Lewis County High School valedictorian Ryan Jackson figures there is no use getting out of bed if you don't want to be challenged by the day ahead. He said he expects to be challenged, even if those around him won't do it.
"If you're not going to be challenged, then why try?" he said. "You should always strive to do more than what's required of you. If someone doesn't set the bar high enough, raise it yourself. That's something you can control. It's something you are going to wish you had done if you don't do it. You are always going to regret it if you don't do it."
That's the advice the LCHS' class of 2011's top graduate had for his fellow students. He followed his own advice during his time in the hallowed blue and gray hallways, earning a Presidential Scholarship and Valedictorian Scholarship from West Virginia University, where he will be studying biology with an eye on heading to medical school afterward. He also will be using the PROMISE Scholarship to help pay for his undergraduate studies.
The Inter-Mountain photo by John Wickline
Ryan Jackson, left, was named the valedictorian of the class of 2011 at Lewis County High School. Sean Minney, right, was named the class salutatorian. Both will be attending West Virginia University in the fall. More than 170 seniors received their diplomas Friday during commencement exercises at the school.
"That was a major relief," he said this week. "That's the biggest thing about medical school: How to pay for it. Now I won't have to worry about paying for my undergraduate, and I can save for medical school."
Jackson credited his mother and father, Sherri and Darren Jackson of Horner, for helping him attain this lofty honor. He said his parents always pushed him to do better, and he now knows their prodding was done with love and to better prepare him for the future.
"They pushed me to go above and beyond what I needed to do," Jackson said. "They knew it would pay off in the end. I know they were doing it for my benefit."
Jackson said his mother was always there with an encouraging word, and that his father pitched him to help with math homework, "until I got to trigonometry. Then I was on my own."
Sean Minney was named the class of 2011's salutatorian, and he said earning the honor means he met a challenge put forth by his stepmother, who herself was the salutatorian of her graduating class at Man High School.
He said earning the honor was the culmination of a lot of late nights ... and rough mornings. But he thanked Lisa Arnold, his first-period teacher for being so understanding and forgiving when he was so tired.
Minney, the son of Rebecca and Bryan Cutlip of Weston and Michael and Kimberly Minney of Charleston, also plans to attend WVU to study engineering. He learned time management from his days of working an after-school job and also participating in cross country and track.
"School work always came first," he said.
"My stepdad helped me meet this goal," he added. "He always told me that I could always do better. He would say, 'See that 93? It's still an A.' But he wanted me to do better."
More than 170 seniors were presented their diplomas Friday night at the high school. The Lewis County High School class of 2011 includes Dakota Leland Adkins, Joshalynn Renae Allen, Brianne Lynne Balser, Tyler Edward Bandy, Austin Macaulay Barbo, Branden Michael Billings, Sarah Ann Bitzer, Matthew David Blake, Amber Lynn Bleigh, Taylor Elizabeth Bound, Tierney Akasha Bowyer, Tyler Scott Brown, Abigail Lynn Bucheimer, Brice Gabriel Butcher, Christopher Andrew Lee Butcher, Trent Allen Butcher, Trevor Matthew Butcher, Morgan Paige Carder, Sabrina Nicole