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First Generation Student Named Kentucky State Class Valedictorian
Kentucky Ag Connection - 05/13/2022

Less than 60 miles down the road, Lancaster, Kentucky native Olivia Saylor found her "home away from home" at Kentucky State University. The business administration major was captivated by the family environment, the access to an affordable, high-quality education, and the opportunity to play softball.

"On my first visit to campus, everyone I met seemed interested in me as a person. They asked me personal questions about myself and allowed me to do the same," shared Olivia. "This was different from any other school I'd visited. Even the players on the softball team treated me like family almost instantly."

The four-year student-athlete has played sports her entire life starting at the age of five.

"My older brother played baseball; I would follow him around the ballpark. One day, I picked up a bat and never looked back," Olivia recalled. As a youth, she played soccer, basketball and softball jumping from one sport to another but her love for softball was always first and foremost. "I loved the team camaraderie that was built on-and-off the field. My teammates were my sisters always picking each other up at our lowest." Olivia played softball in middle and high school before joining the Thorobreds at Kentucky State where she was team captain two of her four years.

The first-generation student always understood the importance of a college degree towards the future she wanted for herself and her family.

"My parents encouraged me to do bigger and better things -- to do the things that they didn't get the opportunity to achieve," she expressed. "They pushed me to set higher goals and expectations for myself. They are who kept me motivated."

On being named the class of 2022 valedictorian, Olivia says she is honored and grateful to hold this title.

"My hard work and dedication started way before I came to campus. I started working towards my degree in high school taking three dual credit classes and enrolled at Kentucky State with 12 credit hours," she said. "Being a first-generation college student, I never imagined receiving this high of an honor. My whole life, I have been a perfectionist and coming here was no different. I worked on countless assignments and studied many hours to ensure that I maintained my 4.0 GPA."

After graduation, Olivia plans to attend graduate school to obtain a master's in accounting and later sit for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam.

"I am a numbers person. When I took my first accounting class in high school, I became interested in this field; it was a perfect match. I'd finally found a career that is suited for me -- a career where I can be surrounded with numbers all day, every day."

Olivia plans to become a tax accountant.

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