Haugh humbled by designation as valedictorian

Hardin Valley Academy senior Emily Haugh was humbled by her designation as valedictorian at HVA.

“I feel good about it,” she said. “I’m excited, of course.

“For a long time, I’ve placed a lot of work and emphasis on academics, so it’s nice to be acknowledged in that way.”

Still, Haugh pointed out, “I am aware there are some people (at HVA) who deserved it more than me.”

She related Dr. Ron Speas, HVA principal sat down Haugh and Iris Lee, the salutatorian, in the conference room to tell them the news.

“He had us keep on guessing things,” Haugh recalled. She and Li both were National Merit Scholars, “so we were guessing it was in relation to that.

“He never really told me I was valedictorian,” she recalled. “He told Iris that she was salutatorian, and I jokingly said that I must be valedictorian — either that, or I’m just here for emotional support. I guess it was kind of a joke.”

Learning she, in fact, was valedictorian, Haugh, daughter of Arthur and Marea Haugh and sister of Kate, Reed and Alison, of Farragut, recalled she mostly was concerned about other students she felt were more deserving.

”I was obviously very happy because I got to tell my parents about it and thought that’s fantastic, but that meant that there were other people who deserved it more than me who didn’t get it,” she said. “I was worried because I knew they wanted it.”

Haugh has been on the Science Bowl team for three years, participated in Project U and volunteered by geometry tutoring with Mu Alpha Theta, although not a member. She also assists in teaching the German class.

As she prepares to graduate from HVA Friday, May 27, Haugh said, “I really, really love Hardin Valley.”

When one of her sisters transferred from Farragut High School to HVA, Haugh, then a middle school student, followed, being grandfathered in, subsequently attending HVA.

“I think, objectively, … Hardin Valley is probably better at more of the liberal arts side ... but, the trade-off there was that the math classes were incredibly easy (at HVA),” Haugh added.

“But, I really loved the people there,” she said about HVA. “People are just so nice. There’s this feeling of ‘we can help each other’ …”

Through her school years, Haugh recalled a Farragut Middle School teacher who inspired her to venture into the higher level of honor science classes.

“She really helped me there because she really started pushing me toward those upper-level STEM classes,” the senior said.

After graduation, Haugh plans to attend University of Alabama, on a full-ride scholarship, and major in biomedical engineering with a goal of completing prerequisites for medical school. Eventually, she would like to go into medical research, she said.