Callaway High School’s valedictorian looks forward to future as mental health therapist

Published 9:45 am Saturday, May 6, 2023

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Amoria McFarlin, the valedictorian of Callaway High School, said she was pleasantly surprised when she was told she’d earned the title.

“I wasn’t expecting it. I know I worked hard and can achieve anything — I didn’t count myself out but I had faith in my peers as well. I felt like anybody could get it because we’re all competitive and have been taking AP classes, and dual enrollment classes since the ninth grade. The title was for anyone to grab,” McFarlin said. “To have earned the title myself, I was excited and proud of myself. I’ve always wanted it, and I’m excited to have earned it.”

During her time in high school, McFarlin was the class president and involved in many organizations, including the National Honor Society, 16 Ways, Student Council, and captain of both basketball, cheerleading and volleyball.

As her time as a high schooler comes to an end, McFarlin said she will miss her teacher Mike Petite the most.

“He was my favorite teacher of all time. He was the reason why I pushed myself in AP classes. He taught AP US History and AP government, and that’s something that I really loved learning about,” McFarlin said. “It just made me want to keep taking more AP classes and keep going.”

In preparation for her big speech, McFarlin said she plans to talk about the bright future ahead for the class of 2023.

“I’m just trying to make it not make us cry as much as possible,” McFarlin said.

With the last days of the school year winding down, McFarlin said she’s living in the moment and soaking up all the things she will miss about Callaway.

“As excited as I am, this is bittersweet. I was ready to finish three years ago, but now that it’s getting to the final moments, I feel like I’m ready but not quite yet,” McFarlin said.

McFarlin credits her mother, Barbara Cartlidge; grandmother, Gwendolyn Cartlidge; and great aunt, Barbara Thomas; for her academic success.

“My mom, grandmother and great aunt are the three most influential women in my life and made me want to push myself to be something more than what the rest of my family has been and make a name for myself,” McFarlin said.

After graduation, McFarlin said she plans to attend Spelman College to major in psychology to become a therapist.

“I want to major in psychology and minor in philosophy because I want to be a mental health therapist and eventually get my Ph.D. I have always enjoyed helping people and I feel this profession will help me make the world a better place,” McFarlin said.

As the class of 2024 awaits their turn for the big stage, McFarlin leaves them with a few words.

“Congratulations on making it this far. I know you’re not done yet but just keep pushing. I know you might get senioritis but just don’t give up because it’s almost done. Have fun, live in the moment and make the most of high school,” she said.