Claire Dial recounts journey to becoming salutatorian for Class of 2013

It’s 3 o’clock in the morning, everyone else in the house is asleep; the atmosphere of the house is silent, the only other sound in the house is that of the computer screen buzzing and keys being pressed to type out the assignment that is due in a few hours. While for many students this sounds like the life of a college student around exam time, this is just something that Duncanville Class of 2013’s salutatorian Claire Dial does daily if she needs to.

“There have been a lot of times where I’ve been staying up and it’s like 3 o’clock in the morning. I’m just tired and I really want to go to sleep, but I never let myself do that because I feel like I have to do every assignment. There isn’t any other option,” Dial said.

This unwavering dedication is part of the reason why she is salutatorian and is something that has always been a part of her since she was little she says. To her, not doing and assignment or making bad grades has never been an option. Her parents have always had high expectations of her, and she’s always tried to her best no matter what the situation.

“Both of my parents were high achieving, and ever since I was little, anything below an ‘A’ was considered failing. I had that as motivation,” Dial said.” [I’ve always believed] if you’re going to do something, you should do it to your fullest abilities, so I’ve always tried to do that.”

Trying to do her best is something Dial has done, and many believe it has yielded great success for her. However, for a time during her junior year, there was moment when she gained a new sense of motivation to achieve her goal of being salutatorian.

“The first semester of my junior year, I found out I was number three in my class, and I really, really, really, wanted to be salutatorian,” Dial said. “Second semester I moved up to number two and knowing that I was so close that one slip [like] not turning in an assignment once, forgetting, or just doing half can cost me multiple spots, just really kept me going.”

Also keeping her going was the vision of what would happen on graduation day if she was salutatorian she says.

“I know I really want to be on the stage and be the one who is giving that speech” Dial said. “Knowing that I’m just so close and I have so much to lose if I don’t try has been my motivation.”

This motivation is what has led her to this point and is one of the many reasons why she will be attending the University of Texas at Austin’s liberal arts college this upcoming fall with the plan of majoring in history along with a possible double major in government. Once she completes her college education, she says she’s looking forward to beginning a career in either the sports or entertainment industry.

“I want to go to law school to become a corporate lawyer dealing with either the entertainment or sports industry, but I want to be in law, possibly becoming an agent eventually,” Dial said.

Until then however, she plans on finishing her last few days as a senior strong and enjoying the last few moments at Duncanville High School. While she is looking forward to going to college, she knows she’s going to miss her friends and teachers.

“I will miss Duncanville, I’ll miss a lot of the teachers and my friends, but at this point I’m really looking forward to college,” Dial said. “The best part of high school has been the teachers. I’ve really had some of the best possible teachers, I mean Mr. Gawedenski, Mr. Gaskill, and Mr. (David) Williams my freshman year, they’ve all been really amazing. I’ve learned so much, I mean a lot of students take their teachers for granted, but really they’ve helped me so much. “

Another aspect that she says has helped her a lot is the work ethic she’s developed while in school. For her, being at the top of the class isn’t just dependent on natural intelligence; a person has to work for it, and that is exactly what she has done.

“[School] really does take a lot of work, I mean a lot of people think it takes a lot of smarts to be in the top of your class, which I do think you have to be smart to be at the top of your class, but at the same time it really takes a lot more strength mentally. You have to be able to push yourself I think, because it’s more about being responsible and actually taking care of your assignments that puts you at the top of your class,” Dial said.

Making sure everything is turned in on time and completed is also very important according to Dial.

“If you are responsible, if you do everything, if you do study to the best of your abilities, then you’re more likely to be at the top of your class than if all you had was brains,” Dial said. “You have to be really disciplined; self-discipline is really important.”

Following her own advice has proved beneficial to the salutarioan. Through her journey to this point she says she has faced intense moments of stress, sleep deprivation, and test of mental strength, and to be done with all of it for now, she feels intense relief. Now Dial is ready to embark on the next step of her life, but before she leaves, the student wants to leave some words of advice for other Duncanville students who want to do their best.

“If I’m supposed to give any advice to anyone, it’s just to practice self-discipline,” Dial said. “It’s really important and it’ll really help you off when you’re in college because you’re not going to have anyone to tell you. If you practice it now, you’ll be ahead. That’s advice from Claire.”