NEWTON––She is rising to the challenges.
She is Sophie Huffman. And according to East Lincoln High Principal Marybeth Avery, she is the school’s valedictorian for the class of 2020.
Huffman, 18 and a resident of Newton, told The Herald more about herself Sunday. The daughter of Steve and Shea Huffman, she also has a younger brother, Shayne Huffman, 16.
Miss Huffman said she relished her time at East Lincoln High.
“I have truly enjoyed every class I had the opportunity to take at ELHS,” she said, “and I am so grateful to have been taught by so many wonderful teachers.”
Some of Huffman’s favorites included health science with Tyler Michael, AP (or advanced-placement) calculus with Sarah Dragoon, AP statistics with Jason Dragoon, AP psychology with Matthew Gallagher, AP English literature and composition with Christina McClain and AP biology with Robert Chapp. Huffman added that she also enjoyed a nursing fundamentals class with Heather Wesson at the Lincoln County School of Technology.
Huffman was also much involved with sports at ELHS.
“I was a member of the volleyball team all four years of high school and served as a captain my senior year, alongside my teammates, Ally Royster and Gabby Leach, with whom I have played volleyball since we were in elementary school,” she said.
Throughout high school, Huffman earned many academic awards. During her senior year, she received the Varsity Volleyball Mustang Award and recognition as an AP Scholar with Distinction. She was a member of the HOSA (Health Occupations Student Association), Interact and Beta clubs and the Science, National Honor, National Technical Honor and Mu Alpha Theta Math National Honor societies. During her freshman and sophomore years, she volunteered for the East Lincoln Optimist Club, refereeing recreational volleyball games. During her senior year, she helped put together a volleyball game fundraiser to benefit Raegan’s Wish, an organization created by one of the students at ELHS, who also happens to be one of Huffman’s close friends.
“Raegan’s Wish is a charitable organization that encourages others to participate in random acts of kindness in the hope of creating smiles for those on both the giving and receiving end,” she explained.
Come August, Huffman will be off to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she has been accepted into its college of nursing. Becoming a nurse is a lifelong dream for her. In addition, she plans to double-minor in psychology and American Sign Language.
Huffman also had advice for the class of 2020.
“Never take any day for granted,” she said, “as we have all seen just how meaningful our everyday lives really are. Continue to rise to challenges, and never back down. And of course, stay resilient!”