“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”
? Shonda Rhimes
Those words from the award-winning producer and writer of such television shows as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal describe the work ethic of Ms. Rhimes as well as that of the sixteen students who make up Rowan County Senior High School’s Class of 2019 Summa cum Laude students. For each of these students, those words have become a way of life both throughout high school and, almost assuredly, throughout their future.
Throughout the ages, people over the age of 30 have often been too critical of teenagers, accusing them of failing to set goals and looking only to the present.But, more often than not, the older generation has often been surprised by what the younger generation has been able to accomplish.
This year’s Summa cum Laude students are, in alphabetical order: Carmen Alderman, Kathryn “Katie” Bonney, Martina Chapman, Hannah Clatos, Madison Dennis, Kinsey Eisenhour, Matthew Gagliano, Emily Hammonds, Emily Highley, Jon Jenkins, Macy Jones, David Kim, Molly Melahn, Kennealy Roberts, Alyssa Thomas, and Kenady Vice.For these sixteen students, the lessons of “hard work” and “setting goals” have been a guiding force.These students, along with many of their fellow graduating class members, are bound to surprise many people with their goals and their determination to succeed in their future endeavors.
Carmen Alderman, the daughter of Janet and Earl Alderman, will be attending the University of Kentucky in the fall to major in either biology or chemistry and go on to medical school. When asked what it means to her to be one of the top students in the Class of 2019, she stated, “This is an absolute honor and an optimal ending to my senior year. This shows just how important the hard work and dedication are.” She then remarked, “This took a commitment and drive towards my classes and studies even when I didn’t want to at times. Although it is tempting to do what you want, doing what you need to do is what makes you successful in the classroom.” Carmen’s advice to incoming freshmen is to “understand that the grades you get during your freshman year matter just as much as the grades you get you get in your senior year. Always put forth your full effort toward everything and never choose the easy way out.”
Kathryn “Katie” Bonney is the daughter of Steve and Tammy Collins Bonney. She is planning to attend Centre College with hopes of becoming a director of education for a museum. She says that earning the title “graduating Summa cum Laude” is rewarding because it “shows that all my hard work and dedication has paid off.” She then added, “I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into my high school career. Anytime I felt like I was in a rut, I would reach out to friends or teachers for study help or advice. I would take all their help and support and work through any obstacle.” Her advice to incoming freshmen: “It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, as long as you get back into the swing of things once that moment has passed.”
Martina Chapman, the daughter of Mark and Sherrie Chapman and Angie Jones, will be attending Morehead State University this fall to major in pre-medicine. Afterwards, she hopes to go to medical school and become an emergency physician. To Martina, being named as one of the top students in her graduating class is rewarding, seeing all her hard work paying off with this distinction. She stated, “My parents encouraged me to work to my fullest potential, but I also thought about my career and how I really wanted to achieve that goal.” To incoming RCSHS freshmen, Martina advises, “No matter what life obstacles you face, keep pushing towards your goals and never stop working hard.”
Hannah Clatos is the daughter of Ron and Angie Clatos. She will be attending Morehead State University where she will be studying agriculture and business with the goal of working with an agribusiness company as their youth engagement coordinator. On graduating Summa cum Laude, Hannah remarked, “I worked hard throughout high school to achieve good grades. The high school is recognizing my hard work with this title!” She then added, “I spent many long nights working on assignments for high school, but I was willing to do it to succeed.” Her advice to incoming freshmen was to get involved in some type of extracurricular activity during high school and also challenge yourself by being willing to get outside of your comfort zone.
The daughter of Craig and Amanda Dennis, Madison Dennis is planning to attend Morehead State University to major in business.Her goal is to earn a Ph.D. in paleontology or to travel and work with the environment.To Madison, being recognized as Summa cum Laude means that she worked hard throughout high school to be the best that she could be and pushing herself to succeed.Her advice to the incoming freshmen is:“Make high school a time of your life that you’re proud of.Work your hardest, show kindness and spend quality time with your friends.”
Kinsey Eisenhour, the daughter of David and Lynn Eisenhour, will be attending Eastern Kentucky University in the fall, with a goal of earning a Ph.D. in zoology with a specialty in entomology. When asked what she thinks about earning the title of “graduating Summa cum Laude,” Kinsey answered, “It means that I stayed focused and pushed myself to earn this high distinction. It also shows me that I achieve anything as long as I work for it.” She added that as important as it was for her to do the hard work and use her grit and determination to succeed throughout high school, it was also important for her to take the motivation from her friends and family to help push her along the way. She had the following advice for incoming RCSHS freshmen: “You truly get out of high school and your work as much as you put in. Push yourself to be the top student, not only for your future, but for yourself as well, so that you may know what greatness you are capable of.”
Matthew Gagliano is the son of Shannon Malone and Joe Gagliano. He will be attending Morehead State University and hopes to become a nurse anesthetist. When asked what it took for him to be named Summa com Laude, Matthew answered, “It took a great deal of effort and dedication to receive this distinction. There were times when I really had to focus on my studies and manage my time effectively to achieve success with a chaotic student-athlete schedule. This honor is a superlative ending to my senior year here at Rowan County Senior High School.” His advice for incoming freshmen is to “prioritize properly and never lose focus of your end goal. School is only as hard as you make it for yourself.”
Emily Hammonds is the daughter of Benita and Nick Hammonds. She is planning to attend Morehead State University with future plans to attend medical school and become an orthopedic surgeon. She says that she is very proud to be listed as graduating Summa cum Laude because “it represents my hard work and dedication to my academics.” When asked what it took for her to achieve this distinction, she answered, “Constant commitment and always challenging myself.” She then added, “The best advice that I have for incoming freshmen is this: No matter how easy a class may seem, you should always put forth your best effort into your academics.”
