Sandra Fletcher was a little nervous Monday night, but she wasn't quite sure why.

Maybe it was the banquet hall bustling with noisy teenagers. Or not knowing exactly what was on the program. But probably it had something to do with her only daughter's recognition as a top public high school senior at Monday's Superintendent's Honors Banquet.

"We are very excited," Mrs. Fletcher said, glancing at her daughter, Madalyn. "She's a very sweet, friendly and helpful girl."

"We're very proud of her," added her dad, Jim Fletcher.

Madalyn Fletcher, 18, was one of 20 seniors representing Red Bank at the annual banquet that celebrates the top 10 percent of graduating seniors from each of Hamilton County's high schools.

The several hundred attendees were treated to entertainment by the Center for Creative Arts' musical theater troupe, the Choo Choo Kids, as well as a keynote address by Jack Murrah, former president of the Lyndhurst Foundation.

After graduating from Red Bank, Miss Fletcher plans to head to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she will be the first in her immediate family to attend college.

Along with the recognition and banquet, Monday's honorees were each given a contract signed by Superintendent Jim Scales, guaranteeing them a teaching job in Hamilton County should they choose to pursue an education degree and credentials.

Miss Fletcher, who has participated in Red Bank's teaching academy the past three years, said she's anxious to take Dr. Scales up on his offer. She's spent time working at Red Bank and Alpine Crest elementary schools grading papers and teaching mini-lessons.

"I've always wanted to teach, even when I was little, because I love being around kids," she said. "I love it so much."

Red Bank principal Gail Chuy confirmed Miss Fletcher's gift.

"She has really been a standout. The teachers have just raved about her," she said.

Dr. Scales said he enjoyed getting to spend at least one evening honoring those students who deserve the attention, rather than ones who make news for their negative behavior.

"These are the students we don't often hear about in the headlines," he said. "This is just a fun night where we honor those youngsters who have done very well academically."

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