Southside valedictorian pushes forward to the future

Published 7:47 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — Sarah Shingleton, 18, only moved to Chocowinity two years ago, but she didn’t waste time taking Southside High School by storm.

Shingleton was named valedictorian of Southside’s class of 2017.

Her high school career was a busy one — between playing volleyball and soccer, taking classes at Beaufort County Community College, working and previously competing in 4-H livestock shows. The last semester of high school wasn’t a breeze through the finish line — it actually turned out to be the toughest time period, according to Shingleton.

“I’m somebody that kind of thrives on the pressure,” Shingleton said. “I’m also just like self-motivated. I’ve always been like that ever since I was little. My parents, they expect me to do well, but they’re not on me all the time about making A’s and stuff. That’s sort of what I do to myself.”

That self-motivation paid off in a big way.

Shingleton’s future is bright, as she has plans to study nursing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington this fall. In years to come, she also wants to study to become a geneticist.

Shingleton said her career inspiration goes back to when she attended North Pitt High School. Health sciences teacher Alice Hyatt sparked her interest with lessons on diseases and anatomy.

“She made it sound so interesting. … I just remember thinking it was so fascinating,” Shingleton recalled. “If you pay attention in class, especially in high school, there shouldn’t really be a problem because the teachers are there to help you.”

She said she also had her family’s support to help her along the way.

With college fast approaching and a sea of new faces to come, Shingleton said it’s a nerve-wracking time for her. Describing her mindset as “freaking out,” she chalked it all up to her personality — “that’s just who I am.”

Her support system at home will undoubtedly make the transition easier, as will her tendency for self-motivation and hard-working nature. She’s ready for what’s next.

“My parents have supported me a lot throughout the years and have always pushed me to do well from the beginning, and just, I owe a lot to them for helping me out so much,” Shingleton said. “Anything I do, I want to do it the best that I can, and I don’t want to slack off. I try to be like that in every aspect of my life.”

This is the second in a three-part series highlighting the class of 2017 valedictorians at Beaufort County’s three largest high schools.