Loudermilk, Eastburn lead ESHS Class of ’22

Thursday, May 12, 2022

It’s no surprise that Mackenzie Loudermilk and Jacob Eastburn are the top two graduates who will represent their class during the Eureka Springs High School commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21 at Highlander Gym.

“It’s always been a running joke that it would be us,” Eastburn, the school’s salutatorian, said about himself and Loudermilk, the valedictorian. “It was just a matter of who would end up on top.”

Loudermilk, 18, went into her final semester with a 4.16 GPA and will attend the University of Arkansas’ Walton College of Business after winning the prestigious Hagan Scholarship.

Mackenzie Loudermilk

“This has been my goal since before high school,” Loudermilk said of becoming the top graduate in her class. “When I was in eighth grade, I told myself that I was going to get that.”

Loudermilk, the daughter of James and Shelley Loudermilk, said she cherishes the role of being her class valedictorian and looks forward to sharing a lighthearted message to her classmates at graduation.

“I know everyone in our class has worked really hard through high school and definitely in my speech I’m going to recognize every single one of my classmates,” Loudermilk said. “Graduating high school is a huge accomplishment.”

Jacob Eastburn

Eastburn, the son of Matt and Nancy Eastburn, entered his final semester with a 4.1 GPA and will attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., where he will study for his bachelor of science degree in aviation. He plans to be a commercial airline pilot.

“This feels really good,” Eastburn said of being the salutatorian of his class. “I really didn’t think this would happen. I just tried to do as good as I could and as it got closer to the end of my senior year, I realized I was in the running for this.

“It certainly wasn’t easy, especially this year taking a bunch of college classes. It’s nice to be done and have it all under my belt.”

Eastburn said he’s good friends with Loudermilk, and in fact, most of the senior class has grown up together. That makes this honor even that much more special, he said.

“A lot of these [classmates] I grew up with and have been friends with since kindergarten,” he said. “So that makes this really rewarding, really amazing to stand in front of them and talk in front of them and just share this moment.”

Eastburn said he sat next to Loudermilk in some college classes during their senior year and he’s proud to share this moment with her.

“It’s really nice to see her succeed,” he said. “We’ve always had a fun, friendly competition.”

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