Jillian Gregg and Alexa Blackwell have been named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, for the Parke Heritage High School Class of 2021. The graduation ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. May 29.
Gregg is the daughter of Brad and Samantha Gregg of Marshall. She plans to attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to major in biomedical engineering and continue her volleyball career.
During her high school career, she has been a member of the volleyball team including the sectional championship team her senior year. She has been named All-Wabash River Conference, All-Banks of the Wabash Tournament Team and served as team captain. She reached the milestone of over 1,000 assists during her senior season. She also played on the Circle City Volleyball Club for nine years and has been a member of the PHHS tennis team for three years.
Her academic awards include Academic All-State Athlete for volleyball and Distinguished Honor Roll for all four years. She earned Academic Achievement Awards for Spanish III, Biology II, Government and AP Language and Composition. She was selected by her teachers and peers as the Parke County DAR Good Citizen.
“I think that academics and athletics work together to help me succeed because I am able to take valuable lessons — responsibility, time management, and leadership — that I have learned through playing sports and translate them into my academics. Athletics and academics also work together to help me succeed because of my competitive personality,” Gregg said.
In addition to athletics, Gregg has been involved in National Junior Honor Society, National Honor Society, Student Council, FFA and FCCLA. She is a 10-year member of the Washington Wonders 4-H Club and Horse and Pony club. Her projects have included sewing, horse and pony, arts and crafts and swine. She earned the Indiana State Fair Sewing Project Sweepstakes Award Recipient and Top 10 in the Indiana State Fair Fashion Revue Dress-Up Category.
“I think having a good support system at home has really helped me be successful,” Blackwell said. “My family is always there for me and pushes me to be better. Asking questions or asking for help is also very important and it proves to your teachers that you are willing to learn.”
Throughout high school, Blackwell has participated in academic bowl, volleyball, tennis, 4-H and various rodeo associations. She is also a member of the high school band. At the state solo and ensemble contest, she has earned two gold medals. She has been named the most outstanding band member twice.
“Being in band has been more than looking at a paper and playing some notes,” she said. “It has taught me how to work well under pressure and how to work well with others. Mrs. Ashley Brown, the former PHHS band director, and Miss Juliana Johnson have helped shape me into the person I am because they always pushed me out of my comfort zone to become better.”
She is the daughter of Donna and Johnny Blackwell of Brazil. Her future plans include attending Ivy Tech Community College in the fall to pursue a degree in nursing.