Emily Cotton’s sense of adventure will land her in Florida for a post-high school education

Cotton, 18, is Victoria West High School’s salutatorian.

“It’s definitely a really cool thing to have,” she said. “It’s a great accomplishment. It’s really exciting.”

She and her peers will walk the stage 8 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The graduation will be held in the full, traditional format. Students will do a traditional processional and recessional as they enter and exit the stadium.

Face masks will not be required at the stadium.

Cotton always wanted to be at the top of her class. It was a goal she set for herself early in her high school career.

As a freshman, she attended a graduation and wanted her parents to be among the ones who sat on the field to watch her walk the stage, she said.

“It’s so exciting. I’m so proud,” she said.

A weight has been lifted off her shoulders now that she was named the class salutatorian, she said.

While in school, Cotton played on the varsity tennis team and excelled in art. She also participated in UIL academics, student council and National Honor Society. Cotton worked outside of school, too, at the Pet Resort on Main.

“I’m pretty busy all the time,” she said.

One of her favorite high school memories though was being a “senior overall girl,” she said. It is a West tradition that senior girls decorate a pair of overalls to wear to all the varsity football games.

After graduation, Cotton plans to attend the University of Miami where she will study oceanography and biology.

She isn’t sure what career she wants to pursue, but she knows it will involve the environment.

“I’m passionate about saving the world around us,” she said.

West’s art teacher, Sarah Ardner, taught Cotton for one year, but their relationship in the classroom evolved.

“I’ve become more of a facilitator for her. She really takes ownership of her education,” she said. “It’s almost like a partnership.”

Outside of art class, Ardner said Cotton maintains excellence in everything she does.

“Her work ethic is just top notch,” she said. “Excellence is really important to her. She deserves it, and she works for it.”

Ardner said it wasn’t raw talent that got Cotton to the top of her class but hard work. For every point, Cotton studied late and often.

“It wasn’t just that she is highly intelligent. There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that went into this honor,” she said.

Ardner is not surprised at Cotton’s plans to attend college out of state. Cotton is brave and adventurous in everything she does, and she is a wanderer.

“She is one of the most well-rounded diverse students I’ve ever had in 16 years,” she said. “We don’t get a whole lot of students that are artistic and athletic and so brave and adventurous.”

Recommended For You

Samantha Douty is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She grew up in Corpus Christi and graduated from UT-Arlington with a bachelor's in journalism.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.


Samantha Douty is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She grew up in Corpus Christi and graduated from UT-Arlington with a bachelor's in journalism.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Transparency. Your full name is required.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. And receive photos, videos of what you see.
Don’t be a troll. Don’t be a troll. Don’t post inflammatory or off-topic messages, or personal attacks.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.

To subscribe, click here. Already a subscriber? Click here.