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Top 2008 LCHS graduates have big plans

POSTED: June 11, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Alena Parker/

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With last year's state high school graduation rate at 72 percent, students who make it to the commencement stage are completing a statistical feat, regardless of class rank.
But about a month ago, Ethan Troha and Amy McGee found out their exceptionally above-average efforts have earned them the honor of leading Liberty High's class of 2008 as the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.
"It's something I've been striving for since middle school, really," Troha said after a little thought.
Troha explained how he watched his older brother go through high school not quite performing to his full potential. Troha wanted his time in high school to be different, deciding he would strive for excellence.  
Family also was a big motivator for McGee's academic success.
"My family's always had high expectations for me," she explained. "I'm the first child to go through high school so I wanted to set the bar as high as I could."
Aside from hitting the books, the two enriched their high school careers by playing sports and participating in various clubs.
Troha was active in the community through Young Adult Liberty Leaders, a service group connected with the United Way.
He also was this year's president of the Interact Club and president of the National Honor Society at LCHS.
McGee was a member of the National Honor Society as well. She played volleyball for all four years, serving as this year's team captain. McGee joined the weightlifting team, sang in honors chorus and was involved in drama.
Even though they are graduating with perfect 4.0 grade averages, both students say that earning a high school diploma, alone, is noteworthy.
At a time when many people don't complete a secondary education, Troha called a high school diploma "very important."
"I think everybody should at least finish high school, no matter if you go to college or not," Troha said. "Even if you don't have any college experience, they (employers) still want to know that you have a high school diploma."
McGee agreed, but also said high marks open a lot of opportunities to pursue higher learning.
"Doing your best in high school ensures that you get into a good college and good program for whatever you want to study for," she said.
The two standouts will remain in-state to continue their education.
McGee will be go to Mount Vernon in the fall to attend Brewton-Parker College; she plans to major in pre-med/biology and go into nursing.
She also will continue to play volleyball on a BPC athletic scholarship.
McGee said she choose to enter nursing because of the fulfillment and job satisfaction she has seen other nurses take away from their careers.
"I've known people who've been in nursing and they really enjoy it and they recommend it," McGee said.
Troha is heading to the University of Georgia to pursue a career as a forensic accountant.
He said he has "always been good with math," and majoring in accounting would help him utilize his strengths.
"I took an accounting class at Liberty ... and that kind of got me interested. Started the ball rolling," he explained.
Through all the work that it took to get Troha and McGee where they are, the two agreed that high school will leave a lasting impression.
"I'm going to miss all of the people, mostly," McGee said. "All my friends going different places and family in town. Just the familiarity and comfort that comes with being in a place for four years."
Troha is hoping to leave an imprint on his classmates with the valedictory speech he has planned.
"I just wanted to get across to all my peers that you need to do something with your life," he explained. "No matter what your parents want you to do, your friends want you to do, you need to do what you want to do and make something of your life."
Troha's parents are Steve and Marla Troha. McGee is the daughter of Keith and Holly McGee.

 

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