Welcome to a tribute to the Chattanooga-area's 2018 valedictorian class.

Valedictorians from more than 55 area high schools in southeastern Tennessee and north Georgia are featured in a series of reports called Top of the Class.

Twenty Times Free Press reporters and editors have worked to assemble the reports, which represent the TFP's most ambitious tribute ever to academic excellence.

Top of the Class project highlights include:

  • Color portraits of most of the valedictorians
  • Feature articles highlighting some of their life stories. For example, readers will learn about one student stand-out who plays cricket and another who has been taking college-level classes since 10th grade
  • Photos and survey responses from the valedictorians. Learn about their favorite quotes, for example, and their little-known claims to fame
  • Bios of the honorees


Civic activities have taken LaFayette valedictorian Lauren Pike around the country For LaFayette High School valedictorian Lauren Pike, traveling has become a perk of being so actively involved in civic organizations.
Berean Academy valedictorian Kobea Reynolds eyes future In eighth grade, Kobea Reynolds wasn't satisfied with having the second-best grades in her class.
Cleveland High's 'Graduates of Distinction' number 18 strong Cleveland High School graduates Brian Byerly and Breana Shields say the honor of being among the school's 18 "2018 Graduates of Distinction" allows for recognition of all the highest-performing students and tips a hat to the teachers who got them there.
How baseball helped one international student stay at the top of his game [photos] From an early age, Shikhar Baheti, 17, has tried to balance his drive to succeed at school with his love of sports.
South Pittsburg's top student balances rest, responsibility Alexandria Mabry knew she would have to pay for her college education, so she's been working since her sophomore year to do it.
GPS' Margaret Lim taking love of music to next level Formative years are usually spent trying to blend in with peers, as teenagers often go to extreme lengths to focus on themselves and personal development.
Brainerd valedictorian Dereke Townsend ready to face challenges, make a difference in community Dereke Townsend Jr. is the 2018 class valedictorian of Brainerd High School and he is woke.


(Click on photos for more information.)