Edna valedictorian meets goal to be top in graduating class
June 2, 2014 at 1:02 a.m.
EDNA - Jerod McCarrell knew he would graduate top of his class when he was 10 years old.
His older brother, Jamie McCarrell, had just walked across the stage as the Edna High School class of 1999 valedictorian, and one day, he would do the same.
"He's my role model," the 18-year-old Edna High School senior said. "And since he got it, I wanted to be valedictorian, too."
McCarrell will graduate Friday - meeting his goal - but said the path wasn't always easy.
"All of it took hard work," he said. "But this last year was the hardest."
He went into his senior year thinking he'd take some "chill classes," but instead he was loaded down with AP classes in English, chemistry and calculus, not to mention dual-credit college algebra.
"I thought, 'if I can't take the classes I want, I might as well take the classes I needed,'" he said.
Jerod McCarrell's drive to succeed is something his brothers and sisters all work toward. He shines through in everything he does - whether it be his personal fitness goals, sports or being a peer leader.
"We have a history in our family to strive to do better," Jamie McCarrell, 33, said. "I think there is a general sense of that in our family, but I think he has extra drive because of his mom passing away when he was younger."
Jerod McCarrell's mother died Christmas morning 2006.
"He has a good realization of purpose, and he works to his strengths," Jamie McCarrell said. "I think part of his drive has to do with the realization that life is not permanent."
Jerod McCarrell will attend the University of Texas, where he'll major in exercise science and minor in business management. He plans to continue his education by receiving a doctorate in orthopedics and work for a Methodist Sports Medicine.
His twin, Justin McCarrell, will attend Texas Tech in the fall to major in electrical engineering.
For now, Jerod is looking forward to college, a period of self-enlightenment, he said, "a time to figure out who I am and who I want people to perceive me."