the arena of leadership, he was Senior Class President, Honor Society President, and Captain of the Academic team. Jordan was also voted by his peers as the 2019 DAR Good Citizen.

Jordan credits heavily his parents, Keith and Ginger Cornelius, as well as the Heard County school system for such a rewarding and fruitful academic career. Mrs. Cornelius is a long-time teacher in the Heard County school system.

“The most influential people in helping me reach these goals were my parents. They have loved me, cared for me, and helped me in every part of my life,” Jordan says.

“They have served as two of the best examples for me to follow, and I could not have made it to this point without them. In the school system, I have been blessed to have met wonderful teachers and administrators who have pushed, encouraged, and helped me to this point today. There’s been so many who have influenced my life that it is hard to list them all.”

The Valedictorian offers sound advice for those younger students out there with similar goals.

“The best advice I could give to younger children striving to be Valedictorian would be to work hard everyday in everything you do. You need to make sure you’re putting in the work in and out of the classroom with your assignments, homework, and studying. You never need to take your eyes off your goal and remain focused and determined to reach that goal.”

He plans to use his many scholarships to attend the University of West Georgia where he will pursue a degree in Political Science. He hopes one day to become a lawyer.

Jordan closed his graduation speech at Staples Stadium with some strong reflections and remarks to his fellow classmates about the past 14 years.

“Graduates, this crowning moment of graduation should not be the end though; in fact, it should simply be the beginning, the turning of the page in the book of life. As we move on from the campus of Heard County High School, we look toward the future, envisioning success and prosperity for our lives, but also treasuring the fundamental values this entire community has instilled within us over the past 14 years,” said Jordan.

“This community and this school have laid the foundation for the rest of our lives, but we can not let our futures drown out all we have learned in our time as Heard County Braves. This small school in Franklin has built a cornerstone we can all build our lives around. It points us toward our goals; it paves the path to our dreams; it stands as a beacon of hope for our futures.”


  1. The Chemistry Teacher says


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: