Peters and Sinha Named VHS’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian
Applause filled the Vidalia High School auditorium on the night of May 19 as the Class of 2022’s two top graduates were announced. Mikelle Peters was named valedictorian of the Vidalia High School Class of 2022, and commented on this honor. “It feels really good and is definitely a relief to be named valedic- continued from page
torian,” she remarked. “The past few years have been a lot of sleepless nights and tears and stress, so to finally be able to get this honor shows a lot of hard work paying off. To me, there’s no better feeling.”
Ashvi Sinha was named salutatorian of the Vidalia High School Class of 2022, and also spoke of her excitement for this achievement. “I am so honored to be named salutatorian,” she emphasized. “The night that they announced it, I honestly was just as shocked as everyone else because it was so close, and with everything that happened with my life, one year ago, I didn’t even know if I would even graduate.”
Sinha went on to share that she feels pride not only for overcoming the competitive academic atmosphere, in which the top 10 students were separated by mere one-hundredths of a point, but also her triumph over a medical diagnosis, which led to emergency surgery and a junior year spent at home. “I missed out on my whole junior year because I was so sick,” she explained. “I was just doing my best to continue and work as hard as I could. I just kept thinking of graduation.”
Both Peters and Sinha also credit their experiences with extracurricular activities for their success as well. “I am a part of One Act and Literary, and I do a lot for the Audio/Video Department here, and Visual Arts,” Peters shared. “All of those are very creative aspects that really helped relieve the stress of everything. My freshman year, I was not in any of those activities, and that was, by far, the most stressful year emotionally because I did not have an outlet. Yet, once I found that outlet, it did not just relieve stress, but also helped my performance academically.”
Sinha added, “For me, freshman and sophomore year are when I branched out the most. I played tennis for two years, I also was a part of the Visual Arts Program, Beta Club, and National Honor Society.”
When asked if they had advice for any underclassmen, the girls’ replies were simple. “Find your motivation,” Peters noted. “I was born in South Africa, I moved here when I was young, and kids were not always very nice to me growing up. It was difficult, but once you find your friends, it gets easier. Being kind is important, finding your motivation is important, and just being a good person is important.”
Sinha said, “Finding your people is very important. Also, sometimes, bad things happen, but you have to put your best effort forth, and just trust that everything that happens will work out for the best.” Peters and Sinha plan to attend Georgia Tech in the fall as roommates, where Peters will study biology in hopes to attend medical school in the future, and Sinha will study architecture. Joining Peters and Sinha in the class’s Top 6, who will speak at the graduation commencement ceremony on Friday, May 27, are Bryce Davis, Roman Edwards, Hunter Manning, and Addy Reid. According to Principal John Sharpe, this graduating class has been very academically competitive, as a total of 75 students will graduate with honors or honors with distinction.
It was a night filled with celebration as over 40 scholarships were given to the graduating class. The Vidalia Kiwanis Club sponsored several of these scholarships, while other local groups, such as the Vidalia Rotary Club, Toombs County Retired Educators Association, and Vidalia Lions Club also invested in the youth. The Vidalia Kiwanis Club Family Scholarship was awarded to Luke Palmer, while the Vidalia Lions Club presented Conley Brown, Tucker Coleman, Gauge Martin, and Luke Palmer with scholarships. Danni Thompson took home the Toombs County Retired Educators Association Estelle Walker Jackson Memorial Scholarship, while Bryson Whited received the Toombs County Retired Educators Association Jean Brogdon Memorial Scholarship.
Konnor Owens took home a total of 9 scholarships, which was the highest number for a single student for the night. These scholarships include the Beta Club Scholarship, Carl Parrish Memorial Student Government Association Scholarship, Coca-Cola Athletic Scholarship, Dickerson Memorial Scholarship, EVANCE, Joe Hansley Foundation Scholarship, Rodney Mobley, Jr. Scholarship, Rosa Marie Asberry Memorial Scholarship, and the Sarah Lane Memorial Scholarship.
