By Leah Weissman

Pilot staff writer

Graduating Brookings-Harbor High School seniors have a lot to look forward to: summer, college, careers - life. The last four years of exams, No. 2 pencils, late homework nights and equally late party nights all culminate on Saturday when more than 155 students throw their mortarboards into the air.

And while some might have viewed school as an opportunity to perfect their paper airplane-making skills, most students took their education seriously - some of them going above and beyond the grading curve.

This year, the 2008 graduating class has four valedictorians and two salutatorians representing the cream of the crop. According to BHHS Principal Emmalie Lee, having six students with nearly perfect to perfect Grade Point Averages (GPAs) is a huge honor for the school and doesn't happen that often.

andquot;These kids work hard,andquot; Lee said. andquot;And it's not just in academics. They are in sports, leadership and in the community working to make a difference. They truly are wonderful citizens.andquot;

The four valedictorians - Skyler Shuford, Justine Dodgen, Donna Stevens and Jessica Haglund - took every honors and advanced placement course offered by the school and received As in all their classes for the entire four years.

The two salutatorians - Michele Banta and Christopher Neighbor - also took all honors and advanced placement classes, but got a B in one class during their four years.

andquot;The difference between a valedictorian and a salutatorian is like one one-hundredth of a point,andquot; Lee said. andquot;Both are an honor and give you bragging rights, not to mention help you with getting scholarships.

andquot;I think these students had a work ethic from the time they were little,andquot; she added.

Lee said the four valedictorians will combine their efforts into one speech at graduation rather than giving four individual presentations, and the salutatorians will say their thank yous to friends and family who supported them.