Valedictorians Share Important Character Traits

Taylor Harper, Reporter

The four valedictorians of Bixby High School’s 100th graduating class have vastly different interests, but they share two common traits: hard work and determination.

Kyler Herron, Samantha Ledesma, Erica Martin and Jessica Shipman will all be speaking at this year’s graduation at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Mabee Center.

Graduating with a 4.9 GPA, they are all a part of outside school academic clubs as well.

Kyler Herron

Herron is involved in baseball, the academic team, and the Spanish club. He say he “always had it in the back of [my] mind to be valedictorian,” but it became a reality early in his senior year. Herron advises students in high school to start Advanced Placement classes early, especially if they plan on ranking high up in their class.

Herron adds that  “AP Biology II was definitely the hardest” class he has taken. However, a setback he faced earlier when he made a B in trigonometry. He says this fault helped him to improve his work ethic and strive to do better in his classes.

After graduation, Herron plans on studying entrepreneurship and venture management at OU,then attend law school.

Samantha Ledesma

Since she was 5 years old, Ledesma has had the dream of being a valedictorian in order to receive scholarships for college. She has been a woodwind lieutenant for The Pride Of Bixby marching band for two years. Her hard work in school has also allowed her to participate in the National Honor Society.

Some advice she would give high schoolers would be “to take classes that are difficult, but still keep you motivated enough to get through the obstacles.” She found her biggest struggles when she took AP English Language last year and AP English Literature this year, but she has “seen improvement these past two years.”

After high school, she plans on attending Rice University in Texas and studying biochemical engineering.

Erica Martin

Martin is vice president of the Class of 2017. She plans on majoring in political science and economics at the University of Tulsa. Her academics allow her to be involved in NHS, the academic team and the Spanish club.

She realized her junior year that she had a chance to be a valedictorian, but she has “just doing what I had done all along.” Some setbacks she faced was making a B in Spanish at Tulsa Community College and taking harder classes such as AP Psychology. This made her realize that she needed to continue studying and work hard in all aspects of school.

She advises other students who are striving to be valedictorian to never give up when it gets difficult. Also, “know your limits. Definitely push yourself, but don’t overwhelm yourself just because you want to be No. 1.”

Jessica Shipman

Shipman has had her eye on the prize to become valedictorian since seventh grade. She is also highly involved in band, FCA, NHS and the Tri-M choral group. Some setbacks she has faced was trying to keep up with homework when stress gets heavy outside of school. She says calculus and physics C were the hardest two classes she enrolled in.

“Take as many AP classes as you can handle,” she advises. “Also, study for tests and read the textbooks!”

After high school, she plans on attending Oklahoma State University and majoring in physics.