Jadhari Jones was also awarded several scholarships, as he received a total of 7. These scholarships were the Beta Club Scholarship, Christine Harris Memorial Scholarship, Darwin Beasley “21st Century” Scholarship, Jamie Lula Leah Sharpe Scholarship, Joe Hansley Foundation Scholarship, Sarah Lane Memorial Scholarship, and Southern Sisters of Worth Scholarship. Brynna Wheeler received 5 scholarships: the Adrian Martin “Ambitious” Scholarship, Elizabeth Wilmot Bull Memorial Scholarship, Mary Beth Tapley Memorial Scholarship, Quint Shrine Club Scholarship, and Sarah Lane Memorial Scholarship. Tate McDaniel took home 4 scholarships: the American Business Women’s Association Scholarship, Beta Club Scholarship, Larry’s Giant Subs Good Citizen College Scholarship, and the Ronnie Dixon Memorial Scholarship, which was sponsored by ESG. Daniel Hodges was awarded the Beta Club Scholarship, National Honor Society Scholarship, and Sam Harris Galloway Memorial Scholarship, while Matlin Mead took home the Allyson Morgan Fullam Memorial Scholarship, Friends of Mayor Ronnie Dixon Memorial Scholarship, and Health Occupations Students of America Scholarship. Meanwhile, Mikelle Peters received the J.R. Trippe Scholarship, National Honor Society Scholarship, and Ray Fuller Memorial Scholarship, as Carleigh Wardlaw was granted the Edna Terrell Memorial Scholarship, EVANCE, and the Quint Shrine Club Scholarship.
Tucker Coleman was granted the Carolyn T. Bond Memorial Scholarship and EVANCE, while Ty Dalley received the Charles “Chunk” Reid Scholarship and the Dickerson Memorial Scholarship. Ashlynn Goodwin took home the Allyson Morgan Fullam Memorial Scholarship and the Ray Fuller Memorial Scholarship, and Kyleigh Johnson was awarded the Coca-Cola Athletic Scholarship and the Vidalia High School All Sports Boosters Student Athlete Scholarship. Addy Reid was given the Charles “Chunk” Reid Scholarship and the Sarah Lane Memorial Scholarship, Rileigh Robinson took home the Carl Parrish Memorial Student Government Association Scholarship and Sarah Lane Memorial Scholarship, and Danni Thompson received the ABWA Bessie McLeod Scholarship and the Walter & Hannah Morris and Mary Ann King Memorial Teacher Scholarship.
The following students also received scholarships: Cheyenne Anderson, Meadows Health Auxiliary Scholarship for Higher Education; Conley Brown, Larry’s Giant Subs Good Citizenship College Scholarship; Chandler Corbett, Joe Hansley Foundation Scholarship; Kevin Cox, Baseball Scholarship honoring the Baseball Dads of the Class of 1995; Hannah Dean, Dr. W.H. Bedingfield Scholarship; Mason Galbreath, Darwin Beasley “Build” Scholarship; Tanner Harris, Dorothy L. Warthen Scholarship; Hunter Manning, Georgia Tech Alumni Scholarship; Logan Menard, Tom P. Hutcheson Scholarship; Luke Palmer, Vidalia High School All Sports Booster Student Athlete Scholarship; Nicholas Powell, Cliff A. Poe Scholarship; Alli Taufmann, EVANCE; Tavien Vog, Doug Wilkes Memorial Scholarship; Bryson Whited, Walter & Hannah Morris and Mary Ann King Memorial Teacher Scholarship; and Hayden Williamson, Careers and Technical College Scholarship.
Kaitlyn Allen and Azayvion Wallace will receive the $10,000 REACH Scholarship upon graduation, as a result of a contract signing they participated in during the 8th grade. Bryce Davis was recognized for his congressional appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Principal John Sharpe spoke on this accomplishment. “I do not think there is another double- A school in the nation that has consecutive years with back-to-back military congressional appointments. It says a lot for our school,” he emphasized.
Davis took the podium to share the VHS Class of 2022’s gratitude toward their principal. “I’d like to take a moment to recognize Mr. Sharpe for all that he has done for Vidalia High School, not only just the four years that he’s been here for us, but all the time he’s been here,” Davis said. “Thank you for everything, and we wish you the best of luck in your next endeavors.”
Sharpe commented on the class. “Class of 2022, you were the first graduating class to spend all four years in this new high school. I cannot think of a better class to go out with. I am very proud of you. Your greatest accomplishments are still out in front of you.”
He continued, “You are going out into almost a hopeless world. There is a lot of bad stuff going on. But I know inside this room is the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. Two things I learned that helped me the most was this: faith and family, and to love God and to love others. If you will do that, you can change the world. I look forward to seeing and reading about your accomplishments in the future.”