BUCKFIELD — Organization and a desire to do as well as they can paid off for valedictorian Samantha Jo Jones and salutatorian Alicia Patrie of the Class of 2011 at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School.
Samantha, 17, of Buckfield, and Alicia, 18, of Hartford, are the top two students in a class of about 40 seniors who will graduate June 4.
Alicia said she plans to make a speech that will be remembered.
“It will be about the future and it will contain strong words,” she said.
She is heading to the University of Maine in the fall to study civil engineering. She has a passion for building things and for making things work, she said.
“It’s really awesome to take almost nothing and make something huge,” she said. “I like buildings and bridges.”
While earning top grades at Buckfield, she also spent one year in the building trades program at Region 11 School of Applied Technology in Paris.
It was there that she got really fired up about civil engineering, she said.
“Mr. (Dan) Daniels and (the staff) were a big part of me wanting to do what I want to do,” she said.
Since then, she has attended an engineering camp at UMO, and decided she wants to go into construction management because it is all hands on.
Samantha plans to attend Colby College as an English and political science major. She’s not sure what she plans to do with the degree, she said, but she knows she likes literature and history.
She credits her social studies/government teacher, David Fulenwider, with piquing her interest in how governments evolve and are run, and for encouraging her to do her best.
“He relates current events to the past. I’ve seen the full circle,” she said.
English teacher Maria Reinstein pointed her to books that would mean something to her, as well as helped her discover her strengths and weaknesses.
She said she also likes to learn, regardless of the subject.
“I like to know what is happening, and even though I don’t particularly like science or math, I want to know what we are learning,” she said.
And although she has a cellphone and is connected to many technological devices, she likes books and art.
“Art and books are stationery,” she said.
Becoming valedictorian took a lot of work. She always did her homework and asked for help when she didn’t understand something, she said. She believes other students should do the same.
The girls are close friends, active in several sports and members of the National Honor Society.
Samantha has helped raise money at her church to end human trafficking, is vice president of the Student Council, and organized basketball tournaments to raise money for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.
Alicia is a math team member and yearbook writer and photographer while working part time at an Auburn retail store.
“I’m trying to do as much as possible because it will be harder in college,” she said.
Samantha is the daughter of Kathy Saarinen and Kirk Jones. She has an older sister who is attending the University of New England.
Alicia is the daughter of Andrew Patrie and Buffy Ward. She has a younger sister and an older brother.