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Meet Eastside's Val and Sal

Anna Davis believes much wasn’t expected of her academically.

The 18-year-old now has everyone looking up at her as she sits atop her graduating class as the valedictorian for Eastside High School in 2015.

“I’m just pretty much incredibly proud to be valedictorian because it’s a great honor in my family,” Davis said. “In fact, no one really though I would amount to much so just by being in this position is really great.”

With Davis being born deaf in both ears the obstacles were stacked against her from the moment she took her first breathe of life, but she never let that challenge deter her from believing in herself.

“That’s pretty much the reason why no one expected me to amount to anything,” she said. “But it hasn’t really been too much of an issue. I just work hard in school, and here I am.”

Davis, who’s been working to be the school’s valedictorian since her sophomore year, has known she’s had an opportunity to win the top spot since after her junior year of high school.

Still, that didn’t stop her mother, who’s a teacher at Mansfield Elementary School, 45 East Third Avenue, Mansfield, from crying tears of joy when she heard the news.

Davis was absent from school the initial day the names were released and didn’t find out she was the valedictorian until her mother came home.

“My mom came home and she was just balling, and I didn’t have my ears on, but I probably I would’ve understood her in the first place,” she said. “I’m thinking, ‘Oh my god. Someone died.’ Then, I see her mouth the words you’re valedictorian, so I freaked out. I think a lot of my happiness was just the relief that no one had died.”

Her father and older brother are also extremely happy for Davis.

After high school, Davis has plans to enroll at the University of Georgia (UGA) with double majors in Physics and Latin, a foreign language that she’s studied since her freshman year. Not too bad for a girl who much wasn’t expected.

“I’m not exactly sure what I want to do after (college graduation).” Davis said. “I could work for NASA or another aerospace company. They’re s lot I can do, but I’ll wait until I reach that point before making any final decisions.”

Similarly, Eastside High School 2015 Salutatorian Evan House calls his position a great achievement.

“I’m pretty proud of myself because, you know, I’ve been working for it since freshman year,” said the 18-year-old. “I like that I can still do that while also playing three sports.”

House, who’s been into playing sports since he was five and started kicking a soccer ball, has played at least two sports, including baseball, football and swimming, every year of his high school career. His junior year was a true test as he participated in all three sports during the same school year.

“It wasn’t too bad,” he said. “You just got to be motivated and do your sport. Then when you get home, you got to study and do your homework.”

House says he gets his work ethic from his mother, a middle school teacher who raised him, his older sister, along with his stepfather.

“My mom helped me out a lot,” said House. “I have her work ethic. I get everything done.”

House may also join Davis at UGA, but hasn’t made any final decision on where wants to go to school as of yet.

Wherever he goes, Davis, who says he has very good memory, plans to major in History because it’s “a great gateway to a law degree.”

He too studied Latin at Eastside for four years and may do that as double major as well, but his second major will be dependent on whichever school he chooses.