Sun, Stringer achieve Fort Dale Academy top honors

Published 8:59 am Friday, June 23, 2023

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Fort Dale Academy (FDA) has selected Brody Stringer as valedictorian and Anna Son as salutatorian for the 2023 graduating class. 

Brody is the son of Russell and Jennifer Stringer and has attended Fort Dale Academy since his three-year-old kindergarten year. The lifelong Eagle said he enjoyed attending a small community school because of the close friendships he developed there.

“I and all my classmates have been friends the whole time,” Stringer said. “I enjoy being able to hang out with them and not feel out of place. I feel comfortable with everybody.”

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Brody enjoyed Eagle athletics and played football, basketball, and tennis during his time at FDA. He has also been active in the National Honor Society, Beta Club, and Mu Alpha Theta.

The student athlete competed with FDA’s math team and served as the senior class president.

In addition to athletic and extracurricular activities, Brody excelled academically, achieving a 4.3 weighted grade point average (GPA) and a 34 ACT super score, completing honors classes and dual enrollment at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College (LBW).

This fall, Stringer will attend Auburn University to study chemical engineering. He said he has wanted to be an engineer for as long as he can remember.

“I’ve pretty much always wanted to be an engineer,” Stringer said. “I’ve always been keen on building things. I’ve been working, helping my dad build stuff. When I started taking chemistry my junior year, that’s when I decided I wanted to be a chemical engineer.”

FDA teacher Marcia Paulk influenced his high school days, supporting him and other students in “doing the right thing.”

“Since the seventh grade, she has always been there for me,” Stringer said. “She always made sure we understood. She was our senior sponsor too and she has always been helping us and making sure we were doing the right thing.”

Seohyun Anna Son is the daughter of Patrick and Edie Son. She moved to Greenville from South Korea in 2013 when her father received an opportunity to work in America. The salutatorian has attended FDA ever since and graduated this year with a 4.29  weighted GPA.

The student athlete excelled academically and participated in cheer and tennis since the seventh grade.  She was also a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Mu Alpha Theta, and the Beta Club.

Son said she enjoyed attending the small school, which unlike her school in South Korea, allowed classmates to become close with one another.

“The thing I enjoyed most was probably that everyone was close,” Son said. “They all treat me like family even though I’m not from here. I think that is something only a small community school can provide.”

Son completed dual enrollment classes in history, English, speech, and art at LBW. She plans to attend Auburn University to study speech, language, and hearing sciences, a path inspired by her own transition between countries and the need to learn a second language.

“I made a transition of moving countries and having to learn a new language,” Son said. “I want to be a speech pathologist because I feel like I understand little kids who have to learn to pronounce and say certain words. That’s one of the things I struggled with the most when I first came here. So, I have been in their shoes. I feel like it’ll be more touching for me and I will enjoy the job since I’ve been through that too.”

Living in Alabama, especially in a small town, has been a different experience for Son, who said she has enjoyed the southern hospitality she experienced in Greenville.

“I wasn’t really used to everyone always saying, “‘Hi’ to me first, or saying, ‘Thank you,’ or ‘Have a good day,’” Son said. “I felt that people here have better manners. They have always treated me very nicely.”