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Millington Central High School 2015 Valedictorian used a simply philosophy to reach achievement

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Ashley Cavaliere earned the No. 1 ranking for the Millington Central High School Class of 2015. She will give her speech Thursday night on the Millington Football Field.

Ashley Cavaliere earned the No. 1 ranking for the Millington Central High School Class of 2015. She will give her speech Thursday night on the Millington Football Field.

MCHS Val side shotThe honor and distinction of being Millington Municipal Schools’ first Valedictorian goes to Millington Central High School senior Ashley Cavaliere.
The daughter of Bonita and Cullen Cavaliere will stand on the stage as the No. 1 ranked MCHS senior for the Class of 2015 May 14 on the Millington Football Field. With a basic philosophy, Ashley was able to achieve her goal.
“I was Valedictorian since freshman year,” she said. “I took more honor classes right away. So I figured if I kept making A’s and kept taking honor classes, I would keep my rank.”
In those four years Cavaliere and her classmates endured several changes like three different school systems — Shelby County Schools, unified Shelby County Schools and MMS. In addition the Class of 2015 attended classes under three principals starting with Mark Neal, a brief stint under Marsha Davis and now Clint Durley.
“This year was the first year of the Millington Municipality,” Cavaliere noted. “We will be the first class and that’s pretty exciting. I’ve also had like three different guidance counselors. So you get to meet new people. And with the teachers, the change, a lot of old teachers didn’t come back. You have new teachers. So instead of having those really close bonds over the years,  you have to make new ones.”
Cavaliere has developed numerous bonds including the salutatorian Jason Jiang. Their friendship blossomed as they challenged each other to stay near the top of the rankings.
New and old MCHS instructors were there the entire time to guide, encourage and build Jiang’s and Cavaliere’s minds.
“Definitely my teachers and the guidance counselors have helped me get here,” Cavaliere said. “My parents have supported me financially and my peers have helped me too.”
That support system and examples of leadership inspired Cavaliere to win many academic awards and honors. She maintained a 4.5 grade point average and scored a 31 on the ACT.
Cavaliere said the Class of 2015 wanted to put a positive face on the first graduating class of the Millington Municipal Schools. Despite the historic transformation, Cavaliere said the seniors already had a black and gold pride to uphold.
“It’s like you have responsibilities and you’re supposed to set an example,” she said. “Regardless of circumstances, you are the seniors in the school. The underclassmen see that and you set the example regardless. This is more of a title but I feel it would have been the same if it was still under Shelby County Schools.”
When MCHS was under Shelby County Schools, the graduates headed to Memphis for several years for commencement ceremony.
The graduating Trojans marched through the Mid-South Coliseum and in recent years Hope Presbyterian Church.
This year on May 14 at 7 p.m., the Class of 2015 will graduate next to the school on the Millington Football Field.
“In my Sociology class, I’ve actually done a poll on that,” Cavaliere said. “It’s actually split. Some people prefer the more traditional graduation. While some others are worried about the rain. I actually don’t mind it. I’m happy about the unlimited tickets for my family. I have a lot of family that wants to come. It will be nice being outside, but hope it’s not hot.”
Cavaliere will deliver her speech outdoors if the conditions are dry. And once her mortar board is tossed into the Millington air, Cavaliere will make her next academic stop at Christian Brothers University to  major in Biology and minor in Spanish.
“Right now I really want to be a doctor,” she said. “I think that would be fun. But I understand it’s like a lot of schooling and the financial burden of becoming a doctor is kind of scary. But that’s my plans for now. But I am accustomed to change.”
For a girl who likes a simple approach, the changes over the past four years taught Cavaliere she can take on anything life throws at her.
“I’ve had to get used to things,” she concluded. “I like to set plans. Not experiencing what you plan for, I do get kind of upset. But I’ve learned it’s a part of life. So I have to get used to it. I need to strengthen my mindset when stuff like that happens. I can’t be like, ‘Oh, what am I going to do.’ But be like it’s ok and there are other options in the world.”
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May 2015
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