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South Haven top graduates look to the future

Kayley Gorham
Kelsey Hodgman

By Michael Reo

With their time in school behind them, the top students in South Haven High School’s graduating class are excited for the new opportunities their futures will bring.
Topping the class this year were Kayley Gorham and Kelsey Hodgman, who stood among 10 other graduates with grade point averages over 4.0. These students joined a larger group of 26 top honor graduates with GPAs over 3.75.
Gorham and Hodgman have a longstanding interest in science, and their future studies reflect that. Gorham will be going on to study biochemistry at the University of Michigan, while Hodgman will be studying chemistry at Butler University.
Both students previously competed together in Science Olympiad, a STEM-based tournament between schools across Michigan. Gorham and Hodgman took first in their forensics competition this year, being the only pair from South Haven to make it to the state competition.
Gorham said placing at the tournament, considering what she wants to do in her future, was very exciting.
“I remember at the award ceremony … [Hodgman] had to leave, so I was the only one there from that event, and they kept skipping over our event, so I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for them to call our event. They finally call our event, and I call her, and I’m like, ‘Kelsey, we got first,’ and she was screaming on the phone, telling her mom,” Gorham said. “It’s definitely something I won’t forget.”
Both graduates said they would miss their activities when going away to college. Hodgman — once a tennis player, record-holding bowler and member of the orchestra at the school — said it would be the only bittersweet part of leaving high school behind.
Although the high school does not celebrate valedictorian and salutatorian honors, Hodgman and Gorham still left their awards night May 31 with a fair amount of accomplishments. Among their awards and nominations, there were a couple that the pair were particularly proud of.
The Southwestern Athletic Conference bestowed Gorham with a scholar-athlete award, which she was proud of for recognizing her commitment to athletics and academics.
Hodgman received the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen award and the Critic Cup award, which she appreciated because of the thoughtfulness of those that considered her.
“Those are voted on by staff at the school, so it’s really special that they thought of me as someone to look up to,” Hodgman said.
After the ceremony, Gorham and Hodgman agreed that they were ready to move on to the next chapters of their lives. Gorham pointed out the change of pace that going to the University of Michigan would bring.
“I’ve lived in the middle of two cornfields my whole life, so I’m really excited to live city life,” Gorham said. “It’s gonna be a big change, but … I feel like it’s a change I need right now.”
Hodgman said she was excited “to meet new people and expand my knowledge” at Butler.
Gorham said there was a lot to look forward to, and while leaving high school was bittersweet, it was “part of life.”
“I’m just looking forward to starting over and trying new things, meeting new people and learning what I’m actually excited to learn about,” Gorham said. “I’m just really excited for that new experience and that new path of life.”

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