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Bulldogs at the top of their class: Rabun, Brunson take valedictorian, salutatorian slots

The ladies have ruled the top academic spots at Thomson High School for more than a decade. But the guys of the class of 2005 had something to say about that.


Jackson Rabun (left) and Billy Brunson are tops in their class.

After 12 straight years of female valedictorians and salutatorians, the ladies' streak is over. Guys took over both top spots this year.

Jackson Rabun earned an average of 98.7 through the first semester of his senior year to be named valedictorian. Billy Brunson's 97.9 average earned him the salutatorian slot.

The last male in either of the top academic slots at THS was Alan Dowell, valedictorian in 1993. The year prior to that, Trey Dunaway and Ben McCorkle grabbed the top honors.

"That's pretty interesting," said Guidance Counselor Sheron Finnerty about the lack of male representation at the top of the class between 1993 and 2005.

But teachers say this year's no.1 and no. 2 pupils are not the "nerds" some people might imagine.

"They both have great personalities, and they're both well received by their peers," said Gracie Costello, who teaches calculus to the academic duo. "They're not your stereotype for what you expect."

Jackson, also the county's STAR student by way of his 1320 on the SAT, will attend Georgia Tech next fall and pursue a career in computer science.

Billy, the center for the THS football team, has been accepted to the University of Georgia. He feels called to become a youth minister.

Ms. Costello complimented both students on the rapport they have with the other members of their class. She said both have a great sense of humor and are involved with activities at school and in the community which helped make them well-rounded students.

Jackson and Billy are excited to approach a new chapter in their lives as they prepare to leave high school for college and career. Teachers said the positive attitude both have will help them in that step.

"It's exciting to be at the end of high school," said Billy, a member at Thomson First United Methodist Church. "It's nice to have that honor to kind of pay off for the hard work."

They both said the way to the top was not paved by being the smartest; it was simply that they kept plugging away and doing the work that was assigned.

"I always tried to keep my grades up just because it was important to me, but I didn't even know I was that close until the end of last year," said Jackson, whose favorite subject is math.

Jackson is the son of Otis and Mary Rabun of Thomson. Billy is the son of Charles and Tammy Kay Brunson, also of Thomson.

Web posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005


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