Student says belief in self is the only way to accomplish your goals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Leah McKnight, salutatorian for Monterey’s class of 2000, is not your average competitor.

At the end of the school year, the race for salutatorian was drawing to a close. &uot;We all knew who would be valedictorian, but it was close on salutatorian. I kind of wanted to come in third because I didn’t want to give a speech,&uot; McKnight said.

On the evening of May 12, however McKnight was called upon to do just that. &uot;My speech was about believing in yourself. I said that if everyone else can believe in you then you can, too. That’s the only way you can accomplish your goals,&uot; she said. &uot;When I was giving it my heart started pounding and I lost my place toward the end. It was funny – I just laughed.&uot;

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McKnight will be attending the University of Louisiana at Monroe this fall and plans to major in pharmacy. &uot;I’ve always wanted to do something in the medical field, but I can’t stomach being a nurse or doctor – this way I can still help people,&uot; she said.

&uot;I’ll be rooming with a girl I graduated with, we’ve already picked out our comforters – from the Penney’s kid department,&uot; she said with a laugh.

During her senior year, McKnight was her yearbook staff editor, Beta Club vice-president and Spanish Club treasurer, but it was youth group activities at Lismore Baptist Church in Monterey have kept McKnight busiest this year.

&uot;Church is my number one priority – everything I do revolves around church,&uot; she said. &uot;We go to camp, have lock-ins, concerts, and barbeque’s.&uot; McKnight said all this activitiy is either for fun or to raise money for people in need.

McKnight reads almost everything in her church’s library, mostly Mary Higgins Clark mysteries. Recently she began the &uot;Left Behind&uot; series by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, which deals with the ‘end times’ after the return of Christ.

&uot;I’m not finished yet but they really make you think,&uot; she said. &uot;Reading the Bible you really have to study – and it can be hard, but reading these books cleared a lot of things up.&uot;

McKnight is the daughter of Ken McKnight and Renee Doughty.