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16-year-old salutatorian ready for college

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
May 31, 2012 at 12:31 a.m.
Updated June 1, 2012 at 1:01 a.m.

Faith Academy salutatorian Shelby Brown said she is anything but shy. The graduating senior was the lead in the school's production of "The Sound of Music" as well as a member of the choir and a catcher on the softball team. Shelby will attend the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to study math and hopes to one day be a math teacher.


Who says second place isn't as good as first?

Not Shelby Brown.

The Faith Academy salutatorian, who will help send off her classmates at Sunday's commencement ceremony at Faith Family Church, is enjoying her runner-up class placement.

"At first I was" disappointed "that I didn't get valedictorian. But then I was excited because I got to give a speech," said the 16-year-old Shelby, who missed the valedictorian spot by a fraction of a percentage point.

"After elementary, I knew it was either going to be me or" Emmitt Reinke. "We've been going back and forth with valedictorian and salutatorian since seventh grade. He beat me by .0437."

At the start of the senior year, Shelby laid out several goals for herself that she wanted to achieve by the end of her last semester, which included going to the state championship with her softball team, and being cast as lead in the school play.

"I reached every goal except getting valedictorian. But I made salutatorian, and there's nothing wrong with second place," she said.

While in high school, Shelby served on Chapel Team, National Honor Society, choir, and was the lead in the school's production of "The Sound of Music." She was also a basketball wing, and played catcher on the softball team, which made school history this year after reaching the TAPPS state tournament for the first time.

With so many achievements, Shelby said she wants to encourage others to achieve similar success in their own lives.

"The main thing I'm going to tell my classmates is to reach for your goals," she said.

In the fall, Shelby plans to attend the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to pursue a degree in mathematics. Her education will be paid for with multiple academic and leadership scholarships totaling more than $96,000.

"I want to be a high school math teacher and eventually be a principal," she said. "I hope in the next 10 years I graduate on the dean's list, get married and I'm teaching high school kids. I want to be one of those teachers who makes a difference in the kids' lives."

The days after graduation, however, Shelby simply wants to progress to the next chapter of life.

"I want to start a life of my own, grow up and plan a future, and start making a difference," she said. "I will definitely miss the people and all my friends I've had forever."



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