2017 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Congratulations to our 2017 valedictorian, Kayley Underwood and salutatorian, Collin Anderson.

The distinctions of valedictorian and salutatorian are based on students' seven-semester grade point averages, with the valedictorian holding the highest GPA and the salutatorian, the second highest. This year’s valedictorian and salutatorian are both life-long Harding students. They have obviously excelled in academics, both having chosen a rigorous program of work at Harding, selecting and excelling in a high number of honors and Advanced Placement classes. But they have also distinguished themselves in the fine arts, athletics, leadership, and service.

Valedictorian-Kayley Underwood

Kayley Marie Underwood is the daughter of Alan and Lori Underwood. At the school’s annual Awards Day, Kayley has taken home awards for AP Spanish, AP US History, Bible, Honors Biology, Honors English, and All A Honor Roll. She is a member of National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, National Science Honor Society, Bible Club, FCA and the 30+ ACT Club.

She has been a part of our choral program and currently is a member of A Cappella and the small ensemble. She was selected by audition for the All Southwest Tennessee Honors Choir this past fall and All State Honor Choir this spring. For Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Kayley appeared on our stage as Madame, the stepmother. She has been a finalist in the Poetry Out Loud competition for the past three years.

A player on the varsity softball team, Kayley has racked up honors including All District, TSCA All State, and Best of the Preps All Metro, and she was named Ace pitcher in grades 8–12. She has also played competitive softball with teams in the Mid-South.

Kayley’s peers have chosen her as a class officer for three years. Additionally, she has served as a Bible Club officer for four years and two years as a National Honor Society officer. Highly involved with her church youth group, she has done domestic and foreign mission work, traveling to Nebraska for the past five years to paint and renovate houses and teach Bible classes and to El Salvador in 2015 to host a VBS for the children there. She has also been involved locally with Memphis WorkCamp and with programs helping children with special needs.

Kayley plans to attend Harding University in the fall.

Salutatorian-Collin Anderson

Collin Anderson is the son of Brad and Barbara Anderson. His academic awards include those for Honors Physics, Honors Precalculus, and Honors Chemistry. He participated in Vanderbilt University’s Summer Academy, taking a three-week mathematics course there. He is a member of several honors societies including National Honor Society, Rho Kappa, National Science Honor Society, and National English Honor Society. Collin is a member of the 30+ ACT Club, Bible Club, and FCA, and has served as treasurer of the Chemistry Club.

Collin plays trumpet in the senior wind ensemble and jazz band. He has been selected by audition for All West Band every year grades 7–12. In addition, he was chosen for the West Tennessee Regional Honor Band. At Harding’s annual band banquet, Collin was selected for the Patrick Gilmore Award, the Ninth and Eleventh Grade Band Awards, and the Band Director’s Award. Two years ago, he was in the Harding band named Top Overall Band at Disneyland. He has also played in the orchestra for two Harding musical productions, Cinderella and Sister Act.

Collin has played varsity baseball and varsity basketball at Harding, in addition to summer league baseball. He was selected for the Lion Spirit Award in basketball the last two years. His Harding baseball team made it to sub-state the past three years.

Collin has served as a Campus Life Ambassador and Student Government Association class officer. He has volunteered at Service Over Self and Habitat for Humanity in Memphis. Additionally, through St. Luke Lutheran Church, he has served in God’s Work, Our Hands, a national service day for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; at More Than a Meal where he served food to the homeless; and at VBS.  He also serves as Youth Representative on the Church Council at St. Luke Lutheran Church.

Collin currently works as a research assistant at Nesvick Trading Group. He will attend Cornell University in Ithaca, NY in the fall and plans to study Economics and Computer Science.

Check out the article in the East Memphis weekly on the Lions in the News page.