As a high school freshman Abigail Scarborough made becoming valedictorian her goal. She’s had the highest grade point average of her class since eighth grade, and she’s proud to receive this award for her hard work. She gives thanks both to God and her parents, Brian and Deena Scarborough, for their encouragement and confidence to chase her dreams and never give up.
“After a lot of late nights and weekends studying, I did it, but I’m glad I still took time for friends and activities,” she said in her valedictory address on May 24, during Portal Middle High School’s commencement exercises.
She’s been active in Portal’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapter, where she served as vice president, the Future Business Leaders of America chapter, Beta Club and the Student Government Council.
“It’s now time for us to grow up and move on to the next part of our lives,” the class president of her senior class told her close-knit group of 49 fellow graduates, most of whom she’s shared experiences with since pre-kindergarten.
A dual-enrolled student at Georgia Southern during her senior year, Scarborough plans to remain at the local university after graduation, where she’s been accepted into the Honors College. In addition to her Zell Miller Scholarship as a valedictorian, she is also the recipient of a $1,000 Rotary Club Scholarship and a $1,500 scholarship from the Kiwanis Club.
Scarborough is happy for now to still call the house where she grew up near Rocky Ford her home for now. This will keep her closer to family so that she can still enjoy one of her favorite pastimes, trips to the family’s lake house at Clark Hill.
“People have told me, ‘You’re valedictorian. You could go anywhere,’ but I love my home, so I’m going to Georgia Southern and take my time to explore career opportunities,” she said.
She credits her mother, who is Portal’s visual arts and drama teacher and head soccer coach, with being one of the most influential people in her life during her education journey.
“I have been incredibly blessed to be my daughter's art teacher throughout elementary, middle and high school,” Deena Scarborough said. “Abigail has always been a dedicated student in all areas of education including the studio, where she thrived with concepts of composition and perspective, especially when applying graphite. I am tremendously proud of her accomplishments and am looking forward to how God will continue to lead her in the future.”
Scarborough is looking forward to her upcoming college experiences.
“I love the campus, and I’m looking forward to making new friends and playing intermural sports like soccer and flag football, and I’m open to other sports,” she said.
Scarborough has played soccer since she was 4 years old, and in middle and high school she’s been part of helping establish the sport and encouraging fellow students to play at Portal Middle High School. Matt Haddock, the school’s current head boys soccer coach, started a middle school club league at the school nine years ago. From there a co-ed league formed and both Scarborough and her mother have shared Portal’s success over the past seven years. Now an official Georgia High School Association sport at the school, both the boys and girls teams made it to the Elite Eight of the GHSA Class-A soccer championships in 2021, an impressive feat since the school has only had separate teams for boys and girls since 2017.
Memories and friendship bonds like these that she’s collected over the past 14 years in Portal’s schools are treasured.
“Our small town of Portal has blessed us,” Scarborough expressed during graduation ceremonies. “Because it’s a small community, the people become like your second family.”