Class of 2020: Carroll County valedictorians, salutatorians honored

Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Signs outside Green Forest High School honor graduating seniors in the Class of 2020.
Scott Loftis / Carroll County News

By Haley Schichtl

The Berryville High School Class of 2020 has two valedictorians, Cecilia Doss and Shane Wilson, and JoDee Smith is the class salutatorian. At Green Forest, the valedictorian is Luis Mendez and the salutatorian is Kendall DeMeyer. At Eureka Springs, the valedictorian is Ethan Weems and the salutatorian is Grant Arnold.


“Me, Cecilia and JoDee actually kind of planned it,” co-valedictorian Shane Wilson said.

Wilson was class president and was on student council.

“Me and Cecilia will have to write a joint speech since we’re co-valedictorians, so we’re just waiting to see if we’re going to have graduation,” Wilson said. “We’ve been brainstorming ideas, so if we do have to write one, we’ll be prepared.”

Wilson said he wants his speech to focus on dealing with things not going the way they are expected.

“We plan on making light of the crazy situation while also providing some inspiration to our classmates for the future,” Doss said.

“Senior year didn’t end how we expected it to, but we’re going to be all right,” Wilson said. “I’m glad that they are still taking time to recognize us even though we might not have graduation.”

Wilson said he has been applying for jobs and has gotten some good offers locally.

“It is definitely an honor to be top of the class because it means my hard work has paid off,” Doss said. “I am even more excited to be at the top of the class with my best friends Shane and JoDee.”

Doss participated in cross country, basketball, track, Gifted and Talented, Youth Advisory Council, Junior Chamber Board, Key Club and National Honor Society. She said her weighted GPA is 4.2.

Doss said she plans on studying psychology at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan.

Smith said she did not expect to be recognized at the top of her class even though she and her friends worked toward it.

“I knew there was a possibility of Shane and Cecilia tying, but I did my best to not get my hopes up,” Smith said. “Keeping my expectations low really made this much more exciting and special.”

Smith participated in Key Club, FCCLA, Gifted and Talented, National Honor Society, Character Committee, Quiz Bowl and track, and was the manager of the girls’ basketball team. She finished with a GPA of about 4.16, she said.

Smith said she plans on waiting until a little closer to graduation before writing her speech.

“I hope to make my speech witty and lighthearted but still have a thoughtful message tied in,” Smith said.

Eureka Springs

“It feels pretty good I guess,” valedictorian Ethan Weems said. “I signed up for as many AP classes as I could and I was fortunate with how it worked out.”

Weems said he participated in chess, Quiz Bowl, mock trial, EAST, CyberPatriot, Renaissance and National Honor Society.

He said he and salutatorian Grant Arnold recorded a speech for a graduation video that Adam Louderback is putting together.

“If we end up having a traditional ceremony at some point, maybe I will write a speech,” Weems said.

Weems said he will attend the University of Arkansas and study mechanical engineering and German.

Arnold said counselor Rachal Hyatt told him his class rank was second at the end of his junior year, so he knew he would likely be salutatorian.

“It feels good to be recognized; however, it also feels that I earned it,” Arnold said.

Arnold said he plans to attend the University of Arkansas and major in biochemistry.

Green Forest

Valedictorian Luis Mendez said he made it his goal to be valedictorian.

“It’s a big accomplishment that I set from my freshman year,” Mendez said.

Mendez said he took eight AP classes in his high school career, and was involved in several extracurricular activities including Project Prevent Youth Coalition, student council, Beta Club and band.

Mendez said he plans to go to Harvard, but is undecided about his major.

“I have worked so hard on my school work over the last four years, and it’s nice to have something to show for it,” DeMeyer said. “There are so many smart kids in my class. It was a race between several of us for the top.”

DeMeyer said she was involved in Future Business Leaders of America, Project Prevent Youth Coalition, Beta Club, Renaissance and Gifted and Talented.

“I do not have my speech written yet, but I plan on writing one even if we don’t have a ceremony,” DeMeyer said. “My goal for the speech, especially since COVID, is to inspire the Tigers that are younger than me to get and stay involved.”

DeMeyer said if the school isn’t able to hold a traditional ceremony, she will probably post her speech on Facebook.

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