By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published June 9, 2011
Jessica Tripp graduated at the top of her class at Eagle’s Landing High School and has her eyes on a future as a lawyer.
She aims to study English in college, but her long-term goal is to move to Boston and work as a lawyer.
“I fell in love with Boston. One day I hope to go to Harvard Law School. I’m kind of an idealist. I think I’ll be able to help people live up to the ideals our country was founded on,” said Jessica.
She finished her academic career at the McDonough high school where she found her niche in the performing arts, from chorus and the color guard to drama.
“I love the idea of physically expressing music through our flags and our body movements. Drama was also really important to me throughout high school. It is a great way to escape reality and you get to be someone totally different for a while,” she wrote by e-mail.
She is the only daughter of Tonya and Stanley Tripp. Her mom is the treasurer of the Clayton County city of Lake City and her dad is a supervisor at Caterpillar, Inc.
Jessica joined the Catholic Church in seventh grade at St. Philip Benizi Church, in Jonesboro. She now worships at St. James Church, in McDonough, with her grandmother, Jean Tripp.
“I love being Catholic. I love the whole way we worship. It feels very homey to me,” said Jessica, who is 18.
One of her most significant faith experiences in high school was going with her best friend to the 2010 Eucharistic Congress. The whole experience really heightened her faith, Jessica said.
Eagle’s Landing High School is in Henry County where some 230 students graduated in the Class of 2011. At the May 27 graduation, Jessica’s valedictory speech quoted from the American author Og Mandino along with Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore: “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Jessica told her classmates: “Keep your hearts and your minds open because we are all about to receive a blank slate upon which we will compose the fabulous stories of our lives. Become whatever you want to be, and never be afraid to dream,” she said.
She is to attend Truman State University, in Kirksville, Mo., where she plans to study English. An avid reader, “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy ranks as one of her favorite books. She said her English teacher Barbara Rosolino influenced her and made her want to major in English.
Her best advice for freshman is not to procrastinate.
“It is so easy to do and even if you do well, there is always a chance to do better, especially when you use your time wisely,” she said.
She’ll be spending some time in Ireland during the summer and then heading to college. “I am going to miss my friends and high school in general, but I am truly excited for college and I can’t wait to learn all I can at Truman State,” she wrote.