Like many of their fellow high school graduates, the top 10 students in the Class of 2022 at Eastern High School don’t yet have their plans for the future set in stone but appear to have mastered one of the most challenging aspects of college – paying for it – based on the more than $143,000 in scholarships they’ve collectively amassed to further their education.
The 10 top-ranking seniors in Eastern’s Class of 2022 say they’re planning to start college in the fall; and six of the top 10 students have received substantial financial awards to help pay for their college education. Six are planning to attend a public college or university in North Carolina; four are planning to attend private universities. Two of Eastern’s Top 10 students say they plan to enroll at N.C. State this fall.
Six of Eastern’s Top 10 students were active in sports, on the student council, and in the National Honor Society throughout high school. Two (valedictorian Kallie Elam and Josie Gonzalez) excelled in engineering, while two (salutatorian Dylan Page and Thomas Turner) excelled at debate.
Three of the Top 10 students at Eastern were on the girls’ swim team. Standout Caleb Gerlach – who played basketball, golf, and tennis for the Eagles – helped carry the boys’ varsity basketball team to a conference win earlier this year.
Valedictorian Kallie Elam, 18, is the daughter of John and Monica Elam of Mebane. She plans to head to West Hartford, Connecticut this fall to the private University of Hartford.
Elam says her most memorable experience at Eastern was attending the International Science Fair during freshman year, when she and fellow Top 10 student Josie Gonzalez won in the engineering category at the 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
The Class of 2022 valedictorian was also active in the student council and National Honor Society at Eastern, in addition to assisting at The Ballet School of Chapel Hill and participating in the Performing Company at Chapel Hill Dance Theatre.
Salutatorian Dylan Page, 18, is the son of Denny Page and Kristin Howerton of Mebane. He has received a $40,000 scholarship through the Carolina Scholars program and a $1,000 scholarship from the Greensboro Municipal Federal Credit Union to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Page says he plans to attend law school once he completes his undergraduate degree.
Page says his most memorable experience in high school was leading Eastern’s debate team, which took second and third place in a statewide competition in 2021. He also served on the student council and participated in the National Honor Society.
The other Top 10 students in Eastern High School’s Class of 2022 are (in alphabetical order):
Mattie Albright, 18, is the daughter of Kyle and Kristina Albright of Mebane. She has received multiple scholarships to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, including: a $2,500 Theresa Hooks Memorial STEM Scholarship (named in honor of the late wife of Mebane mayor Ed Hooks and reserved for students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM, fields).
Albright also has been awarded an annual academic scholarship from Liberty University for $3,750; a Liberty Honors Program Scholarship for $4,000 per year; and a Liberty Champion Award for $1,000 per year, plus other other financial awards.
Albright says her favorite part of high school was attending “all of the Eastern sporting events over the years.” She participated in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Girls of Faith; student council; National Honor Society; Key Club; and was a member of the Eagles’ swim team.
Sidney Beckham, 18, is the daughter of Joe and Deanna Beckham of Mebane. She plans to attend Elon University, for which she has received multiple scholarships, including: Elon Teaching Fellows, $7,500 for each year; North Carolina Teaching Fellows, $8,250 per year; Alpha Delta Kappa Memorial Scholarship for Future Teachers, $1,000; Alamance Burlington Retired School Personnel Scholarship for $750; and an Allison Widderich Memorial Scholarship for $1,000, among others.
Beckham says her favorite class at Eastern was sports and entertainment marketing and her proudest moment was “the day we got to go back to South Mebane Elementary and walk the halls in our cap and gowns and see [the principal, Rebecca Royal] and my former teacher, Mrs. Greeson.”
While at Eastern, Beckham played on the girls volleyball team and was a member of the swim team, in addition to participating in the Key Club, Student Council, French club, Foreign Language club, Mu Alpha Theta (national math honor society), and the National Honor Society.
Damian Beaver, 18, is the son of Zachary and Terri Beaver of Mebane. He’ll head to the state capital this fall to attend North Carolina State University.
Beaver says his most memorable experience at Eastern was participating in the state championships in wrestling this past school year, as well as playing on the Eagles’ lacrosse and men’s soccer teams.
Seth Frazier, 18, is the son of Brad and Amy Frazier of Burlington.
In addition to his high school diploma, Frazier graduated earlier this month with an Associate’s degree from Alamance Community College, where he plans to continue his education this fall.
He says his favorite class at Eastern was Drawing II and his most memorable experience was performing in a dinner theater show, “Cafe Noir.” Frazier also participated in his church’s youth group “tech team” during high school.
Caleb Gerlach, 18, is the son of Carter and Amber Gerlach of Burlington. He plans to head to Cullowhee this fall to attend Western Carolina University. Gerlach has received multiple college scholarships, which include: a Catawba College Presidential Scholarship for $20,000; a UT Volunteer Scholarship for $18,000; a Brinson Honors College Scholarship for $2,000; a Premier Pathway Scholarship for $1,000; a Fred M. Roddy Scholarship for $1,000; and a Monteith Sharpton Scholarship for $500, among others.
Gerlach says his favorite class at Eastern was Civics and Economics and his most memorable experience was playing basketball throughout all four years of high school. In addition, he played on the Eagles’ tennis and golf teams and participated in the National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
Josie Gonzalez, 18, is the daughter of Javier and Regina Gonzalez of Burlington.
She has received two scholarships to attend North Carolina State University, including: a $2,100 Turrentine Scholarship and a Dwayne and Gayle Lanier Scholarship for $1,060.
Like her fellow Top 10 student, valedictorian Kallie Elam, Gonzalez says her most memorable experience in high school was attending the International Science Fair during her freshman year.
Gonzalez was also active in Eastern’s Interact Club; student council; Mu Alpha Theta (a national math honor society), and National Honor Society, in addition to being a member of the Eagles’ cross country and track teams.
Sarah Kim, 18, is the daughter of Young Kim and Young Jin Kim of Mebane. She plans to enroll at Meredith College this fall, for which she has received a Meredith Impact Scholarship.
The scholarship – which ranges between $23,000 and $26,000 for incoming freshmen with grade point averages of 3.4 or 3.8, respectively – is reserved for women who hope to “bring about positive change in their lives and in their communities” and have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, according to Meredith College.
Kim, whose favorite class at Eastern was Anatomy and Physiology, was active in the Key Club and student council, in addition to being on the swim team.
Thomas Turner, 18, is the son of Jeff and Juliana Turner of Mebane. He’ll head to Boone this fall to attend Appalachian State University, where he plans to major in Writing and Journalism. Turner received an Appalachian Excellence Scholarship for $4,000 to attend App State.
Turner says his favorite class at Eastern was AP Psychology with former ABSS Teacher of the Year Tiffany Helton, and his most memorable experience in high school was being captain of the debate team. Additionally, he participated in Eastern’s student council and the DECA Club (formerly the Distributive Education Clubs of America, which helps to prepare high school students for future careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.)
See also previous stories on top graduating seniors from Southern and Williams high schools:
Top grads from Cummings, Graham, and Western will be featured in future weeks.