Emily Highley, the daughter of Jeff and Mindy Highley, will be attending Morehead State University to work toward a dual certification in both Special Education and Elementary Education. When asked what she thinks about earning the title of “graduating Summa cum Laude,” Emily answered, “It is very rewarding and means that all my hard work and dedication has paid off.” She then added, “I was driven to succeed academically and focus my hard work and determination toward my goals.” Her advice for the incoming freshman: “Work diligently. Put forth your best effort in your academics and your extracurricular choices.”
The son of Greg and Genny Jenkins, Jon Jenkins will be attending Morehead State University to study computer science with the goal of becoming a software designer.When asked what it means to him to be listed as one of top students in the Class of 2019, he remarked, “It makes me proud knowing that I have worked hard throughout my high school career.”Jon then added, “It takes hard work and not getting lazy about school, which is easier said than done sometimes. But this is a goal within any student’s reach if they truly want it.”He offered the following advice to incoming RCSHS freshmen: “High school isn’t so bad, you just have to do the work and put in the proper amount of effort into your studies.Once you do that, though, high school is no harder than anything else.”
Macy Jones is the daughter of Michael Jones and Melissa Liberatore. While is not certain what her future career will be, she is certain about earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business at the University of Pikeville. Talking about graduating Summa cum Laude, she stated, “This is an amazing honor that I am very proud of.” She noted that she worked hard and dedicated herself to putting in the time and effort needed for her classwork. Macy then added, “I believe that as long as you do something, you might as well give it 100%.” Her advice to the incoming freshmen: “High school goes by in a flash. Live in the moment and enjoy it while it lasts.”
David Kim, the son of Euijin and Myung Sun Kim, has been accepted to University of Kentucky where he be studying engineering and hopes also to earn a Master’s degree in Business Administration. When asked what it means to him to be named as one of the top students in his graduating class, he answered, “It means that I am being recognized for all my hard work and dedication throughout high school.” He then added, “To get this distinction meant that I had to put school first over a lot of other things. I had to put in time and effort in my school work. Sometimes, I would have to put in the extra step of spending late nights and weekends to ensure that I put in my best effort. A lot of kids dismiss this step to go have fun, but I chose a different path.” He advised incoming freshmen to listen in class. “If you don’t listen, then you have no right to mad or frustrated when you struggle on homework or exams. Your education is only as good as the effort you put into it.”
Molly Melahn is the daughter of Will and Nadine Melahn. She will be attending the University of Louisville to study vocal music and also hopes to give voice lessons as she pursues her degree. She said that being named as one of the top students in her graduating class “shows how much effort I put into making sure I learned what was taught.” She also noted that she studied enough to remember, not just to pass. “It took a lot of planning, time and effort to make sure that I could complete everything I thought I was capable of.” Molly had three important pieces of advice for incoming freshmen: 1. Keep a planner with all of your assignments listed.2. Don’t spend all of your time on academics.Find sports or clubs that you enjoy.3. Find out what kind of studying works best for you so you can spend your study time wisely.
The daughter of Jamie and Angela Roberts, Kennealy Roberts will be attending Morehead State University to major in convergent media with the goal of becoming a journalist.When asked what it means to her to be listed as one of top students in the Class of 2019, she stated, “It means that my hard work has paid off and everything that I have spent my whole high school career striving towards is real now.”To the incoming freshmen, Kennealy has offered the following advice: “Challenge yourselves.Take AP classes. Make new friends.Make sure that you keep up with your classwork and your homework.Above all, be yourself.”
Alyssa Thomas, the daughter of Larry and Terri Thomas, will be attending Western Kentucky University. She wants to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropological archaelogy and do field work around the world. As for graduating Summa cum Laude, she remarked that “all the hard work was worth it. I accomplished what I set out to do even with taking 2 years’ worth of all day college classes.” For her success during high school, she credited dedication, hard work and a lot of late nights studying. Alyssa had some sage advice for incoming high school freshmen: “Do not let anyone change you. Learn who you are and don’t try to fit in. Losing yourself for a few years of popularity isn’t worth it. Walk your own path proudly, even if you are alone.”
Kenady Vice is the daughter of Mike Vice and Michelle Murphy. She will be attending Eastern Kentucky University in the fall. She stated, “To be listed as graduating Summa cum Laude means that all of my hard work throughout high school has paid off. Also taking those AP classes to boost my GPA helped. But the greatest reward is seeing how proud my family is of my achievements.” She then added, “This took a lot of late nights and early mornings studying and preparing for exams, presentations and projects. Without the words of motivation and encouragement from my parents, I would not have done as well as I did.” Her advice to incoming freshmen: “Cherish every moment of high school and don’t take a single thing for granted. Spend time with your family and friends, go to sporting events and dances, but remember to take your classes seriously. People told me that these four years would fly by, but I didn’t believe them. But it really does and it’s over before you even know it. So enjoy your next four years.”
Superintendent John Maxey offered his congratulations to these students, saying, “I believe that being disciplined and making good decisions in learning is essential to success in education, no matter the age. These students are seeing the results of their decisions and their dedication as well as the dedication offered to them by their teachers. I applaud them and know that their sense of discipline will follow them no matter what path they take.”
The late Jim Henson may have said it best, though. “If you care about what you do and work hard at it, there isn’t anything you can’t do if you want to.” Congratulations to the Summa cum Laude students of Rowan County Senior High School Class of 2019.