Horseshoe Bend’s valedictorian Korbin Kinman and salutatorian Jessie Eason both shine in academics and extracurriculars, citing hard work as the biggest lesson learned throughout their high school experience. 

Although guests were limited and social distancing was enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the seniors celebrated their hard work at a semi-traditional graduation ceremony at the school’s football stadium Wednesday evening.

Horseshoe Bend principal James Aulner said Eason and Kinman should be proud of their accomplishments. 

“Both the valedictorian and salutatorian exemplify a lot of these things that students have had to deal with this year,” Aulner said. “They are both hard workers and both have a great deal of perseverance.” 

Kinman and Eason alike expressed happiness over the announcement of their accomplishment.

Kinman said the most important lesson she’s learned is goals become attainable by working hard to achieve them. Eason echoed that sentiment.

“Hard work allows you to get wherever you want to go in life,” Eason said. 

Kinman said her high school experience has been wonderful.

“When I got the phone call (confirming my position as valedictorian), it was a really happy moment for me and my family,” Kinman said. “Valedictorian was my goal from Day 1. To earn that was very rewarding and self-gratifying.”

Kinman plans to attend Troy University in the fall. 

“I’m leaning toward majoring in psychology, but I am still thinking about it,” Kinman said.

Kinman has attended Horseshoe Bend her entire life. In high school, Kinman served as a president of student council, secretary of Beta Club and an editor of the yearbook staff, a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA), Fellowship of Christian Athletes and church service group TRUTH. Kinman also occasionally served as the school mascot.  

Despite the coronavirus forcing a transition to online learning in the spring semester, Kinman said her high school experience was not dampened.

“I’ve had some great teachers, formed some lifelong friendships and made many memories,” Kinman said. 

Kinman said being able to conduct a traditional ceremony is what she is most excited about.  

“I was really thinking we weren’t going to be able to have (a traditional ceremony),” Kinman said.

Eason plans to attend Central Alabama Community College in the fall then transfer to the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a declared major in engineering. 

“My father is an engineer at Coosa County Highway Department, so I have learned a lot from him,” Eason said. “I love math and building. I’m not sure what type of engineering yet but definitely will be going into the field.”

Eason transferred to Horseshoe Bend her junior year and quickly became involved in sports and extracurriculars. 

Throughout her time at Horseshoe Bend, Eason was a member of the track, softball, volleyball and basketball teams. Eason also served as senior class president and was a member of FFA and Beta Club. 

Eason said she is thankful for all of her classmates and how welcoming they were to her during her time at Horseshoe Bend.

Aulner said Eason and Kinman exemplify students at Horseshoe Bend.

“They are a good representation of our school and we are very proud of them,” Aulner said