Dedication to their studies and hard work allowed two students to achieve the two top spots in Princeton High School’s graduating Class of 2022.
The rankings placed Naomi English as valedictorian and Elizabeth Samples salutatorian for their graduating class.
Naomi attained a weighted grade point average of 5.36 and Elizabeth had a weighted grade point average of 5.33. Both students had unweighted grade point averages of 4.0.
Weighted averages take extra “bumps” to the unweighted grade point average when accounting for any advanced classes a student takes.
Elizabeth said she plans to attend Collin College and study for a bachelor’s degree in nursing before going on to earn a master’s degree in the same field. Her ultimate goal is to become a physician’s assistant.
Naomi said she has committed to attending Tarleton State University in Stephenville to study biology with an emphasis on zoology. Her goal is to work with animals in some capacity, preferably in wildlife rehabilitation.
The valedictorian said she was at a soccer game and could not check the final rankings when they were released.
“Everyone was texting me about my class rank and I didn’t know,” Naomi said. “I got my dad to get on my laptop and he told me I was number one.”
Naomi said the biggest extracurricular activity she was involved in was soccer which she played at school and for her local club team. She also finished her Girl Scout silver award project, participated in the Peer Assistance Leadership and Service (PALS) and was a member of the National Honor Society.
Elizabeth has been a part of the PHS band playing the French horn and being a section leader since her sophomore year. She was also the president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter, involved with PALS and served on the student council.
Elizabeth said she was initially anxious about her class rank when it came out during her sophomore year. She added she has always worked hard in school to earn good grades and is proud she ended up the salutatorian.
“It feels like I’ve worked for it for a long time.” Elizabeth said. “It’s that gratitude you wish you had in your freshman year or eighth grade when you started working for it.”
The salutatorian said ranking near the top of a graduating class is something that runs in her family, so she felt some pressure to do well. Her sister, Reyna, and her uncle both were valedictorians of their graduating classes, Elizabeth said.
Both students discussed some perspective they have gained along the way.
Naomi got a concussion while playing soccer her junior year and it forced her to take some time off of school. She also developed migraines and said she had to slowly build back up to her school work.
Online school was beneficial, said Naomi, because it helped ease some of the pressure she felt about catching up on her school work.
“It was hard because you can’t do school work while you have a concussion because it makes it worse,” Naomi said. “I would be stressed because I wasn’t doing my school work and was getting behind which didn’t help me recover from the concussion.”
Elizabeth did not deal with a sports injury but said she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after her sophomore year. She said it was challenging initially because she felt she was unable to participate in band or other activities to the same degree.
“I had to learn to balance that and I really felt that a lot of my freedom was being taken away,” Elizabeth said. “Now, I feel that I’ve grown with it so much and I’m more okay with and accepting of it.”
Both students said they would not be where they are today without the support of their teachers and family.
Princeton High School’s graduation ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 at the Allen Event Center, located at 200 East Stacy Road #1350 in Allen.
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