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LHS valedictorian and salutatorian to major in STEM

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Posted on: July 10, 2024

By AIESHA SOLOMON

At Laurel High School’s  (LHS) 2024 graduation on May 29, valedictorian Jordan Proctor, 18, and salutatorian, Robert Wood, 18, gave speeches encompassing their visions for their futures.

Proctor will be going to the University of Maryland, College Park in the fall. She received the university’s Banneker/Key Scholarship, which includes full tuition, room and board, and book fees, she said in an interview.

Laurel High School valedictorian Jordan Proctor, 18, in her graduation gown .
Courtesy of Aiesha Solomon

Proctor plans to major in biological sciences and wants to be an orthopedic doctor.

In her graduation speech, Proctor explained connections between elements of movies, of which she is a fan, and life prosperity. She underscored the importance of  having actors, or those “who support [you],” a setting that “will be there for you to thrive,” and a storyline, or a “way towards your goal while thriving to do better and keep focus.”

Proctor, who graduated with a GPA of 4.46, was the president of the Laurel High School Chapter of the National Honor Society. She played lacrosse, was in color guard, did majorette dance her senior year and “took almost all entirely International Baccalaureate [IB] classes,” she said.

“The biggest one was probably my sports science class … It’s kind of like anatomy with maybe some sports medicine course, so it’s really fun. You actually learn a lot about the human body and function,” she said, of her IB classes.

Proctor’s previous interest was dentistry, but she turned to orthopedics during the IB sports science class.

Proctor’s mother, Toni F. Gore, was elated that Proctor was valedictorian. 

“I knew she was smart, but I was like, ‘This girl is brilliant.’ So it’s like one of those proud Mommy moments,” Gore said.

Gore wants her daughter to delight in her journey and “to stay true to herself and learn everything she can and help others along the way,”

Wood, who graduated with a GPA of 4.44, participated in  athletics at LHS and will do the same at McDaniel College, in Westminster.

Laurel High School salutatorian Robert Wood, 18, delivers his speech during graduation.
Courtesy of Robert Wood

Wood was a member of the LHS track and basketball teams, both of which won regionals this last year. He was also in the National Honor Society and took IB classes.

“Being a part of that [IB] program wasn’t easy at all, but … it helped me be ready for the challenging work that’s up ahead,” he said in a phone interview. 

Wood earned several scholarships, including a merit scholarship from McDaniel and a Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association scholarship, which is “only given out to … 18 athletes around Maryland … high performing, like scholarly athletes,” Wood said. 

Wood plans to major in mathematics and “ use the mathematics degree in the business world,” he said.

Wood focused his salutatorian speech on the question, “How do I do it?” He noted that he’s repeatedly been asked this.

“By making the right decisions, being disciplined and trying my best,” Wood said, in his speech. “I believe this is the way to success for everyone, and if we can stay true to this, we all can live happy lives.”

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