In Friendship, Faith & Fellowship, Douglas High Valedictorian Finalists Share Common Bond
by Joey Crandall, email@example.com
UPDATE: Lindsey Adams was announced as Douglas High School valedictorian just prior to giving her speech during the ceremony.
MINDEN, Nev. — Shortly after the final bell rang on the 2015 school year at Douglas High School Thursday, the three finalists for school valedictorian – Olivia Abbott, Lindsey Adams and Sedona Ewbank, gathered in the school commons to discuss their accomplishments.
At some point, likely Friday morning (the distance between the three is a mere hair’s breadth – hinging on the judgment of one final assignment), one finalist will be announced as the top student in the graduating class of approximately 360.
And the other two finalists will be thrilled.
“The three of us are so close as friends,” Abbott said. “We’re teammates, classmates, we all fellowship together at our church youth group.
“We’re competing with each other, but at the same time, we’re rooting each other on. Each of us is here at the end, and even if I’m not one or two, one of my best friends is going to win. That’s pretty cool, knowing we made it this far together.”
It’s a sentiment exuberantly echoed by Adams and Ewbank alike.
“I just think it’s really cool the three of us are getting the opportunity to do this together,” Adams said. “We’ve worked really hard. Being with these two in that process is just a total blessing.”
“We’ve kind of had an idea of how this was shaping up for a long time,” Ewbank said. “It’s been fun to go through together.”
And they’ve been through, and done, plenty. Both Adams and Abbott have led much-decorated athletic careers at Douglas High, particularly in track and cross country. Adams has won multiple regional and state titles between track and cross country, filling in some of the gaps with stints on the soccer and ski teams. Ewbank has served as leader on the student ministries worship team at LifePoint Church and participated in numerous on-campus clubs.
Abbott, well … Abbot has been through quite a spring.
Heading into her senior season of track & field, she contracted mononucleosis and missed a good portion of classtime. Upon returning, she battled a hamstring injury for almost the entire season, competing in only the final meet of the regular season.
She made the most of her final competitive weeks, breaking the school record in the triple jump and qualifying for the state championships.
“Keeping a decent perspective was hard” she said. “It was really hard at first not to get down, just getting used to the idea that it was over for me in track, and that it was over for me in school. Having my faith was a huge aspect in that, just knowing that God has a plan for me and He’ll bring me to where He wants me to be at the end of all this.
“Having that reassurance helped me get through to the end of it. I came back and just kept working hard. I struggled a little bit at first, but I managed to bounce back. It was pretty awesome, when I look back at it. I learned more about being a student and an athlete through having to go through this hard time than I have in all the rest of my high school career. Just that you can persevere, and it isn’t always easy, but you can work through a lot more than you think you can.
“I’ve learned a lot about perseverance and trusting in God, knowing He will bring me through the hard times. The mono, and the injuries, it impacted my running, but I also missed a pretty large chunk of school. Coming back to AP classes was difficult. To be at this point now, I’m just so happy to still be in the running for valedictorian.”
All three finalists shared their faith as a vital part of their academic careers.
“I think for me, just seeing other people in my class as they have grown is a huge part of the experience,” Adams said. “It is just the choices we make in high school and how that shapes our lives as we prepare to head out from high school.
“For me, all of these things I’ve accomplished here, I owe that to God, to being able to fellowship with these ladies and our fellow youth group members. It’s really built me up over the years.”
Ewbank said there has been a sense of relief with the close of school.
“It’s been a lot of work,” she said. “Just all throughout high school to kind of get to this point has been so rewarding, finding out I’ll be near the top of the class, and starting to see some of the awards and scholarships.”
Adams and Abbott will each be speaking at Friday’s graduation ceremony, set for 5:30 at the Douglas High School softball field (behind the school).
Ewbank will be heading to the University of Washington in Seattle in the Fall to major in both biochemistry and neurobiology.
Adams will be majoring in chemical engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo while running cross country and track. And Abbott will major in math, with the hopes of later narrowing it down to engineering or education, at Chico State while also running track & field.
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