Graduation speeches are nothing new to Kristina Horne.
She gave one in 2010 as East Wake Academy’s eighth-grade valedictorian. She gave another, perhaps more memorable, as the EWA Senior Academy valedictorian during the school’s graduation ceremony at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts Thursday night.
Staying on top in the classroom has always been a priority for Horne, who boasts a 4.7 GPA and plans to attend UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall.
“I always put school first,” she said. “I guess I always wanted to prove to myself I could get scores that high in school ... wanting to be financially able to support myself and family when I’m older, and just wanting to be the best that I can be.”
Horne, the daughter of David and Karen Horne, says there’s no real secret to her success over the years beyond simply putting in the work.
She acknowledged staying in shape through dance classes helped her stay mentally fit. She also learned she’s most sharp early in the morning, so she set that time aside for school assignments that demanded greater attention.
“Just persevere and study hard,” she said. “You just have to commit, not do anything halfway, give your all to everything you do. I’m a perfectionist and I think that helped me kind of keep pushing along.”
Horne’s favorite subject is English and she confesses she is a bit of a bookworm. Her favorite reads are the Brontë sisters’ Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, and the Harry Potter series.
“Reading is one of my favorite things to do,” Horne said. “I’ve also enjoyed calculus, too, surprisingly. I’d always heard calculus to be the worst. I always heard English and history go good together and math and science, but I’m the other way around.”
Horne likes to spend her free time with her nose in a book or her eyes fixed on Netflix. Free time, however, is a precious commodity for the leader of the class.
Her extracurricular activities include classes at Massey School of Dance, and involvement with East Wake Academy’s dance ensemble, student council, National Honor Society (secretary), green club and healthy living club. She also volunteers with local blood drives and Habitat for Humanity projects.
She doesn’t have a motto, but offered one piece of advice.
“No matter what happens in life, you just have to deal with it and keep on,” she said.
Horne is undecided on a major at UNC. She is considering English, law, medicine and psychology.