Alexander High School celebrated its 2021 senior class at graduation last week, among the graduates were three bright young academics – a salutatorian and two co-valedictorians, whose goals range from high career aspirations to carrying on a family legacy.
Salutatorian Lincoln Meyer and co-Valedictorians Emily Scott and Ella Busch have all now left Alexander High School behind and have their eyes set on higher education.
This fall, Lincoln will be heading towards Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. While at the private university, Lincoln intends to study accounting, a field he has an interest in, though he would not describe his pursuit as an ultimate life goal, as many of his peers do with their future career ambitions.
“I’m a little different. My biggest goal is to get through school, get a stable job and be able to like, start a family,” Lincoln said. “Accounting and tax stuff, or whatever, is a means to an end for me. That’s really my end goal – having that legacy after me.”
Lincoln, who has three younger siblings, says that family has always been important to him and he credits his late grandmother as being a lasting influence on his education, as he received an inheritance to help fund his college education.
“My family that is not even alive anymore is kind of helping me down this path. I feel like one way to honor them is to continue to honor the Meyer family.”
Family connections were a motivating factor for the co-valedictorians as well.
Emily plans on studying biochemistry at Ohio University, someday she hopes to be either a psychiatrist or an optometrist, stating that studying biochemistry will allow her a wide path of options to chose from.
“Science is something I’ve always been interested in, and being a physician is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Emily said.
According to Emily, her sister shares her love of science, which helped to foster the interest at a young age. In fact, Emily’s sister, a co-valedictorian when she graduated, helped to motivate her towards her path.
“She’s actually the reason I strived so hard to be valedictorian,” Emily said.
For Ella, being a good student was almost inevitable. Her mother, Becky Busch, teaches English at Alexander High School, additionally, her grandfather was a college professor. With that kind of educational pedigree, surely her academics were held to a higher standard.
“Basically, every piece of important writing I had to do was thoroughly edited before I turned it in,” Ella said with a laugh. The only exception? When she was a student in her mother’s 10th grade English class.
“I wasn’t allowed to just walk into the living room and just be like, ‘Mom, please help me edit my essay,’ I had to go through the normal channels and go up to her desk.”
The rigorous editing must have paid off, as Ella is aiming high with her career goals. She will be studying public policy analysis at Ohio State University with the hopes of attending law school afterward.
“(I will) hopefully have a career where I get to advocate somewhat. Lately, I’ve been interested in bail reform.”
All three students feel that Alexander prepared them well for college.
“They (the teachers) are very passionate about learning, which makes the students passionate as well. They push us to do our best,” Emily said.
Lincoln pointed out that the school district is blessed with what it has.
“You know, out here in Albany, there’s not a ton of money around here and luckily we have good teachers and good facilities,” he said. “Even without all the special extra kind of classes and opportunities, the teachers and students still find ways to be passionate and get that good, solid, education to continue on.”
All three students have had to face their final years of high school in a way they never imagined thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emily finished out her education completely online, having elected not to return to in-person classes.
“I don’t really feel like I missed out on too much,” she said, stating that she still managed to connect with her friends.
Ella and Lincoln did return to classes.
For Ella the choice was simple as her mother would be returning to teach, so the family exposure was already being risked. She was grateful for the chance to return for educational reasons.
“I’m glad I came back because I don’t think I could have done calculus and physics alone at home,” Ella said.
Lincoln agreed, though said his experience was a little different as he was only in-person a few days a week. For him, the difference in how in-person education changed was difficult, and he really worried about how his younger siblings must have felt going through it at a younger age. In particular, he was affected by the separations that were necessary due to the pandemic.
“In French class, I’m in a corner and there’s a divider...sometimes it feels like I’m in a box,” Lincoln said.
The three young people all jumped at the opportunity to get the vaccine as soon as they were able to and are now enjoying easing into the re-entry into society part of the pandemic, particularly with graduation. Each had plans to have family get-togethers to celebrate.
Though Lincoln, Emily and Ella certainly did not have the traditional senior year experience, the three persevered and are now looking to a brighter tomorrow and bigger challenges at college. Given what they’ve survived already, they are sure to thrive in their next steps.