Two Thomson High students will be recognized for being at the head of the class this year. Chelsey Plunkett is the valedictorian of the THS class of 2004 with an average of 99.66. Amanda Newman is the salutatorian with an average of 98.25.
Chelsey, the daughter of Jimmy and Julie Plunkett of Thomson, attributes her success to support from her parents, friends and teachers. One teacher in particular that Chelsey remembers helping her achieve is Carol Farr, her second grade teacher at Thomson Elementary.
Valedictorian Chelsey Plunkett (left) and Salutatorian Amanda Newman work on calculus.
"She really just helped me to become comfortable with myself, and encouraged me to be all I could be, and to be who I was no matter what," Chelsey said.
"She was just one of my favorite students in the whole world," Mrs. Farr said of Chelsey. "She has the best personality, and she works so hard to please. ... She's just every teacher's dream."
Chelsey has taken Mrs. Farr's advice to the fullest in high school, getting involved with many clubs and activities that interest her. She has been a part of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Beta Club, Key Club, musicals, literary, band and Health Occupations Students of America.
"I think (high school) was a wonderful preparation for getting started in the career world," Chelsey said. "I'm grateful to have grown up in a small town in a high school where everybody knows everybody because you can be friends with just about everybody, and it's just a strong support system."
After graduating from THS, Chelsey plans to attend Augusta State University and major in early childhood education. She plans to become a pre-school teacher and eventually open her own Christian pre-school. She is currently an active member of First Baptist of Thomson.
Like Chelsey, Amanda said that support from her family and her teachers were important factors in her academic achievement. She also found support through many different activities during her high school career.
Amanda, the daughter of Larry and Esther Newman of Thomson, has been heavily involved with FCA and Future Business Leaders of America in addition to her activities with the youth group at Washington Heights Baptist Church.
After being named Salutatorian, Amanda said "I was just really proud. It was a lot of hard work, but I was just really proud." She also said the honor came as a little bit of a surprise.
Amanda plans on attending the University of Georgia next fall to study genetics. She said that science was only one of her favorite subjects. English tops the list, and she also likes math.