Sydney Claire Washburn was announced this week as valedictorian and Andrew Bryan Westlund as salutatorian of SSHS Senior Class of 2020.
Sulphur Springs High School Principal Derek Driver made the announcement for the top honor graduates at a small gathering, with social distancing observed, in front of the high school Monday morning.
Valedictorian Sydney Washburn, daughter of Troy and Kris Lopez and Scott and Ashley Washburn, finishes her career at SSHS with a 4.0 grade point average.
During an interview this week, Washburn expressed appreciation to her teachers for not only helping her to be successful but to grow as a person as well. She gives special credit to Renee Maeker, her Spanish teacher for the last three years. This year being in a class of two students allowed them to become closer, she noted.
“It’s just nice. She’s very involved. She cares about me as a person as well as a student,” Washburn said of Maeker.
During high school, Washburn competed in academic UIL and was a state finalist in the Barbara Jordan essay competition. She served as president of the National Honor Society, and was a member of the Key Club, Student Council and Hopkins County Leadership group. She also enjoyed working with friends in putting on a dress code talent show the first day of senior year.
Washburn has been active in athletics during her time at SSHS, playing volleyball, and running cross country and track. She was recognized as a four-year regional qualifier, served as team captain and for three years was named MVP in varsity cross country. Washburn qualified for area three years and region one year in varsity track. In varsity volleyball, she was named Second Team all District. She also was recognized for Academic All-State.
The 2020 SSHS valedictorian said while she considered participating in games and meets fun, her sports activity in college will likely be through participation in intramural events and she will probably run on her own. She plans to focus more on academics than running when she attends Baylor University in the fall.
She has been awarded three scholarships to apply toward her studies at Baylor, where she will major in medical humanities and religion. She wants to become a pediatrician, so she can work as an international missionary.
“I’ve always been interested in health care. A missionary came to our church a few years ago and I just knew that that’s what I wanted to do. We went to Kenya in December and January, and I just loved it. So I knew that is where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do,” Washburn said.
While she loved Kenya, she said is will go “wherever the Lord sends me.”
The 2020 valedictorian likes children and views becoming a pediatrician as “an opportunity to provide a more general care in areas that need it.”
Washburn offers appreciation to her family, for their support and encouragement. They help calm her when her homework get hard. She comes from a large immediate family: two sets of parents, three sisters and a brother were in attendance at the honors announcement Monday to show see her recognized. She expressed appreciation to her siblings, who have a knack for making her laugh.
“I really have just enjoyed being able to grow up with them and having some of my best friends be my siblings. My parents, they are just the best. They sacrifice so much for me my siblings. I am so thankful for all that they have done for us,” she said.
When congratulated for being named valedictorian, Washburn is quick to point out where credit for the honor is due. She said it’s important to her that people known, “It’s not about me. Truly the Lord has put me in this position, and I just want to give all the credit to Him, because without Him, this means nothing,” Washburn said, adding, that for her it’s an opportunity to be “thankful for this opportunity to recognize that it is from the Lord.”
Sulphur Springs High School also announced Andrew Bryan Westlund as the SSHS Senior Class of 2020 salutatorian.
Westlund, who was unable to attend the honors annoucement Monday, graduates with a 3.96 GPA. He is the son of Daniel Westlund and Misty Westlund.
The 2020 SSHS salutatorian too has been active in school activities.
Westlund achieved successes in UIL competition. He was a member of the state championship literary criticism team. He competed in UIL number sense and computer science.
He includes among his achievements serving as co-founder of a Destination Imagination team.
The salutatorian is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Leadership group and National Honor Society.
A member of the SSHS Wildcat Band, Westlund also served as tuba section leader. He too lends his musical skills as the church pianist. He’s also a Sunday school helper and was a Summer Camp intern.
Westlund plan to attend Oral Roberts University, where he will study to become a quantum computer programmer.