First she got balloons, and then she got a car out of the deal. Thomson High School Senior Gloria Holloway was named the valedictorian of the Class of 2007. Gloria said she didn't know she'd made it until she walked in church one Wednesday night and saw a large bunch of balloons tied to a chair with a sign congratulating her. The surprise came from her mother, who had been notified earlier by the school.
"And my stepdad had promised at the beginning of the year that if I made valedictorian, he'd get me a car," Gloria said. "So I got a new car out of it, too."
Guidance counselor Sharon Finnerty said the students start planning and working for the status as soon as their class placements are announced during their freshman year. She said the students never know until the very end, but they frequently check their grade point averages to make sure they are keeping it up. Ms. Finnerty said this was the case with Gloria, whose grade average is 98.92, and with Crystal McCorkle, who is the 2007 salutatorian with a grade average of 98.59.
"They are both self-motivated, and they have always strived to do their best," Ms. Finnerty said. "They are obviously excellent students. Yet they are real humble, too. I wish there were many more like them."
Gloria is the daughter of Al and Elena Lamar. Mrs. Lamar is a first grade teacher at Thomson Elementary School. Gloria said she has two older step-sisters, Amber and Nikki, with whom she is real close, and a younger brother, John. Gloria's father, Art Holloway, was a teacher and coach at Thomson High School until his death several years ago. Mrs. Finnerty said she knows that deep down inside, Gloria set a goal for herself to make valedictorian to honor her father.
"I know he's proud of me, too," Gloria said.
Gloria has been accepted to Brewton Parker College in Southeast Georgia, where she plans to major in accounting and minor in Spanish. She is an active member of First Baptist Church of Thomson, where she sings in the youth choir and helps teach Vacation Bible School and the children's choir. She is the secretary of the THS Beta Club this year. Gloria also said she enjoys playing the piano and reading mystery novels. She said the shopping trip with her step father for her new car, a 2005 Honda Civic, was a very exciting experience.
Crystal is the daughter of Becky McCorkle. Crystal said she will attend Augusta State University, where she will major in early childhood education. Like Gloria, Crystal said that her favorite subject is math. However, she has something else on her mind these days.
"I'm really nervous about doing that speech at graduation," she said
Crystal is the daughter of Becky McCorkle and Roy McCorkle. Crystal said she will attend Augusta State University where she will major in early childhood education.
"I am tickled to death. I'm so proud of her," her mother said. "She has always been a good student. She hasn't missed a day of school since kindergarten. I can't make her stay home."
Like Gloria, Crystal said that her favorite subject is math.
However, she has something else on her mind these days.
"I'm really nervous about doing that speech at graduation," she said.