Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Monroe Valedictorian Dreams Of Leading Nation

By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published June 4, 2009

With graduation a memory, high school seniors are now looking to the future. Four seniors from parishes in North Georgia achieved academic success and were recognized as class valedictorians. This week, a senior from Monroe is profiled. Three others were featured in the May 28 edition.

Jessica E. Alcorn, 17,

will attend the University of Georgia. The valedictorian at George Walton Academy, Monroe, is the daughter of Warren and Denise Alcorn and they are parishioners of St. Anna Church, Monroe.

GB: What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?

JEA: The greatest lesson from my high school years is to pursue anything and everything you take an interest in. I’ll reveal a secret and tell the world that I was the shyest person one could meet. I couldn’t even find the guts to go into flag line auditions the first time. I actually left the school, and finally returned after I convinced myself I would later regret my decision. Through exposing myself to things I was interested in, but not necessarily comfortable with, I gained many new skills.

GB: What is your proudest accomplishment in high school?

JEA: My proudest accomplishment during my entire high school experience occurred on the very last day—graduation. I received the Hearn Medallion. This medal doesn’t represent the student that always achieved the highest grades in the classroom or was always the best athlete. Instead, this is bestowed on the “best all around” graduate. I feel honored to be considered such.

GB: Name a favorite teacher and how the teacher inspired you.

JEA: My favorite teacher is most definitely Mrs. Jo Taylor, my AP language and literature teacher. Honestly, I was originally petrified because I had heard horror stories of what occurred in her room; however, I soon realized she was not the “Wicked Witch of the West”; she truly had our best interest in mind. No one can deny that she pushed us to our limits, but in the end we all emerged as better students and people. Because of her I feel I can take on virtually any challenge in life.

GB: What advice do you have for the Class of 2013?

JEA: The words I share with the Class of 2013 are the same advice I offered my very own class. In the timely words of Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” Often we are confronted with an array of opportunities to fail; however, recalling these words inspires hope. Regardless of what time period we are living in—next year, five years from now, 50 years from now or 500 years from now—this same problem will arise. We often give up before we have even tried.

GB: What is your favorite memory from high school?

JEA: My favorite memory from high school involves my participation with the marching band. Although we are a private school with a band of approximately 80 kids, we were granted the rare opportunity to perform in the Naval Academy stadium in Annapolis. We were one of the smallest bands under the lights. Everything seemed perfect. We were prepared and the adrenaline was pulsing through our bodies. Then, it started drizzling. Then, the drizzling turned into larger drops. Then, it turned into an absolute downpour. Since I’m on the color guard, spinning flags when your silk weighs nearly 20 pounds is no small feat. In the end, we had an absolute ball. I remember looking over at one of my fellow guard members near the end of the performance to see her laughing her head off. Regardless of our placement, this experience will be cherished in my mind forever.

GB: Describe your dream job.

JEA: When it comes to my dreams, the common response is that my goals are too lofty; however, I will share with you my dream job. I would love the opportunity to serve as Secretary of State. I try to stay current on politics. … I find it fascinating. For someone with a love like mine, serving in this role would be the premier accomplishment.