DENVER, N.C.––Hey, East Lincoln, Hoosier valedictorian?
Well, yes. The answer to that question is Indiana native Taylor Crates. According to East Lincoln High Principal Marybeth Avery, Crates, 18, is on track as of now to be the school’s valedictorian for the class of 2019.
“This graduating class is motivated to succeed,” Avery said Monday. “They are conscientious students, who set and achieve their goals. This graduating class will be recalled fondly for their kindness and acceptance of others.”
She added that Crates would soon be off for higher studies at the prestigious Trinity College of Dublin. She’ll be in good company. Notable graduates of Ireland’s oldest university include Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker. Crates plans to study economics and philosophy at Trinity. Following graduation, she hopes to attend law school.
Born in Fort Wayne, Crates informed Wednesday that she spent her younger years there and later spent most of grade school and middle school in Chicago. The summer before she entered the eighth grade, the Crates family moved to Denver. The daughter of Britton and Nancy Crates, she is also the older sister of Peyton Crates.
Taylor Crates told The Herald more about her time at East Lincoln, including her favorite teachers and classes. Of the latter, one was AP (advanced-placement) literature.
“I am an avid reader,” she said, “and we studied a lot of amazing books in depth throughout the course.”
Two of her favorite teachers were Christina McClain and Mark Shanklin. Quelle co-incidence, the latter is the father of Ryan Shanklin, the school’s projected salutatorian.
“Just by talking to Mrs. McClain, you can tell how intelligent and knowledgeable she is,” Crates observed. “As I mentioned, her class, AP literature, was one of my favorite classes I have ever taken. Mr. Shanklin was my teacher for AP government, and he was a wonderful teacher. I stayed after school many days just to talk to him about life, movies and other random topics. We became very close over the semester. He is also the father of one of my best friends, Ryan.”
She continued that she was much involved in extra-curricular activities at ELHS. These included being the captain of the school’s varsity cheerleading squad; founding and serving as the president of Hands of Hope; being the treasurer of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society; and being in the Beta Club, Mu Alpha Theta, Rho Kappa and the Science, Technical and English national honors societies.
“Some of my favorite memories from high school were the long, busy nights, working on projects or studying for tests with my friends,” she said. “Although at the time, we were stressed and working frantically, we were always glad to have such a great group of people to work with. Those nights led to a lot of laughs, inside jokes and memories I will never forget.”
Whatever path she chooses, Crates’s future is sure to be a bright one.
“As of now,” she said, “I hope to become a lawyer. But I am open to change. My main goal is to truly enjoy whatever I do.”
And Crates had some parting words for the students in the class of ’19, as well as for those set to be graduated in the ’20’s.
“I could not have asked for a better group of people to graduate with,” she said. “I truly believe this is the kindest, most hardworking and promising group of graduates, and I am excited to see what everyone accomplishes in the future. I am so proud to be a part of this group.
“For students in or entering high school,” she added, “always talk to your teachers and guidance counselors. It is so, so, so important to build these relationships and allow these people to guide and help you through your high school career. Also remember that you only get to experience high school one time. Make sure you try out for a new sport, take a challenging course or do something outside of your comfort zone.”
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