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Salutatorian pours all focus in to academic pursuit

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A subject that once caused stress early in high school turned out to be her strength.

Brianna Frost wanted to be the valedictorian of her class, but she struggled with a thesis assignment in her sophomore English class.

A bad grade on that assignment caused a slight dip in her grade-point average, and she fell one spot short of being valedictorian.

She was disappointed not to be the valedictorian but was still the salutatorian for the Edinburgh Community High School Class of 2014, finishing with a 4.43 grade-point average (on 4.0 scale with weighted grades).

Frost will be the first person in her immediate family to attend college. She plans to study nursing at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, with a focus on pediatrics because she wants to help children.

The idea of being the top-ranked student didn’t cross her mind until she was a sophomore, she said. She found out she was ranked third in her class and turned her focus to becoming valedictorian.

She quit the band and track and field team, instead putting that time toward homework assignments and studying. The desire to become valedictorian outweighed participating in those activities.

“It put a fire into me because I wanted to be first,” she said. “But I’m happy with where I am.”

Frost remembers the mistakes she made on a thesis paper in her sophomore English class, which earned her a D-minus. She ended up with a C in the class, which dropped her to third place in her graduating class. But she earned good enough grades in the rest of her classes the final two years — including English — to jump back into the second-place ranking and become salutatorian.

By the end of high school, English had become one of her favorite subjects.

Frost joined the school’s Academic Super Bowl Team for English because she thought it would make her a better student in the subject. Plus, she liked the excitement of competing against other schools.

“Anyone can better themselves if they really try,” Frost said.

She spent her final two years of high school at state competitions among hundreds of her peers, quickly answering questions about novels and poems.

This year the team read the novel “My Antonia” and finished first in its division at the state competition. Students sit at desks during the state competitions; and teams simultaneously answer the same 25 questions about that novel, immediately finding out if they selected the right or wrong answer as they go through each question.

“You get really nervous before you start, and then it can bring you down if you get a question wrong,” Frost said. “It seems so boring when you watch it. But when you’re down there answering questions, it’s like you’re a participant in a basketball game, and the adrenaline gets you going.”

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