AHS Class of 2023 Valedictorian, Salutatorian Announced

AHS Class of 2023 Valedictorian, Salutatorian Announced
Posted on 05/17/2023

LOW MOOR — Sidney Donnan has been named valedictorian of the Alleghany High School Class of 2023, and the salutatorian is Aiden Williams.

They hold the distinction of being the last valedictorian and salutatorian in the history of AHS prior to its upcoming historic merger with Covington High School.  


Sidney is a daughter of Bob and Mary Donnan of Covington. She is the third member of the Donnan family to be named a valedictorian at AHS. Her siblings Margaret Donnan and David Donnan were both AHS valedictorians. Sidney will attend Davidson College in the fall.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t have made it as far without the push from my family,” Sidney said. “With David and Margaret both being such incredibly smart people, they paved the way for me to latch onto and grow beyond their chosen paths to get to the path I want for myself. My parents have also been so incredible in supporting me and making sure I did what needed to be done.”

“I still remember my dad teaching me to read,” she added. “I was grumpy about having to sit still instead of being outside at the time, but the support and forcing me to do what I have to in order to get things done has continued even when they couldn’t teach me anymore. I have learned so much from them as role models and wonderful humans.”

Sidney is a three-season varsity athlete and she is involved in many clubs and activities within AHS and the community. She is a class officer. Sidney will attend Davidson College in the fall. A cheerleading captain at AHS, she recently signed a letter of intent to cheer at Davidson. She  is also president of the Foreign Language Club and a member of the Beta Club and National Honor Society. 

Sidney said she has found inspiration from the students and teachers at AHS. She adds that growing up in a small community like Alleghany County has helped her forge friendships and relationships that she will always remember.

“High school can be a really scary place but the friendships I’ve made and the support systems I have had have allowed me to become what I am today,” Sidney said. 

“AHS is a small school in a small community,” Sidney said. “I have been able to do so much and be involved in so many groups that I wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere else. I am so honored to be the last valedictorian of AHS before the merger. I can’t wait to see what incredible things my classmates do as they go off into the world. I am so proud of all of us. I really could not ask for a better class to graduate with. We’ve been through so much and stuck by each other’s sides. My class is a patchwork of incredible and diverse people who will go on to do so many great things.”

Aiden is the son of Jenny and Stacy Thomas of Selma. He plans to attend James Madison University in Harrisonburg and pursue a Bachelor of Science Degree in music education.

Aiden attended public schools in Texas through seventh grade before his family moved to Alleghany County. He soon put love for music into action by playing the trombone. At AHS, he has been highly involved in several activities.   

“After moving I tried my hand in one of the local youth orchestras, but it didn’t work out, so I poured my energy into playing trombone. Through high school, I found myself involved in every activity I could fit into my schedule,” he said.

Aiden is a four-year member of the AHS Wind Ensemble and Concert Choir. He has also participated in the marching band for four years.

“I have auditioned and become a member of All-Area Band four times, the District Band twice, and District Choir three times,” he said.

In his four years at AHS, Aiden has been a member of the swim team and served as captain his senior year. During his freshman and sophomore years, he participated in the Robotics Club.

He has also been a member of service-oriented clubs such as the Noteworthy Music Club and the Beta Club. The Noteworthy Music Club is made up of students who love music and giving back to their community. Aiden is a member of the National Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

“During the summer leading into my senior year, I also picked up a job at the Dairy Queen in Clifton Forge,” he said.

Commencement exercises for the AHS Class of 2023 will be held on Saturday, May 20, at Mountaineer Field. Commencement will begin at 10 a.m. 

Both Alleghany and Covington High Schools will mark milestones with their 2023 graduations.  Both graduations represent the final graduations for the current iterations of the high schools.  Additionally, the graduations are the first fully typical graduations since the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Therefore, school and division leaders have made the decision to continue significant traditions at both schools. Individuals in the community may notice ceremonial differences between the two schools as a result.  Alleghany High School, the high school for all Alleghany Highlands Public Schools students in grades 9-12 beginning in the fall, will announce more about what to expect at graduations to AHS stakeholders in the fall of 2023.

With approximately 2,700 students, AHPS was created through the July 2022 merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center. The school division is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington.

School division news and updates are regularly posted on Facebook at AHPublicSchools and the division website, www.ahps.k12.va.us.



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