From astrophysics to criminal justice/forensic sciences, this year’s Top Scholars at Grove High School are aiming for the moon as they chart their advanced studies and future careers.

The Top Scholars are students who achieved a cumulative grade point average of 4.0 or greater during their time at Grove High School. Beyond academics, these students excel in extracurricular, community and volunteer activities.

Here’s a look at the students, what they plan to major in, and who inspired them through their time as students in the Grove Public School system.

Meet the top three

Alivia Martin - Valedictorian. Daughter of Travis and April Martin, she plans to attend Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, and major in economics.

She credits Bobby Kreutz, Grove High School assistant principal, and Josh Martin for helping her grow as a student.

“By consistently asking about my college plans and investing time in helping me prepare for my future, [Bobby] Kreutz has been a constant encouragement to me to keep aiming to be my best. Josh Martin taught an after-school ACT class I attended, and through the class, he helped build up my confidence in myself and my test taking abilities.”

Emily Sisco - Co-Salutatorian. Daughter of Shane and Jill Sisco. She plans to attend the University of Chicago in Chicago, and major in astronomy and astrophysics.

She said two teachers: Valerie Epperson and Jeanne Smith have inspired her during her high school career.

“[Valerie] Epperson has always pushed me to be the best student I could be and personally has always nudged me into what I am today. [Jeanne] Smith has always made me work hard to find the answers to difficult questions, helping me find different solutions to problems.”

Stevie Elkins - Co-Salutatorian. Daughter of Sallie Sills and the late Cole Elkins. She is deciding between attending the University of Arkansas - Fayetteville, and majoring in chemical engineering or joining the U.S. Marine Corps.

Elkins said Alisha Smith and Jeanne Smith have encouraged her throughout her education process.

“Alisha Smith has encouraged me and made me believe in myself since I met her my sophomore year. Jeanne Smith inspires me every day with her love for her job and math. I hope to one day be in as happy as she is.”

Other Top Scholars

Nathan Boone - Son of Jennifer and David Hale and Craig and Robyn Boone. He plans to attend Ozark Christian College and major in Bible and interdisciplinary studies and medical.

Boone said watching his brother, C.J., excel in school and life, has inspired him to work hard in school and life as well, in order to make a successful future for himself.

Jared Carper - Son of Sam and Kathy Carper. He plans to attend the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, and major in forensic science/criminal justice.

He credits Keli Steen, working hundreds of hours without being paid on science fair projects, as one of the teachers who encouraged him to achieve success.

“Her enthusiasm to help students has not only been inspiring, but also shows how much she believes in her career.“

Payton Hill - Daughter of Darrin and Angel Hill. She plans to attend Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, majoring in architectural engineering.

She credits her parents for challenging her to do the best, which she said, has helped her become “the student and person I am today.”

Becca Lucky - Daughter of Tim and Jenny Lucky. She plans to pursue a degree in nursing from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami.

Lucky said Coach Matt Barnhart inspired her, as she watched him pursue his master’s degree.

“He inspires me to believe I really can achieve whatever I set my mind to.”

Macey Middleton - Daughter of Charlie and Kristi Wallace and Larry and Sandra Middleton. She plans to pursue a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology while attending the honors college at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

She credits her aunt, Carol Hunsperger, for teaching her the importance of education at a young age.

“She continues to show me that working hard yields the best results.”

Jaxson Oakley - Son of Craig and Terrie Oakley and Kristi and Russell Wilmoth. Oakley will attend St. John’s College, in Annapolis, Maryland, majoring in humanities.

He credits Matt Fracek for one of the important lessons he learned while in high school.

“[It] was his first year, but the amount of enthusiasm he had about the material, no matter mundane, showed me there is always an opportunity to learn something.”

Julia VanHoose - Daughter of John VanHoose and Sharon VanHoose. She plans to attend Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, majoring in electrical engineering.

She said Jeanne Smith’s invitation to join the robotics program has made her more responsible and confident to try new things.