Woodall ‘Val,’ Cotten ‘Sal’ at CAK

Christian Academy of Knoxville announced in a press release its Class of 2023 Valedictorian is Sydney Woodall and the Salutatorian is Anya Cotten.

Woodall is described as having “a heart for math, science and children.” She is a member of Mu Alpha Theta and has been a member of the National Honor Society since her sophomore year.

She has been recognized as an AP Scholar with honors and has taken nine AP courses. For her senior capstone, she volunteered for Safe Families for Children and Great Starts of Knoxville.

Woodall has attended CAK since 2016 and has many fond memories of being on the homecoming court several times. She said her favorite school memory was the middle school trip to Charleston, South Carolina.

Outside of school, Woodall is a member of the Knoxville Junior Assembly and has served as the treasurer on its board. She attends New Life Gathering, and her favorite Bible verses are Romans 6:10-11.

She is the daughter of Nathan and Kathryn Woodall, who state in a press release, “Our family is incredibly proud of Sydney’s hard work and academic accomplishments — and most of all, her kind and genuine heart.

“We are so thankful for the strong faith-based community and the excellent academic instruction she has received from CAK,” they added. “We are excited to see how God continues to use her gifts and talents in the future.”

“I am tremendously grateful for the Christ-centered education I have received at CAK.” Woodall said. “It has challenged me to worship God in all aspects of my life, including academics. I have been blessed with the most amazing teachers that have pushed me to become a better student and person, and I will never forget the relationships I’ve developed over the years.

“My hope and prayers are for Christ to remain at the center of all things as I enter the next stage of life,” she added. “I’m beyond thankful that I’ve had the practice of incorporating faith into every facet of my life because of CAK.”

Sydney plans to attend the University of Tennessee, where she has been accepted into the Honors Program. She plans to become a doctor and specialize in women’s health.

Anya Cotten

Cotten is described as excelling “not only academically, but in many extracurricular activities as well.” She is a National Merit Commended Scholar and a three-year member of the National Honors Society, in which she has served as treasurer.

Cotton also is described as “giving back to her school in many ways.”

She is a senior officer for the CAK Student Senate and also is a teen advisor. For her senior capstone project, she served as a Young Life work crew member at Trail West Lodge in Colorado for a month.

Athletically, Cotten played on the school’s volleyball team for four years and held the role of captain. She’s also played tennis the last three years, earning a trip to the state finals her sophomore year.

Outside of school, Cotten is a member of the Knoxville Junior Assembly and is heavily involved in Young Life. She attends Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church with her family.

She is the daughter of Dan and Darcie Cotton.

“We are thankful for the last 12 years Anya has spent at CAK. Throughout her journey, it has been a blessing to see how teachers, staff, and coaches have poured into her spiritually, academically, and personally,” her parents stated in a press release.

“The opportunities that she has been afforded while attending CAK have helped mold her into the woman she is today. We feel she is adequately prepared to enter her next chapter and are excited to see her use her God-given talents in all she does,” her parents added.

“As I look back on my time at CAK, I am so thankful,” Cotton said. “Thankful for the lifelong friends I’ve made, the teachers that have poured into me and the memories that I have made that will stay with me forever.

“I am especially thankful for the Biblical perspective that has been provided and emphasized through every aspect of my education and time at CAK,” she added.

The salutatorian plans to attend the University of Tennessee and major in biology, with a medical career in mind.

She also plans on getting involved in a sorority, Young Life, and other campus ministries.