Hard work, challenging classes earn 5 students valedictorian honors

Posted at 12:11 AM, May 24, 2012

They are yearbook editors, athletes and musicians. This year's high school valedictorians are some of the state's best and brightest maintaining perfect grade-point averages while never relenting in their academic endeavors.

FOX 13 interviewed five valedictorians from Riverton and Alta High. Riverton High chose four students this year as valedictorians, where they are skipping the tradition of choosing just one.

Tanner Jones says he grew up in a family where education "always comes first."

"From a young age, that's what my mom taught me, so it's really important for me to do well in school and that's the number-one priority," said Tanner.

Jones was the only student in Utah to win the $20,000 Coca-Cola scholarship.

"The secret for me is allocating your time so you can fit everything in," says Tanner.

The Alta High senior is also an all-state basketball player and a part-time volunteer worker who spends several hours a week helping those with disabilities.

"I love seeing other people being happy. If I can make someone happy, that makes me so happy," says Tanner.

These successful students all agree high school was not easy because of the classes they took. Riverton High valedictorian Katelyn Pitchford says she likes the challenge of difficult classes.

"I chose classes that weren't going to be easy to challenge myself. And so it's been a lot of fun, it's been a lot of work," said Pitchford.

As these students prepare to graduate, many of them are already making plans to be very successful in life. They are heading to college, while some are planning to serve church missions.