by Nicole Reitz
Taylor Beckwith and Adrienne Shortslef, seniors at Hannibal High School, have been named as this year’s valedictorian and salutatorian.
Beckwith, daughter of Scott and Kimberly Beckwith of Hannibal, will attend Hillsdale College in Michigan and major in chemistry. She was attracted to the school’s graduate programs and small campus.
She also received a $6,000 a year merit scholarship from the college.
Beckwith is going for Hillsdale’s pre-med program and hopes to become a surgeon. She discovered that she wanted to become a surgeon during the dissection unit in biology.
“Everyone in our group was afraid of doing it, but I had a ball and loved it,” said Beckwith.
She did not always want to be a surgeon. Beckwith said that she went through a phase where she wanted to be a marine biologist. She lost interest after realizing that the job requires diving, something she has a fear of.
Beckwith’s favorite subjects are chemistry, followed by calculus. “I like puzzle solving and with chemistry everything just clicks and fits together, whereas English is more interpretive,” she said. “I like things to be exact and calculated.”
For the past four years, Beckwith has been a part of the ski club. She has also participated in a writer’s open forum, OCAY League and National Honor Society.
As part of the National Honor Society, Beckwith was required to do a five-hour service project. She volunteered at Fairley Elementary School’s Celebration Day and helped out with the sports boosters, running the snack bar during games.
Beckwith is looking forward to more freedom in college and more input in the classes she takes. She also wants to take advantage of the nearly free piano lessons offered to Hillsdale students. Beckwith has been playing piano since elementary school.
She will miss her best friends Megan and Colleen, who will be attending school in Buffalo.
“I will miss being around here (Hannibal) and seeing the same faces passing in the hallway,” she said.
Beckwith’s most memorable teacher was Mrs. Dunn, her Spanish teacher who retired last year. “She was so enthusiastic, she’d always make comments in Spanish that some of the class wouldn’t understand,” she noted.
Beckwith credited her love of learning to her parents. “I think my dad has been my biggest influence education wise,” she noted. “He’s always told me to work hard and taught me to think for myself and how to figure things out on my own without being dependent on people.”
Shortslef, daughter of Lisa and Chas Shortslef of Sterling, will attend the Albany College of Pharmacy in the fall and work towards her doctor of pharmacy degree.
She chose Albany because of its small size and the opportunity to take mostly pharmacy courses without many general education courses.
To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.