The Commerce Journal

May 1, 2014

Best in class

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal


James Robinson and Shelby Patterson are smart people, and they have the grades prove it. 

Robinson and Patterson were just recognized for being valedictorian and salutatorian for the 2013-14 graduating class of Commerce High School. 

Robinson said it felt good when he was told he had the number one grades in the class.

“Exciting is a good word for it,” he said. 

Patterson had been in third the previous three years of her high school career, so when she was told she was salutatorian, she said she was happily surprised.

“I was definitely surprised and excited because it’s definitely something that I’ve wanted for a long time,” she said. 

Both students have decided where they want to attend college, with Robinson accepting a scholarship to Texas Tech University and Patterson scheduled to attend the Honors College at Texas A&M University-Commerce. 

Robinson said he made his decision after making a visit to the university during spring break. 

“It was a great experience,” he said. “I really enjoyed it.”

Robinson wants to study mechanical engineering and Patterson will pursue a degree in equine therapy. 

Robinson enjoys building various items, most recently a Peruvian drum, which is why he said mechanical engineering is right up his alley.

Patterson said she has always ridden horses since a child, and after writing a paper in English over the intricacies of equine therapy, she decided she would help people through the equine therapy. 

“The more I researched it the more I wanted to do it,” she said. “I love helping people.”

When they are not excelling in the classroom, both students said they are your typical down to earth teenagers who enjoy spending time with friends. 

Other than playing football for CHS, Robinson spends his summers volunteering for Seek Camp, a camp for kids with special needs. 

Robinson originally learned of the camp from his elementary school teacher and said he has been volunteering at the camp since his freshman year.  

Patterson is also planning to work at a camp this summer. Patterson is attending the leadership camp, Camp RYLA, this summer.

In a small town high school, most students know each other on a first name basis. 

Patterson said it is that sense of family and community that she enjoys about the school. 

“Commerce is the only public school I’ve gone to,” she said, adding she had been homeschooled for four years. “It felt like when I came back, I was definitely a part of the family.”