Black and Rivers selected Georgiana valedictorian, salutatorian

Published 3:17 pm Sunday, July 2, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Georgiana School held its 2023 graduation ceremony on May 19 and leading the graduates were valedictorian Timber Black and salutatorian Jakiriah Rivers.

Black began her studies at Georgiana in kindergarten. She said she has enjoyed being a part of a small, close knit school community.

“I have enjoyed the fact that everybody knows each other, and everybody supports each other,” Black said. “I hear stories of people graduating classes of 400 and they only knew 10 or 15 [other students]. I like that we all know each other, that we are all friends. Most of us have been here a long time. We all know each other and grew up together.”

Email newsletter signup

Black is the daughter of Dixie and Stacey Black. She lettered in softball for four years and was the school’s Girls State Representative.

Black completed dual enrollment classes at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College (LBW) and is a member of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She was a Distinguished Freshman Honor Student and Mu Alpha Theta member. She was active in the Student Government Association, National Honor Society, Beta Club, Peer Helpers, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and Continuous Improvement Plan Student Representatives.

Black plans to complete her studies at LBW, then transfer to Auburn University to pursue studies in agriculture and concentrate in farm management.

“All my life we’ve had cows and fish, always some kind of animals,” Black said. “My dad is an ag teacher. We rake hay in the summer, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I’m always working with him and learning about everything from him. It’s really interesting to me.”

Black hopes to study agriculture so that we can help other farm owners and learn more about the business side of farm management.

“I’m interested in connecting with a bunch of different people and helping out farm owners,” Black said. “Sometimes it’s frustrating to be on the business side, so I’m interested in seeing what it looks like from where all the information comes from.”

Counselor Allison Hall began her tenure at Georgiana when the two girls were in ninth grade and has watched them blossom into the young women they are today.

“In my first year as counselor, they were ninth graders,” Hall said. “I’ve seen them grow and mature into some awesome you ladies. They’ve done anything we asked them to do.”

Rivers entered Georgiana in the fourth grade. She is the daughter of Gene Rivers, Jr. and Shamekia Thompson.

At Georgiana, Rivers has participated in FBLA, the Beta Club, Mu Alpha Theta, SGA, and LBW’s Phi Theta Kappa. Rivers has also lettered in cheer, track, and softball and served as captain of the cheerleading squad and vice president of the senior class.

Rivers said she enjoyed studying English in high school and because of dual enrollment classes at LBW, graduated in May from high school and also from LBW with her associate in psychology degree. She plans to pursue a career in mental health, inspired by her own experiences with mental health professionals.

“I’ve finished my two-year degree and will transfer to the University of South Alabama to major in psychology,” Rivers said. “In 2018, I was in a car accident which led me to be diagnosed with PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder]. I was talking to my therapist and it went from me talking about the car accident to me wanting to know more about her job. I want to help other people get over that milestone in their mind.”

Hall said the students were chosen based on their Grade Point Average (GPA) and ACT score above 20.

“Students have to be an undergraduate and they both met the criteria,” Hall said. “They both got a 4.0 GPA and at least 20 on the ACT. Students with the highest of those two are selected for valedictorian and salutatorian.”

The school formed the Peer Helpers program in 2022 and according to Hall, Black and Rivers helped to spearhead the effort.

“They were some of the ones that spearheaded that program,” Hall said. “They have been great leaders. They’re ambassadors for the school in any programs we have. They have done a great job representing the school and I can’t wait to see what they offer back.”