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Archived Story

Two outstanding students deserve recognition

Published 6:00am Saturday, April 14, 2012

This week I had the privilege of talking to two girls who I believe are two of the most well-rounded and well-deserving teenagers I’ve met in a long time: Heather Cole and Sarah Hilliard.

One of them I’ve actually talked to before when I was interviewing her for one of our weekly Franklin’s Future articles. The other I just met this week.

Both girls are very polite and respectful, which is something I noticed right away. (Side note: I still have a hard time hearing someone younger than me call me “ma’am” because I just don’t feel like, at 25 years old, I have earned the title of “ma’am.” Nonetheless, I always notice when I’m referred to that way because calling people “sir” or “ma’am” is something that isn’t done as often as it once was.) But their polite nature wasn’t enough to garner enough of my attention to devote a column to how impressed I was with these two. I meet plenty of polite teens.

Both of these girls are hard workers. I was interviewing them about scholarships they both received because of their dedication to both athletics and academics – something that takes a definite commitment to work hard in order to excel. But their work ethic wasn’t the only reason I felt the need to tell the Times readership about these two high school seniors.

Both Sarah and Heather are smart. Part of the qualification for the scholarships they received was to have excellent grades while still participating in high school sporting events. But their intelligence is only a small facet of what makes them special.

These girls are also goal-oriented. Sarah set her sights on being valedictorian of her graduating class and attained that goal. After surviving one of the worst tornadoes to come through the United States last year, Heather set her sights on walking and playing softball again and she made that happen. And when you talk to both these girls, you can tell they have good heads on their shoulders and they know where they want to go and what they want to do with their lives. But being goal-oriented isn’t everything.

What really makes these girls so special in my opinion is that in addition to being polite, hard workers, intelligent and goal-oriented, Sarah and Heather are also a rarity. It is very rare that you find all these characteristics and more in the teenage realm these days because of the plague of back-talking teens that have watched one too many episodes of the Jersey Shore and take their cues of etiquette and grace from the pages of Paris Hilton’s diary.

I don’t normally devote entire columns to talking about the local people I meet in a week’s time because I meet so many interesting and fun people that I couldn’t possibly name them all, but I thought, considering the great achievements these girls have been recognized for this week, that it would be appropriate to let people know that their recognition isn’t just a case of someone fooling the system into thinking they are deserving of any such honor, but a genuine case of two bright and talented girls that Franklin County should be proud to call their own.

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