Braxton Citizens' News, Schools

Valedictorian of 2022 Class likes to stay busy

By Shirley Shuman

When asked what she enjoys doing in her free time, Ellen Collins responded, “I don’t like to just hang around. I arrange things so I don’t have free time.”  The valedictorian, daughter of Roger and Christy Collins, continued to explain that she often uses that time to take care of her pet project, nine breeder pigs.

For several years, as a 4-H and FFA member, Collins showed animals at fairs and other exhibitions. “A couple of years ago, I decided to concentrate on showing pigs, and my interest grew from there,” she said. This decision, she noted, had the biggest impact of anything which has occurred in her life during the past four years. She explained why.

“This decision had the biggest impact because my family told me if I wanted to breed pigs, I’d have to do it on my own. They wanted to see me learn,” she said. “As a result, I had to learn how to ‘process’ pigs. That is, when they are first born, I must dock their tails, notch their ears, and vaccinate them.”  Here she explained that the whole affair gave her “freedom to do what I wanted but required that I learn what I needed to in order to succeed.”

The fact that Collins plans a career in veterinary medicine follows naturally. She will complete her undergraduate work at West Virginia University and obtain her master’s at an out-of-state school.

Collins is also active in school. Being president of the local chapter of Future Farmers of America and a member of the local chapter of the National Honor Society occupy much of her out-of-class time. She has also competed in many FFA events and last year won the regional extemporaneous speech contest.

Academically, she has taken several college classes. At Braxton, her favorite class was US History, a college history class. Collins liked the class because students “took notes, and the teacher [Jerry Frame] explained everything so we could remember better,” she said. Although she chose a favorite class, Collins chose not to name a favorite teacher. She explained. “Each does things differently and there is no way to compare them,” she noted.

Ellen Collins looks forward to being as busy during her college career as she is currently. Of course she also anticipates a busy career as a veterinarian.