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Calvert County’s 2014 valedictorians may come from different schools, but they have many similarities. Some have a history of valedictorians in their families. Some are heading off to the same school and two are twins.
The six valedictorians from the county’s five high schools — Northern, Huntingtown, Calvert, Patuxent and The Calverton School — worked hard to earn the top spot throughout their high school careers and are now looking forward to new college surroundings, meeting new people and having new experiences.
Meredith McAneny, 18, Calverton’s co-valedictorian — as she shared the title with her twin sister, Elizabeth — said she is looking forward to meeting new and open-minded people when she attends Barnard College, affiliated with Columbia University, in New York City.
“I like listening to other people’s viewpoints on things and having conversations with different people,” Meredith McAneny said.
Though she said she will miss her small school setting at Calverton, where she felt her teachers genuinely cared about her and her peers, she will not be too lonely with Elizabeth, 18, attending the same college as her.
“We’re not rooming together, but I think it will be fun,” Elizabeth McAneny said of attending college with her twin sister.
The twins’ older sister, Amanda, was Calverton’s 2012 valedictorian and currently attends Wake Forest University.
Meredith said it was healthy competition, rather than rivalry, that inspired her and her sister.
“I definitely think because we’re twins we would compete with each other,” Meredith said. “It was healthy competition. We helped to push each other.”
Elizabeth said the girls tied for valedictorian because their grade point averages were barely different.
The Chesapeake Beach residents are looking forward to all that life in the Big Apple brings, including volunteering opportunities to work with the youth and those in need in addition to opportunities to participate in the arts.
“I really wanted a change of scenery. I was kind of tired of the small-town scene,” Meredith said. “I wanted something new.”
While both girls are undecided about what they will major in at Barnard, Meredith said she is thinking about human rights or economics and Elizabeth is thinking about dance.
Chris Noyes, 18, Northern High School’s valedictorian, shares the McAnenys’ thirst for new experiences.
“I really want to explore different places and really get out of the slowness of Calvert County,” Noyes said. “I really just want to go experience new things.”
The Chesapeake Beach resident will attend Brown University in Providence, R.I., in the fall, along with Huntingtown High’s valedictorian, Vince Kubala.
The two will be studying biochemistry and applied mathematics, respectively, and knew early in their high school careers that being valedictorian was an attainable goal, even though their closest friends were their biggest competition.
“I’ll miss hanging out with all my friends, and I’ll miss the teachers at Northern,” Noyes said.
“I’m going to miss the weather come winter because it is cold up there,” Kubala, of Huntingtown, said. “I’m going to miss the people — my dad, my friends I’ve made here — that’s definitely what I’ll miss the most.”
Noyes said he plans to be a doctor, though he is uncertain about the specialty. Kubala said he wants to study what interests him so his career will be based on his choices in the future.
“I want to have a career that’s based on the future me I’m going to become and not have the future me be based on a career choice I make now,” Kubala said.
Casey Young, 18, of St. Leonard will be traveling the farthest for college. The valedictorian of Calvert High School’s 2014 graduating class will be studying bioengineering at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C.
“I’m excited to be immersed in a somewhat different culture, but I’m nervous to be 10 hours away from home,” Young said.
The first valedictorian in her family, Young said she found out her No. 1 class ranking her junior year of high school but was unsure whether she would be able to hold onto it.
“I felt relieved and excited to find out because it’s kind of like a race, where it’s the final sprint, and you don’t want to trip at the finish line,” Young said of her senior year. “So, finals were stressful.”
Young hopes to pursue a career working with surgical robotics in the medical field, and she already has some experience after interning with the government at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station working with electromagnetic radiation testing.
In addition to her close friends, Young said she will miss living by the Chesapeake Bay.
“You don’t get scenery like this in most other places,” Young said.
Also interested in science is Patuxent High School’s 2014 valedictorian, Carolyn Winston, 18.
The Lusby resident will be studying biology at Johns Hopkins University in the fall.
“I’m really interested in genetics, so I think it’d be cool to work with that, but I might also do pre-med and be a research doctor or something,” Winston said.
The fourth generation valedictorian comes from a long line of high achievers.
Winston’s great-grandfather, Lloyd Heggen, was valedictorian at Abernathy High School in Abernathy, Texas, in 1934; her grandmother, Bonny Winston, was valedictorian at Mercedes High School in Mercedes, Texas, in 1958; her mother, Lucille Winston, was valedictorian at Elk Lake High School in Dimock, Pa., in 1986.
“I never really felt pressured to be valedictorian or anything, but I think it’s just really cool to know that,” Winston said of her family’s valedictorian lineage. “It feels like I’m carrying on a family tradition.”
Winston said she will not be going too far away for college so she will still be able to see her friends and family but will miss her high school teachers. She also hopes to make new friends in college. New experiences and opportunities to travel through studying abroad are what she looks forward to most.
“Overall, I’m excited to do something new,” Winston said.