Senior Honors Night at Putnam County High School was eventful as the valedictorian and salutatorian were announced, 42 Honor Graduates were named and one student walked away with nine scholarships.
PCHS Principal Dr. Andrew Cooper noted the difficulties of the 2020 and 2021 school years, caused by COVID-19.
“Through it all, the students sitting before you today have persevered, endured and succeeded,” Cooper said. “Our honorees and all graduates this year have sustained and earned their accomplishments.”
Valedictorian: Ariel Ewers
Ewers said she was nervous going in but after the announcement felt relieved and excited.
Ewers was not only named valedictorian but also PCHS’s STAR student, meaning she made the highest SAT score.
Throughout her high school career, Ewers was involved in Beta Club, the National Honors Society (NHS) and Healthcare Students of America (HOSA), while also playing soccer and being a member of the Farmers and Merchants Bank Junior Board.
On top of it all, she worked part-time at a grocery store and took dual-enrollment classes, along with every AP class -- except for AP Spanish, she said.
From here, Ewers plans to attend University of Georgia and major in biology on the pre-med track. She aspires to be a pediatrician.
“My mom worked at a daycare, so I got to be around kids, and I really love kids,” Ewers said. “But also, the medical aspect. I’ve always known I wanted to work in the medical field, so those two just fell hand in hand.”
Ewers has fond memories of visiting Savannah for three consecutive years with the Beta Club.
Salutatorian: Rebecca Hildreth
“When I heard my name announced as salutatorian, I was overwhelmed with excitement, self-pride and relief,” said Hildreth. “I have been striving since fifth grade toward this achievement, mostly because I wanted to give a speech at graduation, but to also prove to myself that hard work does pay off.”
Hildreth said she knew the race was close and thought she may have blown her shot by taking classes at Georgia College & State University as a full-time student.
Throughout high school, Hildreth was the unofficial captain of the cross country team and a long-distance runner in track. She was also heavily involved in Georgia College & State University’s dance program. She was in Beta Club, Anchor Club and HOSA.
Hildreth also continued to work as a CNA and private sitter at an assisted living facility.
“This job has been one of the things I am proudest of,” Hildreth said. “I worked long, hard hours, but I made connections and friends that will forever hold a spot in my heart. The residents brought so much joy into my life, and they were like a family to me.”
Her plans are to study Kinesiology for undergraduate and then attend graduate school to earn a Doctorate of Occupational Therapy. Obtaining her Doctorate’s degree is her biggest goal, she said.
“I could tell you story upon story of everything from cat dissections in Anatomy, to running cross country at the state meet, to the last day of school shenanigans,” Hildreth said. “I could sit here and tell you about performing at International Night or our first Homecoming. But I will also tell you this: my fondest memories from high school were the simple moments. My best friend and I would sit in the library during fourth block and just talk until we were hoarse. We’d laugh at absolutely nothing. It was these simple moments of just being close and chit chatting with her that glued all the great stories together.
“While Homecoming was a fun night and running at state was an experience my team had worked hard to achieve, it was the everyday moments of laughing and talking that made high school something to love and enjoy.”
Awarded nine scholarships: Andreanna Adams
“I had only heard back from five scholarships,” Adams said. “When my name was announced so many times, I was shocked.”
Adams received nine scholarships that evening and said there are some she applied to that she has not yet heard from.
“Getting the scholarships was hard work,” Adams said. “It took time and dedication to fill out every scholarship and do the interviews. For upcoming seniors, I am willing to help them in whatever way I can if they reach out.”
Throughout high school, Adams said she tried different activities.
“I tried out for basketball and played for two years. I tried out for volleyball and played for two years. And I even tried out for soccer and played three years,” Adams said.
She was involved in Beta Club and NHA while working at the high school as a custodian and sometimes volunteering to help at her mother’s business.
“My senior year, I took online college classes,” Adams said. “So I would work throughout the school day and then go to practice. During this year I worked parttime, played soccer, finished my college work and applied for many scholarships.”
Adams applied for and was accepted into 12 colleges and has chosen to attend Augusta University in the fall to begin pursuing a major in Psychology and minor in Criminal Justice.
“My dream career is to become an FBI agent and work in forensics,” Adams said. “My backup plan is to become an adoption counselor and help families. These two jobs are not alike, but both would let me help families in whatever way I can.”