Holliday ranks second in Class of 2021

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By ANTHONY FLORES

Space. The final frontier.

For Jessica Holliday, solving the mysteries of space rests at the center of her passions, pushing her to achieve great things. Holliday is Liberty Hill High School’s Salutatorian.

“I love space. I love everything that has to do with space,” Holliday said with excitement. “My backup plan if I don’t like biology is to go into aerospace engineering. My long-term goal is to somehow study microbes in space working for someone like SpaceX or NASA.”

Before she can get out of orbit, Holliday has to take on college. The LHHS Salutatorian is set to attend Texas Tech in the fall. In her LHHS career, Holliday played four years of basketball and was a member of the National Honor Society.

The accomplishment is a product of determination and hard work, and Holliday doesn’t hesitate to make that clear.
“I think a common misconception is that people at the top of their class are just smart in every topic,” said Holliday. “That’s not the case. I didn’t understand a lot of the math subjects that easily. It’s important to take into consideration the work ethic that goes into it.”

Sitting in the number two spot comes with expectations and pressure. Holliday has her own ways of coping.

“There’s a lot of stress that comes with trying to stay at the top,” said Holliday. “I love to read and watch TV shows. Whenever I get super stressed about things, I really like to read and escape into a new world. That’s my go-to.”

With her deep love for books and television, Holliday is always looking to try new flavors. Hobbies can say a lot about a person. Holliday’s approach to books shows her interest in details. She takes time to read the same books multiple times to uncover missed details or connections.

“Details are important to me for projects, assignments, essays, or anything like that,” said Holliday. “I like my stuff to be, well I wouldn’t say perfect because you can’t be perfect, but I like to make things the best I can.”

Attention to detail and work ethic are only two parts of the complex equation that equals Holliday’s achievements. The other is her willingness to seek out help when it’s necessary.

“I love asking for help. It’s my favorite pastime,” Holliday joked. “I do love asking different teachers questions. I think it’s important to do that because you’re not going to know everything, so why not ask others for help. It doesn’t mean you’re dumb. It just furthers your learning.”

The final part of the equation is her time management skills. Holliday developed into a master of time management through high school and a pandemic.

“I follow the method where I only do one thing for an hour and then something else for an hour,” said Holliday. “I blocked my time really well, and I was able to set aside time for basketball, school, and other clubs. I also love to sleep, so I was not willing to give up my sleep time. I knew when to cap things and sleep.”

Whether she seeks the position actively or not, Holliday is viewed as a leader amongst her peers. A role that she accepts.

“I think I try to do the best I can in every subject, and it does feel great when your friends come to you for help,” she said. “It does feel like an honor when someone comes to ask for help. I love teaching people material if I can.”

Holliday can sense the changes she’s experienced over time. Maturing and learning to accept her failures as lessons.

“I used to have this horrible fear of failing,” she said. “In basketball, when I would have a bad game, I’d be so upset with myself. There was a big change, and I started being able to move past my failures. I was able to internalize my failures and learn and do better on things. I used to be very self-berating. Now I have a much more positive attitude.”

Holliday’s journey to the stars starts with her choice of school — Texas Tech. The salutatorian is majoring in cellular and molecular biology and believes this is the doorway to her career goals.

“When I was younger, I used to watch all kinds of documentaries talking about how the moon was formed and about stars and stuff like that,” said Holliday. “Seeing the unknown and all the possibilities excites me for the future.

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