Hiram High School named its two top students who both know the meaning of juggling academics, extracurriculars and life.
Valedictorian Ruthie Phillips, 18, is the daughter of Lisa and Tim Phillips of Hiram. Phillips graduated with a 4.0 grade point average, is Hiram’s STAR Student and plans to attend Shorter University in the fall to study music education.
Phillips is the fifth member of her family to receive the honor of valedictorian, following her father, mother and sisters Rebecca and Rachel.
“My family never put any pressure [on me] to be valedictorian,” she said. “It was the pressure I put on myself.”
Mrs. Phillips said Ruthie stayed at the top of her class in grades since ninth grade, which was the first year she entered the school system after being home schooled.
The difference in curriculum posed a challenge at first, Ruthie Phillips said.
“I think it [being home schooled] helped me because it taught me how to teach myself,” she said.
During high school she took eight advanced placement classes, and was a member of National Honor Society, Beta Club, and Spanish Honor Society, an organization for students with three years of Spanish classes. She was co-president of chorus, all-state chorus, honors chorus and was in the casts of the school’s musicals, all while working at Chick-fil-A.
Phillips gave a speech at graduation with a theme of how lives are measured.
“Life can just go by or you can live it,” she said.
Salutatorian Savannah Jordan, 18, of Rockmart, also graduated 4.0 and plans to attend Berry College to major in biology. She is the daughter of Kelli McCall and Landon Jordan.
Jordan played varsity basketball for four years, varsity volleyball for three and soccer for one year. She also was the treasurer of National Honor Society, a member of Beta Club and a recipient of the Georgia Certificate of Merit.
She said, “I had to be dedicated and manage my time.”
While practicing her sports and studying, she had to sacrifice spending time with friends.
Jordan said she plans to go into orthopedics after taking sports medicine and spending time with the school’s athletic trainer.
“I just love what she does,” she said.
Being salutatorian is an honor because all the hard work she has done has paid off, Jordan said.