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PHS announces valedictorian and salutatorian

With the final rank calculated for Princeton High School, the top two grads in the Class of 2022 have been announced. Naomi English is the valedictorian, and Elizabeth Samples is the salutatorian.

Naomi, who has attended Princeton schools her entire life, ended with a 5.36 GPA and will attend Tarleton University in Stephenville in the fall. She plans to pursue a degree in biology with an emphasis in zoology.

“I want to work with animals in some aspect,” Naomi said. “Possibly with wildlife rehabilitation or rescue.”

Naomi, who has been very active with soccer throughout high school, has also been involved with National Honor Society, Student Council. PALs and Patrol. In addition, she was an active Girl Scout and achieved the Silver Award through a project in which she made blankets for nursing home residents.

Even with these involvements, Naomi found time to excel in academics and was pleased when she learned she’d graduate at the top of her class.

“I was at a soccer tournament and my dad had to look up my rank on a laptop to find out,” she said. “My team cheered for me. It was a nice moment.”

Elizabeth, who has also attended Princeton schools her entire life, will finish her Princeton education with a 5.33 GPA. Being a top grad runs in the family, as her sister, Rayna, was the valedictorian in 2021.

Elizabeth plans to pursue a career in nursing through the BSN program at Collin College this fall.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do for the longest time,” Elizabeth said. “But after sophomore year I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and had my first hospital experience. I have learned so much through this and plan to continue my education until I become a nurse practitioner.”

Elizabeth has been very involved in band and choir throughout high school, and served as a section leader for the marching band. In addition, she was a leader with Student Council and served as the National Honor Society president.

Elizabeth was glad to learn the news that her hard work toward academic excellence had paid off.

“I was super happy and a little awestruck,” she said. “I’m really proud of where I am.”

This year's top two graduates agree that working toward becoming the valedictorian and salutatorian came with sacrifices, but they also acknowledge the satisfaction they felt for this accomplishment outweighs the price they paid.

“I had to do a lot of work because I didn’t want to lose my rank, and I always had to do my best,” Naomi said. “It took a little bit of a toll when I dropped to No. 2 for a semester, because all I thought about was how was I going to get back to No. 1.”

Naomi had some advice for the underclassmen.

“Make sure you enjoy your high school experience,” she said. “You can’t enjoy school and friends if you are too stressed out.”

Elizabeth shared her philosophy to help those students who are striving to do their best.

“No matter what they might do or what their interests and strengths are, everyone should be celebrated for what they bring to the table,” she said. “In the grand scheme of the world, that’s what matters.”