Nicole Patterson took her own advice during her senior year at Jim Elliot High School. She worked hard and made as many memories as possible.
And it paid off.
With a 4.13 grade-point average, Patterson is Jim Elliot's 2009 valedictorian.
Guidance counselor Carrie Fox-Buttram said that most Jim Elliot students stay busy with extracurricular activities, and Patterson was no exception.
"I always manage to find ways to keep busy," Patterson said.
Patterson has been involved with Temple Baptist Church's youth group for four years. She also said she spends much of her time doing homework and school projects, which helps her maintain her grades in honors classes. However, one activity that she dedicated a lot of time to is one of her favorites: the high school drama department.
Patterson has been very involved in the school's annual spring performances, and played the parts of the sultan in "Aladdin" and Cogsworth in this year's "Beauty and the Beast."
The cast members rehearsed two to three times a week before a performance.
Even with all the hours she put into the play and other activities, Fox-Buttram said Patterson "still pulled beautiful grades."
Though Patterson has great theater memories, and she thinks she'll be involved in theater in college, she probably won't make a profession out of it.
In the fall, she will start classes at Azusa Pacific University, where she'll enter as an undeclared major. She thinks she might end up studying English or math, her two favorite subjects in high school.
For now, she's enjoying her favorite activity, hanging out with friends, as well as her title as valedictorian.
"I'm just really excited about (being valedictorian). I worked really hard to get good grades," Patterson said.