Seven schools, one valedictorian

Published 10:14 pm Wednesday, June 6, 2012

First Baptist Christian School valedictorian Abby Cockrell relaxes on a bench outside the school Friday. She paid tribute to her parents, teachers and friends, and will study to become a middle or high school teacher during the next phase of life.

First Baptist Christian is Abby Cockrell’s seventh school — if you include home school — and the well-traveled student is proud to be graduating as valedictorian next Saturday.

With her father Joseph Cockrell, a pastor and teacher, somewhat of a roving missionary, Abby Cockrell said, she has lived in 10 different houses, and the family will move again when she attends Liberty University in Lynchburg in the fall.

“I have moved around a lot in my life,” she said, adding that although she doesn’t know exactly where she will eventually settle, “This is the place where I have felt the most stable.”

Email newsletter signup

Cockrell has been a student at First Baptist Christian since the eighth grade, making it her longest stint in any one place.

She plans to take Liberty’s honors program after winning a scholarship worth $4,000 per year. “I want to double major in English and art,” she said. “I want to get my teacher’s license.”

Cockrell’s father has been her English teacher for the past five years, and she credits him with inspiring her chosen career path.

“My parents (including stay-at-home mom Lisa Cockrell, who also does some ministry and substitute teaching) are a big part of my inspiration, and also God and my faith in Him,” she said.

“My teachers have inspired me by showing how much they care. Our school is very small; it’s kind of like a family.”

Cockrell said she reads a lot. Classics are her favorites, including the works of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens.

“Reading takes you on an adventure (to) places you never go in your own lifetime,” she said.

She became interested in volleyball when “dad was coaching a high school team down in Florida. It’s always been a big passion for me because it’s so much fun.”

She won a volleyball award this year for the most blocks and kills. “I hold the school record for both of those,” she said.

“I have drawn since I was little, and I really love doing drawings for other people,” she added.

Cockrell also sings and has an interest in drama, recently playing the lead role in “Charlotte’s Web.”

“My dad is also the drama teacher,” she said. “He’s played a big role in my life (and he) wears many different hats.”

She says she is excited to have been named valedictorian. “I have been working really hard through high school and most of my life, trying to get good grades,” she said.