Grayson Catlett, Zoey Greene Named 2021 Valedictorian, Salutatorian

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Blake Catlett

CATLETT NAMED VALEDICTORIAN, GREENE NAMED SALUTATORIAN — Zoey Greene adjusts Grayson Catlett’s graduation cap.

Landon Cook, Staff Writer

Valedictorian and salutatorian are highly coveted titles, bestowed every year to the top two performing members of their respected class. These people are the leaders, who present themselves with great dignity and honor, that sit atop some of the highest and most prestigious acknowledgements. 

The salutatorian for the class of 2021 is Zoey Greene. This honor is very special to her in many ways, giving her countless hours of work a true meaning and purpose.

Being salutatorian has always been important to me because I’ve always wanted to make a name for myself. I have always wanted to be different than my siblings and relatives,” said Greene. “For a long time I have dedicated my whole life to school, so getting second in class has made everything feel worth it. It is not very often that your dreams come true. This is a dream that I have watched come into play ever since I was in third grade.”

Greene has dedicated her time to the enhancement of the community and her academic excellence. Many hours of volunteering and community service, varying from Hall of Fame dinners to golf tournaments, have been put in to achieve such. Other services include being part of the Youth Leadership of Chattanooga, the Mayor’s Youth Council, and being a class officer in her four years at Central. She has also put in numerous hours into her schoolwork, allowing for her to attain a 4.0 GPA and 100.278 numeric average. 

Her ability to strive for greatness helps in the preparedness for the future. She plans on attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and majoring in Forensic Psychology, an intense academic study which requires six years of post-secondary school. For Greene, this area of expertise has always been the path for her: 

I have always had such a strong desire to help people. Being in this field will provide a way to help convicts get back on their desired way of life,” explained Greene.

Her biggest piece of advice for underclassmen would be to focus on your work, but find the time to enjoy every second you can. 

“Cherish the years that seem so awful. ‘Cause one day, You will look back and ask: What have I accomplished here? I wish I could say I have accomplished more than I have. Just live life before the life you knew can no longer be lived,” she said.

Greene has shown through her immense work, both inside and outside of the classroom, why she deserved to be the salutatorian of the class of 2021.

The valedictorian for the class of 2021 is Grayson Catlett. He has been a part of both Beta Club and National Honor Society, the junior representative at the SCOPE Conference, and participated in Model UN this year. He is very appreciative of receiving this award.

“I’m honored to be valedictorian. I don’t want to see it as a testament to me, but to all of the people that have mentored or stuck beside me in the past years, including my parents, my brother, Blake, and a lot of my friends,” said Catlett.

Catlett understands the magnitude of the feat that he has accomplished, but he also gives credit to the people around him.

“I obviously had to do the work myself, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without the relationships I’ve had. I want to thank them for all of it,” he said.

The future is also bright for Catlett, being that he has maintained a 4.0 GPA and has set his sights on attending the University of Pennsylvania, a prestigious Ivy League school. He plans to attend law school in the years following. 

There is one piece of advice that the valedictorian wished to share.

“Don’t let your school intelligence define you or hang over your head. It may be an integral part of our lives, but there is so much more to what we do in upcoming years that it isn’t the epitome of our time in high school,” said Catlett.

Both of the students receiving these honors are worthy, whether it be through their outstanding academics or their community service work. They will be remembered as two of the best to ever walk through the halls of Central High.