THOMASVILLE — The competition to top Thomasville High School’s class of 2022 has been intense — and friendly and beneficial.
Carson Cochran spoke to classmates as valedictorian Friday night at the THS gym, and Sydney Deutsch and Iris Allgrove were the co-salutatorians.
“The three of us are very good friends,” Cochran said. “Best friends,” one of the co-greeters chimed in.
And they readily admit that they jostle each other in class.
“We also challenge each other,” Cochran said. “We will get together and study together for different classes. If I don’t understand something, both will help me. It’s just nice to have friends as close as we are and to have the same rigorous classes.
“We’ve all shaped ourselves in a certain way,” Deutsch said.
All three are defined in their college plans. Cochran is heading to the University of Georgia to major in biology and minor in Spanish. Deutsch is also majoring in biology, on a pre-medical track. She’ll be down the street at Georgia Tech.
Allgrove is also going to Georgia Tech, and she plans to major in international business with a pre-law track.
Among their favorite classes is AP Literature, taught by venerable and veteran Scholars Academy English teacher Lynn Stowers.
“I really appreciate hearing her perspective on literature, and she really makes an effort to connect with her students,” Deutsch said. “I appreciate the experience she has and she takes care of us as if we were one of her own children. It was a really fun experience for me, being able to talk to him and hear his perspective on the world and literature.
“Between learning to write the way she would like us to and her personal anecdotes,” Cochran added, “I learned so much about English and life in general.”
“She lets us have fun,” Allgrove said. “But when people say she’s going to change the way you write, that’s no understatement. The way she prepares you for college is like no other teacher before. She challenges you and makes you better. You couldn’t ask for a better teacher and a better person.And she’s really funny.
It’s also a shared and common sense of humor, apparently.
“She’s sarcastic like the three of us,” Allgrove said.
“I think that’s how the three of us resonate with her,” Deutsch added. “She’s very outspoken.”
“Some days she’s like, ‘Iris, I’m going to put you in your place,'” Allgrove added.
Cochran also cited an AP Spanish course she took as one of her favorites. It was a small class and she didn’t know any of the other students until she joined.
“There were only four of us in person for the course,” she said. “So we all got really tight and had a lot of fun in that class. I didn’t know any of them before, but it was awesome.
Deutsch also pointed to an AP art history class she liked best and it came in handy during a recent trip to London. She and Cochran were part of a small group that spent spring break there, and it was memorable for more reasons than Cochran to have her phone stolen by one of London’s smart and skilled thieves.
They visited the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert and the Tate Modern among their stops. Deutsch and Cochran also took part in THS’ award-winning One Act Play, so they attended two West End musicals and a Shakespeare production during the trip.
Allgrove has his own trip across the Atlantic planned. She went to Paris last year with her grandmother. This year, she saved for a trip to Portugal, Spain, France, England and Italy.
Deutsch and Allgrove, as co-greeters, shared not only the wording of their speech, but also its pronunciation. They alternated the paragraphs.
Even if they approached the writing differently.
“I like to do them when they’re due,” Allgrove said. “Sydney likes to do them early.”
Deutsch and Cochran become friends again when they were just beginning to make friends.
“When I met Carson, we were 4 years old,” Deutsch said.
They started together at Busy Bear.
“We’ve been friends ever since,” Cochran said. “We have always been in the same classes.
“As we grew with each other, it didn’t start as an academic friendship, it was a friendship in general,” Deutsch said.
Allgrove moved to Thomasville from Miami. She’s gotten used to the pace of life in Thomasville — though saying y’all hasn’t entered her lexicon yet.
“I say, ‘you guys,'” Allgrove noted, though one of his sidekicks was quick to add, “Iris has acclimated very well.”
“After coming from a really big city and a pretty big college, it was kind of scary, just because it was so different,” Allgrove added. “But I also think that because you see the same people most of the time, you have to confront new ideas and new people. I think that’s the beauty of a small town, in a way. You cannot run away from your differences.
Although their high school education is now over, all three have expressed how much they enjoyed their experiences at Scholars Academy. Their heavy workloads – Deutsch had 17 AP classes, Cochran 16 and Allgrove 14 – paid off by allowing them to waive some of their college requirements.
“I had a good experience in high school,” Cochran said. “It’s been a lot of fun, especially this year, it’s been a lot of fun. I’m sad to see it end, but I’m also very excited for college. Our high school experience was great. As for the last four years, I had a very good experience in high school. It’s been about as good as it gets.
Cochran, also a cheerleader, pointed to the Thomasville football team’s Class AA state championship appearance as one of the highlights of the year.
“We have a strong arts program, strong academics and really strong sports,” Allgrove added.
Deutsch said the number of AP classes available wouldn’t have happened at any other school.
“I am so grateful to be able to attend Scholars Academy,” she said. “I was able to really push myself. I think it will ease the transition to higher level university courses. I am very grateful to be in this school. Having an environment where you can challenge yourself is super important and being around people who also challenge themselves.