The school year is coming to an end, and it’s graduation season in Lee County. Some of the best and brightest members of the Class of 2018 recently shared with the Opelika-Auburn News their high school experiences and plans for the future.

Some of these local students are valedictorians of their schools, while others are student government or class presidents. Although they are all from different schools, something they all share is that their high school left a mark on them, and they hope to leave a mark on the world.

Q: What are your college and career plans?

“I will be attending Yale University as a Global Affairs major, with the addition of pre-medicine.” – Yousra Omer, student council president at Auburn High School

“In the fall, I plan to attend Auburn University and study Biosystems Engineering. This degree has a wide variety of career opportunities. From working for the FDA to restoring wetlands, the career options are truly limitless. I have a particular interest in alternate fuel sources, so I would enjoy being able to work with solar panels and other renewable energy sources.” – Trey Williams, valedictorian at Glenwood School

“After finishing high school, I will start attending Southern Union, beginning in fall of 2018. I will be attending the Wadley campus, since I am fortunate enough to have received a theater scholarship from the school. I will attend Wadley for two years, in order to get a Computer Science degree. After that, I will go to another college, in order to get a degree in Communications or Broadcast Journalism.” – Oliver Mills, senior class president at Beulah High School

"I got the presidential scholarship from Southern Union. So in the fall, I'll start full-time with them, at the Opelika campus. I'm going for my associate in science, but I don't have a specific major picked out yet." - Madison Ballard, valedictorian, Ballard Christian School 

Q: How do you plan on celebrating graduation and spending your summer?

“I plan on going on a senior trip to Chicago, and later, on a cruise to Puerto Rico, Haiti, and St. Martin. I also plan to volunteer at my church’s Vacation Bible School and work at a local boutique.” – Anna Lake, Student Government Association president at Smiths Station High School

“I’m celebrating graduation with my friends and family. This summer, I am taking two online classes at Southern Union, and I hope to find a job. I plan to spend any of my free time with friends and family on Lake Martin.” – Annsley Cerovsky, Student Government Association president at Lee-Scott Academy

“After graduation, I plan to spend time with my classmates before we all go our separate ways. This summer, I will be taking summer classes at Southern Union State Community College to prepare myself for Auburn University at Montgomery in the fall.” – MiAsya Torbert, honors graduate at Loachapoka High School

Q: What advice would you share with incoming freshmen at your school?

“I would say to get involved pretty quickly. I waited until my sophomore year to get involved in anything, except for band, and I regret not doing as much freshman year. So I would say get involved, and get to know people. Enjoy it, because it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the nature of high school. But take a deep breath and enjoy it, because it goes by fast.” – Jamie Lowe, senior class president at Opelika High School

“Freshmen, this is the year that your GPA counts. Take your work seriously and don’t play around. The effort you put in your freshman and sophomore years will definitely show your last two years of high school. It is easy to drop a GPA, but hard to pick it up. Do your best and you’ll be fine.” – MiAsya Torbert, Loachapoka

"Don't freak out at first, and kind of give yourself some time to adjust to homeschooling. Once you get in the groove of things, it's pretty easy. You get to be independent and work on your own time. When I transferred from public school to homeschool, I was kind of freaking out. So I would just say, be patient with yourself. You'l do great after you start." - Madison Ballard, Ballard Christian

“One thing that I can reflect back on and realize is: four years might seem like a long time, but it actually goes by really quickly. I want the freshmen to know that there might be moments where they want to be grown, but they shouldn’t try to wish the time away. High school is only four years long. You should value the time and be sure to enjoy it. After that time is over, you have your whole life to be grown.” – Oliver Mills, Beulah

Q: What aspect of high school will you miss most as you head out into the “real world”?

“I will miss the incredible faculty and staff, from the teachers to those who work in the cafeteria. Everyone is happy to be doing what they do, and they always leave a smile on your face at the end of the day. Saying goodbye to these people is probably the most difficult thing about this time. I will miss our student sections, sweeping Lee-Scott in basketball, and going to chapel every Thursday. As a Glenwood Gator, you don’t miss one thing; you miss everything, no matter how big or small.” – Trey Williams, Glenwood

“I will miss the people and the kindness I experienced in the community and on campus. However, that kindness is something I hope I can take into the world as I head into the beginning of this new chapter in life.” – Logan Massey, valedictorian at Beauregard High School

“I am going to miss being involved in school activities such as cheerleading, our Panther News Network, and Student Council. I will also miss spending time with my peers, and friendships that I have made.” – Anna Lake, Smiths Station

“I will miss many things about high school, honestly, but I think I will miss the family-like atmosphere the most. I have been at Lee-Scott since preschool, so I have grown up with many of the people in my grade. They have become like family, as well as many of the teachers.” – Annsley Cerovsky, Lee-Scott Academy

Q: What are you looking forward to the most about heading out into the “real world”?

“I’m ready to be in the professional world. I know it’s not the professional world quite yet, being in college, but shaping my studies and doing something I enjoy, rather than having to follow a set curriculum. So freedom, I guess, is the word to surmise all that.” – Jamie Lowe, Opelika

“I am looking forward to a new beginning in college. This is one of the only chances I will have to completely reinvent myself however I would like in the pursuit of greater things. For me, college is a fresh start, with new challenges and obstacles that terrify and excite me at the same time.” – Yousra Omer, Auburn

“I’m looking forward to the new experiences and challenges I will encounter, and the knowledge I will gain through those encounters. You can never really be done learning, and that is what excites me: the promise of always being able to better and develop yourself through everyday life lessons.” – Logan Massey, Beauregard

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