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home : community : education June 10, 2023

5/26/2023 12:01:00 AM
Autumn Beard Among The Best At NLHS
Headed off to the Ivy League in August
Autumn Beard
Autumn Beard

Thomas Lark
Staff Writer

MAIDEN––You might say that this Autumn is actually in the springtime of her life.

She’s Autumn Beard, and according to North Lincoln High School Principal Chip Cathey, she’s among the Knights’ top students in the senior class for 2023.

Born in Hickory, Beard has lived her entire life in Maiden. We recently caught up with her, and she told us more about herself.

The only child of Mark and Heather Beard talked about the memories of her time at North Lincoln that she’ll always cherish. Some of Miss Beard’s best moments, as she recalled, were spent in her school’s social studies/English hall.

“Some of my favorite classes over the past four years,” she said, “have been AP (advanced-placement) world history with Mrs. (Carolyn) Prunier (now at East Lincoln High), AP government and politics with Mr. (Adam) Fier, AP American history with Mr. (Mark) Ewing and AP English literature and composition with Mr. (Brett) Furguson. I believe that these subjects have been among the largest influences on my decision to pursue a career in law and politics, and I have learned so much from all of these amazing teachers.

“Some of my favorite activities that I’ve participated in while at North Lincoln have been as a member of the Beta Club and National Honor Society,” Beard continued. “As a member of these clubs, I’ve been given the opportunity to serve my community while also having fun. Some memorable volunteer activities include helping out at local elementary schools and volunteering at the Asbury Resource Center (or ARC) in Lincolnton. I’d like to thank Mrs. (Gillian) Moore and Mrs. (Jennifer) Queen, the sponsors of the clubs, for creating a fun, service-driven environment.”

Also over the past four years, Beard said there were two opportunities that stand out to her as having made the largest impact on her high school career.

“Firstly,” she said, “being given the opportunity to serve as a senate page in the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh was exciting, educational and overall just a great experience. I worked at there for a week, and I was able to gain invaluable experience working with state legislators. I learned so much about state government, and I was able to gain a hands-on understanding of the inner workings of politics. I credit this opportunity with further inspiring me to pursue a career in law and politics some day.

“By far,” she added, “my best academic experience in high school was my attendance of North Carolina Governor’s School in Winston-Salem. Last summer, I was able to spend four amazing weeks living on the Winston-Salem State University campus with other rising high school seniors. I made lifelong friends from the experience, and I learned so much about complex social science-related topics through my studies while on campus. I want to thank Mrs. (Lori) Maxwell, one of my high school counsellors, for encouraging me to apply for this opportunity. I am so thankful that I was selected to take part in this amazing program, and I would highly recommend it to any rising senior who wants to get a first-hand experience of college life.”

Come August, Beard will be off to Brown University. At this prestigious Ivy League school, located in Providence, R.I., she’ll be majoring in political science.

What advice does she have for the members of the class of ’23? And where does she see herself a decade hence?

“It might sound cheesy,” she said, “but my biggest piece of advice for my fellow graduates is to give it 100 percent. Find out what your ultimate goal is, and work toward that goal every single day. Great things don’t just happen. You have to give an effort in order to reap the benefits. If you really want something in life, reflect on every action that you take and ensure that your actions are taking you closer and closer to your goal. In the end, hard work usually pays off, and you are so much likelier to achieve your goal if you give 100 percent of your effort and keep waking up every single day––ready to work towards that goal, over and over again, until you reach it. 

“In 10 years,” she added, “my goal is to have received my undergraduate degree in political science from Brown. After receiving my undergraduate degree, I plan on attending law school. Ultimately, my goal is to one day become a federal judge, but I could also see myself working as a politician or political adviser.”

And Miss Beard spoke more about her mother. Mrs. Beard is a guidance counsellor at Love Memorial Elementary in Lincolnton.

“And I have spent a lot of time helping out at her school over the past few years,” as her daughter revealed. “I attended school at Love Memorial, and I’ve loved getting to spend time with the current students there. I’ve grown close with a lot of the teachers and staffers at the school, and I want to shout them out––especially my mom––because I think that teachers, unfortunately, don’t get as much recognition as they should. I loved my time as a student at Love Memorial, and I have also loved spending time volunteering there years later. I believe that my time spent at the school, both as a student and as a volunteer, has shaped me into the person I am today, and I want to show my appreciation for the amazing people there.”

1-Eddie Sigmon

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1-Eddie Sigmon

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