By BRAD KEITH
LINGLEVILLE (May 19, 2016) — Marley Wood is excited to be an Aggie, but she will always miss the bus rides to and from Lingleville.
Wood, valedictorian of Lingleville High School, Class of 2016, plans to follow her love of science to a biomedical science degree from Texas A&M then go on to become an orthodontist.
But as she leaves the rural community of Lingleville for the bright lights and busy life of one of the nation’s largest universities, Wood says there are many things she will miss.
“There are a lot of things, like my class and I being together through so much, the field trips we’ve had, playing sports and the bus rides to and from games with the boys in basketball,” she said. “Our trips for FFA project shows in San Angelo or for UIL academics, they were always fun.
“Believe it or not, I’ll miss the bus rides,” she added. “We’ve spent a lot of time on buses together through the years, and there have been a lot of fun times.”
For Wood, expectations have always been high. It comes with the territory when you are the daughter of world champions. Her parents, Kobe and Paula Wood, have won multiple world cutting horse titles, and are even in Tulsa this week for a show.
“My mom has always believed in me that I could do anything I set my mind to,” Wood said. “She supports me through anything I decide, she’s just an awesome person.”
Marley and her sister, Lingleville alumnus Lane Wood, are each decorated cutters, as well.
“Cutting takes up a lot of my time when I’m not in school,” Marley said. “I also like to fish, and shopping, I’m addicted to that. I like to read a lot, actually, like two or three books a week. When I really get into one I can read it in 24 hours.”
Wood says Mrs. Winnett, US History and dual credit history teacher, has been her biggest motivator at LISD.
“She’s always pushed me to do the very best I can,” Marley said of Winnett. “She doesn’t settle for any less than my very best.”
The family atmosphere of LISD and the Lingleville community will always be a part of the valedictorian.
“The atmosphere, the family-oriented environment, that’s what makes Lingleville special. You get to know everyone to the point that sometimes it’s hard because you do know everyone,” she laughed. “But at the end of the day you know those people would do anything for you. My favorites are the people in my class because we’re all so close. There’s just 11 of us, and I grew up with pretty much everyone of them.”
In addition to being valedictorian, Wood was presented her senior honor chords and NHS regalia at Lingleville’s annual secondary school academic and athletic awards banquet Tuesday. There she was also named the UIL scholar for a school that boasts eye-popping participation levels in UIL academics.
“Being in a small school is the best,” she said. “It gives you a chance to really get involved in everything.”
Wood is proud to represent her class as valedictorian.
“I’ve had to work hard. We’re a small class but everyone is really smart,” she said. “It’s great to accomplish what I set out to do my freshman year.”