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Hard work, dedication lifts Southside High Valedictorian

Jameriel Sturdivant figured the odds were stacked in her bid to become Valedictorian at Southside High School.

By the time the school year ended, Sturdivant found herself as the top senior in Southside’s Class of 2020.

“I was surprised to be named Valedictorian because we have so many smart students in our senior class,” Sturdivant said.

Finishing as the top student was the perfect way for Sturdivant to finish her high school career. She was also a cheerleader at Southside High.

“I’m proud of myself because I worked so hard to be named the class valedictorian,” Sturdivant said.

Sturdivant’s mother, Tammy Sturdivant, said she wasn’t surprised her daughter being named Southside’s top student.

“I believed in my daughter because she worked so hard to achieve being named valedictorian,” Tammy Sturdivant said. “She’s a hard worker, studious and a fast learner.”

The COVID-19 pandemic prematurely ended the school year on March 13 as Gov. Kay Ivey ordered the closing of K-12 schools statewide. Sturdivant said it was disappointing to finish school online.

“The coronavirus ending our school year was frustrating,” Sturdivant said. “We were looking forward to our senior class trip, the senior prank and the prom.”

Sturdivant, who finished with a 4.4 GPA and 20 ACT score, said she and her classmates appreciated Southside High Principal Cedric Brown for finding a way to have a graduation ceremony.

“I am so grateful that we had a graduation ceremony because of Principal Brown,” Sturdivant said. “He made it happen.”

The next step for Sturdivant is attending Auburn University in the fall, where she will major in Business Administration and Health Care.