Third place was Kelly Daughtridge’s happy place.
But only for a fleeting moment. When she learned early in her high school career that class valedictorians and salutatorians had to give speeches, she decided third place was just the place for her. Her mom dispelled that notion pretty quickly, telling her that if she was smart enough to be first in her class, that should be the goal.
And so on Tuesday, the School of Health Sciences valedictorian will stand before her classmates and make her valedictory speech. She’s cool with it. “I’ve been thinking about it,” she said last month. “I’ve got some ideas of what I want to say, but I haven’t exactly written it down.”
The daughter of Mel and Linda Daughtridge of Zebulon, Kelly Daughtridge will graduate with a 4.75 grade point average in high school. Next fall she plans to study Psychology and Criminology at N.C. State, with an eye toward become a crime scene investigator. And, no, the idea didn’t come from the family of CSI shows, but from her own family, which includes several members in law enforcement.
Daughtridge has hardly been a one-dimensional bookworm during her time in high school. She sang in the Honor’s Chorale and played on the soccer team. She was an officer in the National Honor Society. Outside school, she points to her youth group at Zebulon United Methodist Church as a big influence. She’s been on mission trips she says gave her a hands-on way to practice her faith.
She says she managed to achieve academically because she avoided getting caught up in the drama of high school. “You can’t get too mixed up in that. High school is temporary, but what you learn is not,” Daughtridge said.