David Leech named Highland Valedictorian

Monterey, VA – David Leech of Mill Gap is this year’s Valedictorian at Highland High School. David’s parents are Rodney Leech, the Virginia Cooperative Extension agent for Highland and Bath Counties, and Marty Leech, a teacher at Highland Elementary School. David talks about his background.

“I live in Mill Gap,” he said. “I’ve lived there for 11 years. I used to live near Mustoe before that, so, I’ve lived in Highland County my whole life. I’ve always been really interested in music. I’ve taken band since sixth grade. I played guitar and saxophone. I’ve been interested in other subjects. I’ve always liked geography. I’ve participated in 4H in school and out of school. I like to play soccer, as far as sports goes.”

“I love to travel. I’ve been out West. With 4H, I’ve been to the Dominican Republic. I’ve been all over the South and the Midwest, up to Minnesota and places like that. So, I like going around the United States and different places.”

David was recently awarded a scholarship from the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative. This is the 21st year that the electric cooperative has awarded several scholarships to high school seniors in the counties where it operates. 63 scholarship applications were received this year and 10 awards of $1000 each were made. David talks about the essay he wrote for the scholarship application.

I wrote a little bit about the career I was interested in and the major I was interested in pursuing and how that major/career would help the community I come from. So, since I’m interested in engineering, I wrote about different types of engineering and how they might help the community – such as civil engineering with roads and bridges and for the mountains, or agricultural engineering.”

A six-person scholarship committee reviewed the students’ essays, letters of recommendation, participation in school and community activities, high school classes attended, and the grade-point average earned. This committee consisted of college faculty members and administrators, a retired public school teacher, a town manager and a clergyman. With a grade point average of over 4.1 and a variety of extracurricular activities, including many years of experience in music, David is well-prepared to move on to college later this year.

“I’m going to attend Virginia Tech in the fall and, hopefully, pursue engineering, my first option,” he said.

Congratulations to David for all his accomplishments at Highland High School.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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