Streetsboro -- Elizabeth Nichols became Streetsboro High School valedictorian by edging her best friend, Amy Hatfield, the class salutatorian.
Nichols, who achieved a 4.438 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale, learned she was in line to become valedictorian a few weeks after students returned to classes following last Christmas break.
"I was honored [to finish as class valedictorian]," she said. "It was something [Amy and I would] joke about. In class, we'd say, 'I wonder who got the highest test score," but it wasn't serious."
Nichols said social studies was her favorite subject, while her favorite era is World War II through the Cold War.
"I like learning about American history -- about the past and how we live today," she said.
She said her favorite instructor was social studies teacher Robb Kidd.
Nichols said she always tried to give her best effort.
"I tried to work hard," she said. "My parents always stressed education was important. They said, 'Everything you turn in is a reflection of yourself, so you should always try to do the best of your ability.'"
Nichols also played defense on the Rockets varsity girls soccer team.
"I enjoyed it," she said. "We had a good team, and I really liked my teammates."
She was a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council and Beta Club, a service organization that volunteered for events like food drives.
Nichols will become a fourth-generation student at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in the fall.
She'll be following in the footsteps of her parents, Dan and Stacey, her grandfather, Doug Kirkland, and her late great-grandmother, Sarah Cannon.
She said she is undecided about what she'll study, but said it may be statistics.
Nichols has a younger brother, Ethan, who is finishing his sophomore year at Streetsboro High School, and a younger sister, Emily, who is finishing up her eighth-grade year at Streetsboro Middle School.
This summer, she'll be a camp counselor at Camp Wedgewood, a Girl Scout camp in Peninsula.
In her spare time, in addition to playing soccer, she dances at Lisa's School of Dance in Streetsboro.
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