Carson, Daima Danielle Carver, Danielle Nicole Cavins, Jon-Michael Chamberlain, David Cory Chapman, Ashley Marie Chipps, Thomas Joseph Cintron, Austin Hunter Clark, Travis Logan Cochran, Charles Garrett Cole, Skyler Andrew Cole, Mindy Leigh Collins, Lacey Corrin Conrad, Taylor Brooke Coplin, Brandy Rochelle Cowgar, Michelle Lee Craig, Ciara Dale Davis, Zebulon Taylor Davisson, Joseph Alan DeBarr, Tiffany Robin Decker, Rosa Mae DeMoss, Caleb Antony Dennison, Amber Nicole Dunlap, Kristen Elaine Dye, Jessy Joann Elliott, Elyse Laurel England, Tyler Brooke Foster, Katelyn Elizabeth Furby, Kristi Ann Goe, Shelby Jo Golden, Bradley Matthew Goldsmith, Mariah Layne Goldsmith, Michael Shawn Gould, Kora Grace Queen Hager, Colton Alan Hall, Austin James Halterman, Cara Lynne Harbert, Michael Thomas Harper, Jessica Jeree Harris, Teirra Loraine Harris, William Shane Hawkins, Lisa Christine Hayhurst, Richard Glen Hayhurst, Andrew William Heater II, Joshua Kyle Hefner, Jeremy Dewaine Helmick, Heather Danielle Henline, Sabrina Dawn Henline, Melinda Chantel Hicks, Shawn Ryan Hill, Matthew Barrett Holland, Brandon Moore Hope, Leslie Dawn Hutter, Richard Eldon Jackson, Ryan Christopher Jackson, Adam Wayne James, Caleb Jerome Jamison, Jeremy Scott Jerden, Kelsey Dawn Johnson, Jodie Marie Jones, Shawn Cassetty Jones, Daniel Wayne Jordan, Electa Dawn Kelley, Cody Alan Kemper, Cody Lee Kincaid, Keefe Nicholas Kiser, Charles Ray Kraft Jr., Alma Kay Lake, Janie Marie Lamb, Kelsie Colleen Lantz, Kyran Brice Lawsen, Nathaniel Wayne Lattea, Thomas Nathaniel Law, Meghan Elizabeth Lewis, Meagan Danielle Linger, Sha'Lisa Dawn Linn, Brianna Renee Long, Dinhia N. Lowther, Timothy Dylan Luzader, Leeann Rochelle Marple, Allison Nicole Marsh, Jessica Dawn Marsh, Shawn Michael Marsh, Brett Matthew Matheny, Shae Elaine McClain, Nathan Daniel McCloud, Devan Hayley McCoy, Kevin Shane McHerny, Ashley Nicole McMillion, Hunter Evan McWhorter, William Michael Means II, Amanda Kay Melton, Lindsey Machelle Metz, Sean Alexander Minney, Robert Logan Moneypenny, Anthony Martin Montgomery, James Daniel Moody II, Cody Wayne Morris, Daniel Fredrick Mosley, Shelby Mlynn Myers, Chantelle Nichole Norman, Shawna Renee Parmer, Aaron Mark Pellien, Joseph Tyler Perry, Robert Lyle Phillips, Brandy Daniela Pope, Emilea Rae Posey, Trenton Lee Posey, Stephanie Lynn Pyles, Jennifer Marie Radford, Charles William Rahming, Jordan Alexander Rahming, Micheal William Raines, Ethan Robert Ramsey, Evan Reed Ramsey, Jesse Taft Ramsey, Bradley Shane Riffle, Traci Paige Rittenhouse, Allison Joelle Rogers, Chelsea Marie Rorison, Christian Allen Rose, Allison Nicole Roush, Kylie Nicole Rowan, Heather Jean Sandy, Nicholas Allan Santalucia, Ryan Andrew Scott, Tyler Matthew Seelback, Cara Marie Sevcik, Vera Rochelle Shackleford, Trenton Michael Shaffer, Kendra Danette Shultz, William James Simons, Ryan Seth Simpson, Tyler Scott Simpson, Kari Ann Sims, Brandi Nichole Skinner, Zachary Tyler Skinner, Benjamin Marlow Smith, Danielle Brook Smith, Nicholas Scott Smith, Tina Marie Stalnaker, Brooke Elizabeth Stone, William Connor Swisher, Chelsea Elizabeth Syrews, Kenneth Scott Syrews, Tyler Lee Syrews, Kevin Christopher Tackett, Ashley Brooke Taylor, Eliza Danielle Taylor, Betsy Maureen Turner, Sarah Louise Tyler, Kaylee Elizabeth Vankirk, Eli Scott Villers, Shalynn Cherelle Walton, Anthony Eugene Werner, Stephen Kirk Westfall, Treylan Wayne Westfall, Mark Anthony Wiant, Nathaniel James Wilkes, Brittany Anne Williams, Ginger Michelle Williams, Joseph Woodrow Williams IV, Ethan Andrew Wilson, Leland Alfred Woodyard, Dakota Lee Workman, Irene Gray Workman, Meng Yun Zheng.