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At the head of the Class of 2009:
Courtney Weaver, valedictorian

By Sarah L. Smith
Coastal Observer

Courtney Weaver’s mom, Rosanne, will bust her buttons any day now.

“We were in a jewelry store the other day and she introduced me as the ‘valedictorian,’ ” Weaver said, grimacing.

The 18-year-old Waccamaw High School senior said it’s not the first time. She is now known as “my daughter, the valedictorian.”

Since learning her 4.86 GPA was the highest at her school, Weaver said her parents, Stewart and Rosanne, have been “really excited.”

However, becoming the school’s valedictorian is an accomplishment that would not have been in the cards if she hadn’t moved to Murrells Inlet in 2005.

Born and raised in Johnsonville, the soft-spoken Weaver moved to Murrells Inlet after eighth grade. Her parents moved to the coast so she could go to a better school, she said, but when she first started at Waccamaw High, she wanted to move back. It wasn’t that the classes were harder, but Weaver said it was hard to find friends.

“I floated from group to group,” she recalled.

Then she met Haley Price in gym. They “clicked,” and the two girls ended up playing JV volleyball together during their sophomore year.

“I found my group of friends that I fit in with then,” Weaver said.

The two now plan on sharing an apartment at the University of South Carolina this fall. Weaver keeps trying to get Price to shop for apartment necessities, but said she can’t get her interested.

“I like to plan stuff out,” said Weaver.

Maybe that’s why she likes math. “With math there is always a right answer,” Weaver said.

Math was her favorite subject, so she said whatever she does in college will involve numbers. She’d like to study business and accounting and become a certified public accountant.

“Taxes aren’t going away. I know I’ll always have a job,” she said. “I guess I’m just worried that with the economy like it is I won’t be able to get a job out of college.”

Weaver credits Waccamaw’s teachers with her grades. She said they teach in a way that ingrains the information in her mind.

She said her most challenging class was Julie Humowitz’s Advanced Placement U.S. History. She said she scored a 3 out of 5 on the exam.

She also took the world history and psychology AP exams, but Weaver said her history score will probably be the only exam she can use to get college credit.

Since she admits to being better at numbers, English was another challenge. However, Weaver said Ben Schoen, her English teacher for two classes, taught her how to write papers. Weaver said she couldn’t have learned to write a good paper without his help.

“She’s committed to what she does,” Schoen said. “She’s one of those kids who refuses to turn in anything average. She’s one of those kids who makes you enjoy teaching.”

The water skiing and snow skiing enthusiast described herself as self-motivated.

“And, aside from school,” she said, “I’m very fun and outgoing.”

Now that she is the valedictorian, Weaver said, she feels that people look at her and think there is nothing more to her than grades.

“I think people see me and think, ‘oh, she’s No. 1; she’s a goody-goody,” she said.

Weaver denies all charges.

And, after coming to Waccamaw knowing no one, she also understands the importance of friends.

“I think it’s more important to have a social life than be concerned with schoolwork. You need to have friends,” she said.

Weaver is already planning how she’ll make friends when she arrives at USC in August. While she knows people from Johnsonville, which she refers to as “back home,” who will attend USC, Weaver plans to join a sorority.

Ten years down the road, Weaver sees herself back on the coast.

“I’ll probably live in Charleston or come back to the Litchfield, Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island area,” she said.

Before she settles down, the 2009 valedictorian first wants to start her own CPA business.

“I want to get my career stable, and then start a family,” she said.

Schoen didn’t hesitate when he said Weaver will be successful at whatever she does. “Courtney is easily one of the most committed and diligent students I taught.”

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