When Sara Green was named valedictorian for the 2011-12 school year at Clinton High School, she said the news came as somewhat of a shock.
“I was really was surprised,” she explained. “I told my mom that if someone would have told me that when I was graduating high school, I would be named valedictorian, I would have never believed them. Never.”
It wasn’t because the 18-year-old didn’t think her grades would be good enough, it was because her only true goal during her high school career was to work really hard and just get good grades.
“I had always worked really hard in school, but to be honest my goal was salutatorian,” she explained. “I just never thought I could be valedictorian for some reason. I don’t know why, I just never saw myself as being able to be number one.”
Although Green participated in color guard and played softball while in high school, she knew hitting the books was really where she would excel.
“I wasn’t really amazing in sports,” she admitted with a laugh. “I figured I better work hard in the classroom.”
All of her hard work studying throughout her high school career paid off.
“I just cried,” Green said remembering the call informing her she was named Clinton High’s top student. “It just meant everything to me.”
She said that the moment was especially moving when she told her supportive family, parents Lynette and Phillip Williams, her sisters Emily Green and Lily Williams; and her brother Harrison Williams. As well as her grandfather, William Harris, and her grandmother, Doris, whom Green said is her inspiration.
“I am going to cry thinking about when I told my meemaw and paw paw,” she said. “It was so moving because my meemaw was so proud of me and I could feel it. She was the one that I loved telling the most because I have always looked up to her.”
Now that’s she’s completed high school, Green is busy preparing for college at the University of North Carolina in the fall.
“I never thought I would be going to UNC because we are State fans at my house,” she said with a laugh. “I was trying to get the Morehead Scholarship at my school just to see if I could get in — I didn’t get the scholarship, but I was able to get in. My daddy said he would torture me and he wouldn’t wear a UNC T-shirt, but I really think he is proud.”
She said she is leaning towards taking psychology and classes related to the dental field. “I still don’t know for sure,” she acknowledged. “I took a psychology class at SCC and really enjoyed it,and I know someone who works in the dental field and have always been interested in that.”
It will be her first time staying away from home and her closeknit family for any long period of time.
“I am a little nervous to stay on campus, but my best friend Taylor (Fields) will be going there, too, so that makes me feel better to know that I will have a little bit of home with me while I am there,” she said. “That is going to make it a lot easier for me. And it is not too far where I can’t come back and visit on the weekends.”
But Green admits that she was spoiled by the small, hometown feel of Clinton High.
“I enjoyed Clinton High School a lot,” she admitted. “We were the first graduating class at the new school, that is exciting, but we are a small and closeknit group where all the teachers know you. I really liked that. So leaving, yes, I was a little sad. And to know that all my friends are going in different directions … But I am excited too, because I have a lot to look forward to.”
For the past two years, Green has been working at the law offices of Warrick and Bradshaw in Clinton.
“I do a little bit of everything here,” she pointed out. “It is a lot of filing and a lot of paperwork, but I love it. It has really helped me and everyone here has been so great.”
The job was an important one for Green because it kept her focused on her goal, something a lot of students go into high school losing quickly.
Peer pressure, Green said, is prevalent from the first day of high school.
“I know that high school can be overwhelming,” she said. “When you come in people kind of expect you to do things that you wouldn’t really want to do. You have to just stay away from that stuff. When you begin high school, the friends that you had will separate and you get closer to other people. If I had to give a freshman advice, I would tell them to stay positive and be around positive people, stay away from the bad things and from what people tell you to do. Do what you want to do and what you are supposed to and it will make high school a lot better. That is what helped me.”
When asked where she wanted to be after college, Green smiled and said, that no matter what happens, she will be home.
“Clinton is where I want to be,” she stressed. “I don’t want to be anywhere else.”
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.