IHS valedictorians: Rebekah Coltrane driven to succeed

Iola High School senior Rebekah Coltrane says encouragement helps her push through to reach academic goals.


Local News

May 8, 2024 - 1:48 PM

Rebekah Coltrane Courtesy photo

Rebekah Coltrane’s key to academic success can be summed up in one word: Encouragement. She pushed herself to reach her academic goals throughout her high school career, ultimately being named valedictorian. While doing so, she found time to cheer on those around her. In fact, her favorite memory from high school was supporting her best friend at state tennis.

You don’t have to look far to see where Rebekah gets her can-do attitude. “My family is very encouraging,” she said. “They’ve always pushed me to do my best and support me.” Rebekah’s parents are Aron and Jennifer Coltrane. Rebekah is the middle of three, with a younger brother and an older sister.

The Iola senior said she was intentional about taking classes “that pushed me,” to learn. With that challenge came  “more pressure to get the work done to achieve good grades. Taking the time for studying became very important,” she said.

Rebekah’s drive to become valedictorian started her freshman year. “I had all As throughout middle school,” she said. “I got it into my head freshman year that I wanted to continue getting all As. It was just a personal goal in my head that I didn’t think I could necessarily get.” 

In addition to her academic achievements, Rebekah was heavily involved in sports and clubs. Throughout high school she played basketball, tennis, and track. She also managed the basketball team her sophomore year. 

“Tennis was definitely my favorite,” she said. “It’s a great environment.”

Rebekah recalled playing varsity tennis and having to compete against her best friend for a spot at state. 

“That was rough,” she said. “It was a fun game, but it was sad because we knew that only one of us could make it.” 

Even though Rebekah did not end up the victor in that match, she was thrilled to share some encouragement and support her friend when she competed at state three years in a row.

She has been involved in FFA, most recently qualifying for nationals with her dairy judging team at state competition. 

“That was exciting,” she noted. In addition, she has been involved in student council and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

With an undetermined major, Rebekah plans to attend Allen Community College for a year and then potentially transfer to Kansas State University. 

According to Rebekah, success rests on discipline and determination.

“Take the time to put away distractions in class and pay attention,” she advises underclassmen. “We have excellent teachers here with a lot of knowledge. Also, take the time to work hard outside of class.”

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