Hometown Pride — Beulah cheerleader proud to be Valedictorian

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2019

BEULAH — Beulah High School’s Class of 2019 Valedictorian Melissa Sanders’ key to success was constantly staying busy.

During her time at Beulah, Sanders was a member of Beta Club, Mu Alpha Theta, math team, scholar’s bowl, prom committee and the cheerleading squad.

“They definitely help as a student because they enrich whatever you’re doing in school,” Sanders said. “They help with leadership activities. I was able to manage my time because I worked hard, and I always tried to get through it. If we had a late basketball game, I would try to do my homework on the bus or during school, I would try to find a way to get it done. I wasn’t the kind of person that would just give up.”

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Sanders carries a weighted 4.3 grade point average into her final semester of high school. She scored a 33 on the ACT as a junior, improving on the 29 score as a sophomore.

“In class, I try to pay attention to everything and take good notes because if you don’t take good notes, then you can’t even study later with them,” Sanders said. “After school, before games, I would do my homework. On the weekends, I would study even when I didn’t have to, really learning the material inside and out really helps.”

Sanders will attend Auburn University in the fall to study pre-pharmacy.

“I’m really excited to start this new journey,” she said.

On average, she said she studies one to three hours a night.

“My work ethic definitely came from my parents,” Sanders said. “From a young age, they taught me how to read as a small child, and they always taught me to work hard and do your best. As long as you do your best, that’s all you can do and you can be proud of that if you put forth your best effort. I wouldn’t be here if they didn’t instill a hard work ethic in me at a young age.”

The cheerleading veteran is proud to represent her community at this year’s graduation. Her favorite high school memory came this past fall when the football team clinched a home playoff game for the first time in 23 years.

She vaguely remembers how many people she hugged as the game clock expired, and she said that it was all a blur.

Beulah is the place that she’s called home for as long as she can remember, and she’s thankful for all of the people she’s met along the way.

Sanders recalls junior year as the most stressful. She said with the several activities, preparing for the ACT and trying to figure out what she wanted to do at the next level were all contributors to the stress. She credits her support system at the school for getting her through the turbulent period.

“[Beulah cheer coach] Ms. [Suzanne] Fender has been everything. Beulah cannot survive without her,” Sanders said. “The community has really pulled together especially after our amazing, emotional football season. Beulah is a small town so we can get really close, and the community really knows each other inside and out.”