Two scholars share the role of valedictorian on Friday, May 18, as members of the Jay High School Class of 2018 take part in graduation ceremonies.
Mattie Haynes and Heather Robinett are co-valedictorians while Avery Williamson is the salutatorian. Gabe Simpson, who is third in the class, has also been tapped to be this year's honor student.
Graduation ceremonies are set for 6:30 p.m., Friday, May 18, at Bulldog Arena, on the campus of Jay High School.
Mattie Haynes - Co-Valedictorian
Mattie Haynes wants everyone to know one thing - she's a Oklahoma State University Cowboy through and through.
Even though, she knows time at both OSU and the University of Oklahoma are both in her future.
Haynes, 17, one of this year's co-valedictorians, plans to pursue a double major in business administration and criminal justice, with a minor in agriculture business, with an ultimate goal of obtaining her master's in business administration and her law degree.
She plans to do her undergraduate work at Northeast A&M in Miami, before transferring to OSU. She hopes to finish her dreams by being part of a combined MBA and law program at OU.
The daughter of Matt and Jana Jay Haynes, Haynes plans to enter NEO as a member of the school's livestock judging team.
"I'm super excited, it's something I've dreamed about since I was a little girl, to go to college and judge livestock," Haynes said. "NEO is the best place for me, because it's close to home and all of my hours will transfer in and out. It feels like the right thing for me to do, for the smoothest transition."
Haynes said an agricultural related career, in business or law, seems natural, since she was always a "stereotypical aggie throughout high school."
"I will forever remember and be thankful for the times I had in FFA Corduroy, a white ford truck or simple life talks with my ag teachers Dearl Cunningham and Sharon Kunze.
"Outside of FFA, I will always remember days of drinking coffee with Dianna Woods, as we discussed politics and life in general. Mrs. Woods' impact stretched father than her classroom walls. The impact [she] has had on my life is second to none, for which I will always be grateful."
This spring, Haynes aggie roots helped her achieve another live goal - she earned one of the State FFA Degrees issued by the Oklahoma FFA program.
"I always told myself I was going to do it," Haynes said, adding the time she spent with her mother, creating a four-year scrapbook of her FFA achievements was another highlight of this year.
"My mom was able to receive her degree, and meant a lot to me to the highest level in the state," Haynes said. "I have hopes of going on to achieve my American FFA Degree."
Haynes said working towards the State FFA Degree taught her many lessons in persistence. It also helped her reflect on everything she's taken part in, and accomplished during her four years of high school.
"It taught me to be so grateful I was this fortunate," Haynes said. "To see the four years [like this] humbles you. You see how far you've come and how many people devoted time [to you] and how big of an impact they had, especially your parents."
Haynes said her next goals, after her two years at NEO, include earning a spot on the OSU livestock judging team.
Haynes has been judging livestock since she joined the Jay 4-H Club at the age of 7. She's continued to judge livestock as a 4-H member throughout her elementary, middle and high school years, saying it helped broaden her horizons.
She said 4-H helped give her a solid foundation, on which she could build her FFA career.
Outside of agricultural activities, Haynes has served on the Delaware County Teen Court for four years. For the last three years, until this month, she served as the court's clerk - taking care of all of the paperwork involved in the process.
She has also been involved in Feather of Many Colors and Girl Scouts.
In the last few years, she's helped her Girl Scout leader Wilma Spears develop a program for girls between kindergarten and third grade.
"I loved teaching the little girls about leadership opportunities," Haynes said. "I try to teach them a lot, but they have taught way more."
Her other activities have included serving on the student council and being part of the National Society of High School Scholars.
"I've tried to be a well rounded person," Haynes said. "My motto has always been 'if you stay busy, you'll stay out of trouble.'"
Heather Robinett - Co-Valedictorian
Heather Robinett, 17, said she has worked toward the goal of becoming the top of her graduating class for years.
The daughter of Jason and Gayla Robinett, Robinett was "super excited" to find out she was a co-valedictorian.
"I pushed myself all through high school, and knew this was something I wanted," she said. "I'm not that good at sports, but I am a super competitive person. I knew I could be good at school, and I was drove by my competition. This is a big honor."
While in school, Robinett took part in the student council, serving as an officer during her sophomore and junior years. She also was a member of FFA, the drama and art clubs, and FCA.
She said her favorite moments in high school revolved around the student section at sporting events.
"It was there, where everyone looks past the differences and came together to cheer people on," Robinett said. "We came together for something exciting for all of us."
Outside of school, Robinett said for much of her high school career, she worked as an intern at Jay First Assembly of God.
In that role, she helped complete community service projects, planned events, helped with outreach efforts, worked with the children's church and worship teams.
She also took 12 hours of college classes this semester from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. In fact, Robinett will graduate with 33 hours this spring from NEO - not enough to classify her as an entering sophomore, but close.
She plans to attend the University of Oklahoma and pursue a degree in biochemistry, on the pre-med track.
She picked biochemistry because she loves chemistry, and decided the biochemistry field would be more geared towards the medical field
Robinett eventually hopes to become a gynecologist because she "wants to help people bring babies into the world."
"I knew from my sophomore year I wanted to go into something math or science related," Robinett said. "It sounds nerdy, but I took a medical technology class and did research into it, and discovered I loved the field."
She said serving on the INTEGRIS Grove Hospital Board confirmed that pursuing a degree in the medical field would be in her future.
"I want to bring life into this world," Robinett said. "There's something amazing to be able to say you do that for a living."
In the next 10 years, Robinett would like to be finished with medical school and be completing her residency.
Avery Williamson - Salutatorian
Avery Williamson, the daughter of Tim and Trisha Williamson, is this year's salutatorian.
She plans to combine her love of math and science to pursue a degree in chemistry at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
"We live close to the state line, and my dad always took me and my siblings to the games," Williamson said. "When I was little, I loved it when the band came out on the field and made the big 'A'. I always thought it was for me.
"I have a special feeling about the school."
She eventually hopes to combine her love of science and math to pursue a career as a pharmacist - with the ultimate goal of either working in, or owning her own small business.
While in high school, Williamson took part in SAFE - the seatbelt initiative, FCA, student council and science club. She also played fast pitch softball her senior year.
"I was at the pool last summer, and the assistant coach came to me, and asked me if I would try out - because I was tall, could I help them out," Williamson said. "So I went to practice and they made me part of the team."
Her favorite memory of high school revolves around the time she was asked to serve as the master of ceremonies for a "Beat Grove" pep assembly.
"I was nervous, but itw as so much fun," Williamson said. "I had a blast."
Williamson also spent time on the INTEGRIS Grove Hospital board and the Grand Savings Bank Junior Board.
Like Robinett, Williamson said the time on the hospital board helped her determine which path she would take within a medical field career.
"I've never been much into surgery," Williamson said. "So I thought pharmacy might be a good choice, because you get to mess around with chemicals and medicine and things like that."
In the next 10 years, Williamson hopes she's completed her schooling to become a pharmacist, and be working to establish a career and family.