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Tight competition between friends for Hobbs High valedictorian, salutatorian

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It was almost too close to call coming down to the wire, with just a few tenths of a point difference in the race for valedictorian and salutatorian for the Hobbs High School Class of 2022.

It’s almost been a race between seniors Ann Mary Thomas, 18, and Brieanna Carr, 17, since the pair met during their eighth-grade year at Highland Middle School in Hobbs. The one thing that amuses the two friends is everyone seemed to care about the final outcome more than they do.

“It doesn’t really matter,” Thomas said before the placings were announced. “It’s more about how much effort I put in and the satisfaction I feel rather than if I get first.”

Carr agreed: “It’s more about the work than the title. I’ve always enjoyed learning and education. That’s always been an escape for me.

“We’ve always been friends, regardless,” she said. “I don’t know (Ann Mary’s) grades.”

“I don’t know hers, either,” Thomas said.

On May 16 it was announced that Carr was named valedictorian and Thomas salutatorian.

Before the announcement, Carr and Thomas were just anxious for graduation and for the competition to be over, regardless of who was named valedictorian and salutatorian, they said. For them, it really meant a reduction in the stress they felt as the 2021-22 school year wound down.

Being named salutatorian, Thomas said, “it means I don’t have to give as long of a speech. (Other people) seem to be more caring about the rankings than we do.”

Before the announcemnet Carr said, “I believe if I was named valedictorian, the only thing I would care about is it would be less stress. At the high school, you don’t really have as much time to be a kid. I’ll think I feel accomplished either way.”

Both girls graduated from Hobbs High on Saturday with associates degrees through the dual credit program at New Mexico Junior College — Carr with degrees in both arts and science, Thomas with an associate in science. And both managed to stay busy during their high school years, though their studies at NMJC did mean they had to curtail activities somewhat during their final years at HHS, they said.

Thomas participated in National Honor Society, the Science Olympiad, Student Council and Community Service Club. Carr was a member of the NHS Choir all four years, joining Thomas in National Honor Society and Community Service Club.

Both are members of Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society and Mu Alpha Theta, the mathematics honor society for high school and two-year college students.

Thomas has already been accepted at New Mexico State University, but that may change as her parents are planning a move to Florida. She’s also applied to the University of Central Florida. Either way, she wants to earn a bachelor’s degree in public health promotion, with her eye eventually on medical school.

“I want to be a health advocate,” Thomas said. “I’m not sure if I want to do it as a physician or in an administrative position.”

Carr will be attending Lubbock Christian University in Texas in the fall, where she plans to study for a bachelor’s degree and possibly a master’s degree in English. Her eventual goals, Carr said, are to teach and publish books.

“But I know publishing books is more of a side job, so I want to be a teacher, too,” Carr said. “I’ve always believed some of the biggest changes come in children’s young lives. I want to be a part of that.”

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