Bailey Patrick will deliver her speech today as valedictorian of the Jefferson City High School class of 2018, and she's not the first person in her family to have earned that opportunity as a Jay.
Bailey's sister, Brittany Patrick, was valedictorian at JCHS in 2017, and their father, JCMG president and radiologist Jeff Patrick, was valedictorian of JCHS in 1981.
"I always wanted that to happen," Bailey said of her goal of being at the top of her class academically.
She and Brittany are graduates of Trinity Lutheran School, and they challenged themselves and studied with rigor when they entered the public school system for high school.
"They took tough schedules and got a great education," Jeff said.
Stephanie Patrick — Jeff's wife and Bailey and Brittany's mom — said she was an advocate for her daughters with school counselors, to make sure they took full advantage of what they could fit into their academic schedules.
"A lot of people take their freshman and sophomore years lightly," Bailey said, but she and her sister focused on taking Advanced Placement classes, though they also continue to enjoy competitive sports — tennis for Bailey and iceskating for Brittany.
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"Just have an end goal in mind," Brittany said of staying academically strong and consistent, adding to "think that through all your four years," even though every last detail of high school doesn't have to be planned out ahead of time.
Brittany cited AP Psychology with Aaron Gillam and AP Comparative Government and Politics with David Gale as her favorite classes; for Bailey, it was AP Physics with Kristen Thurman.
Both young women are headed toward careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields.
Bailey will attend Duke University to study bio-engineering on a pre-med track. She said she wants to become a surgeon.
Brittany just finished her first year at Washington University in St. Louis. She's studying bio-medical engineering and electrical engineering, with a psychology minor.
The sisters acknowledge STEM fields are still heavily male-dominated — Bailey remembered being the only girl in a high school computer science class — but "if you're passionate about it, don't let the stereotypes stop you," Brittany offered as advice to other young women.
Stephanie added that she came from a family that loved reading, and she worked to instill that in her children.
"Mom did all the work, trust me," Jeff credited her for their daughters' success.
People who wish to remotely watch JCHS's graduation ceremony live today can do so through Jefferson City Public Schools's Youtube channel —youtube.com/JCPSVIDEOS.