High achievers: Hartselle’s Williams, Preuitt excel in academics, sports
By Wes Tomlinson
For the Enquirer
Hartselle High seniors Alleigh Williams and Larissa Preuitt both prefer to study in their free time when they are not busy competing in sports, and it has paid off. Excelling in both sports and academics, they are among 252 classmates who will graduate Monday.
Williams, graduating within the top 10, is currently taking the most advanced math class offered at Hartselle High — AP Calculus II.
“I’ve been a year ahead since I moved here because my dad is in the military so I took pre-algebra in sixth grade instead of seventh grade,” Williams said.
Williams received a $10,500 Auburn University presidential scholarship this year and a $1,000 chemical engineering scholarship. She will enroll at Auburn in the fall to pursue a chemical engineering degree.
Preuitt broke school records last year in softball with 72 runs scored and 50 stolen bases, earning her All-State selection in Class 6A. Although her athletic career at Hartselle High has been exemplary, the same thing can be said about her academic career.
“I have made all A’s this year and my favorite subject is history,” Preuitt said.
Preuitt received both athletic and academic scholarships and will enroll at the University of Alabama in the fall where she will play softball. She plans on majoring in kinesiology and eventually wants to pursue a career as a physical therapist.
Hartselle High Principal Brad Cooper said both seniors’ ability to achieve stems from their surroundings.
“I just think they have a really good support system at home,” Cooper said.
Cooper said Preuitt’s leadership is exemplified by how she communicates with her teammates on the softball field.
“She’s always telling them how good they are doing,” Cooper said. “She leads by example by studying hard and by working hard. Those two things are what I think sets her apart.”
Bucky Garner, AP math and computer science teacher at Hartselle, said Preuitt is “going to work hard at whatever she does. Just like in softball, she’s going to work as hard as anyone else in the classroom.”
Garner said Williams’ mathematical abilities are so advanced that he allows her to teach his calculus classes if he is ever absent.
“She’s probably one of the brightest kids here,” Garner said. “She took Calculus (I) last year as a junior and made the highest score possible on the AP exam.”
Garner said because of Williams’ AP exam scores, she is the only student in the entire high school taking Calculus II.
Williams has been on the school’s varsity soccer team for the last four years and when she is not busy studying, enjoys listening to music and hanging out with friends.
“I mostly just study a lot … so that’s like my main focus is school right now,” Williams said.
Williams said she loves researching space and has aspirations that are literally out of this world.
“The end goal is to work for some sort of space organization or become an astronaut. That’s been my goal since I was very young,” Williams said. “I’m obsessed with space and I love watching space shows and stuff and I think it would be so cool to be able to go to the moon or even Mars.”