The University of Georgia is getting the best of Thomson. Both the valedictorian and salutatorian of Thomson High School's Class of 2009 will be at the state university next year.
Sam Lemley, valedictorian, said he is going to major in international diplomacy, while Salutatorian Brianna "Bri" Hart will pursue a degree in exercise and sports science.
"I enjoy sports and hanging out with my friends and family," Bri said, adding that she was a member of the THS Lady Bulldogs basketball team. "But football is really my favorite sport."
Sam also said he enjoys hanging out with his friends and working on projects with them or playing the guitar. He plays the French horn in the THS marching band and is active at his church, Pine Grove Baptist.
The son of Robert and Amy Lemley, Sam attributes his success - his grade point average is 98.6 - to his parents' influence. He said he never stayed up until 2 a.m. studying like some of his friends have spoken of, but he always did his homework as soon as he got home.
Sam also is the STAR student of THS, meaning he had the highest grade for the graduating class on the Scholastic Assessment Test college entrance exam in addition to being at the top of the class.
"My mom was real excited. She even put it on her Facebook page," he said with a laugh. "She wanted to tell everybody."
Bri's parents, Ervin and Dorothy Hart, also were proud. But Bri said they had to get over the shock, first.
"I mean, they believed it, but were shocked and sort of doubted it until my Mom saw my picture hanging on the wall at school with 'Salutatorian' under it. That sealed the deal," she said. "They knew I had the ability, but they were surprised."
Bri always wanted to "be in the top of the class, but never expected to be Salutatorian." And even though her GPA is 97.2, Bri said she never stressed about any test or assignment.
"Most of it just comes to paying attention in class," she said.
Bri enjoys photography as a hobby, and takes quite a few pictures for the THS yearbook, of which she is the editor this year. She also is the student council class president, a member of the Beta club, Spanish club and active at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.