2022 Valedictorian named

Metro wrestling champ, Portrait of a Graduate, Student Council member is No. 1

At the Bellevue East wrestling meet, senior Layna Blankenship stands tall and fiercely looks into the crowd and audience member after beating her opponent from Bellevue East, one of the many wins Blankenship had.

Olouwatobi Noukpozounkou, Senior Editor

Lack of motivation, difficulties with friends and families and the loss of family members were all in 2022 valedictorian Layna Blankenship’s path, attempting to block her from reaching this point, but the first girl’s wrestling Metro champ in school history surpassed them all, claiming her title as the 2022 valedictorian.
Blankenship started off high school third in her class with a 4.3 GPA at Millard North. After transferring to Bryan sophomore year, she finished her senior year with a 4.65 at the top of her class.
“I received the news after winning Metros for wrestling so I felt like I was on top of the world,” Blankenship said. “I wasn’t anticipating actually bumping up to number one. I felt such relief that all of my hard work and dedication finally paid off.”
Blankenship was able to do all of this with support from her friends, family and teachers to try her hardest and never give up. Even though at time she felt like she wanted to.
“It did become overwhelming at times,” Blankenship said. “This year was the first year at Bryan where I felt like my grade goal was out of my hands. It felt extremely draining and harmed my path toward my goals. It made me want to give up on all the things I was working for, but I stopped myself from continuing the habits that would lead to worsening of that mentality. It’s easier said than done, but self-discipline really helped me out.”

After hitting the ball into the outfield, senior Layna Blankenship sprints towards first base as fast as she can so that she can try to stay in and help the team continue scoring points so they can beat their opponents, Central.
(Bryan Diaz)

Her freshman year when, Blankenship attended Millard North High School, affected her social life and her mental health. According to Blankenship, the teacher-student dynamic wasn’t as present at Millard North as it is at Bryan.
“Millard is nothing compared to Bryan,” she said. “It’s a whole different environment centered on success only instead of success and happiness. This school taught me a lot about time management, organization, responsibility, and most importantly, accountability. When I transferred to Bryan, I was shocked to find out that I was number two and on the tail of number one.”
Blankenship also attended the April OPS Board of Education Meeting and brought to them an issue that her and the graduating class of 2022 had about graduation. The students were to only be allowed six tickets with no way to get additional tickets for family members and friends to attend their graduation ceremony, but the class of ’22 wanted more.
Many of the students have numerous family members and having to pick and choose which family members to bring and who to leave at home would be heartbreaking for some, Blankenship included. So, she went to Board of Education and presented this issue. After which they replied and accepted and allowed students two more tickets each. This shows Blankenship’s willingness to fight for her peers.
“I’m grateful that she used her position as valedictorian to make a change, not just for our school but all of OPS,” senior Emma Cramer said. “It shows she cares about what happens in the school.”