Kaitlyn Batt, Tayah Kline rise to the top of Class of 2009 at HNHS

Huntington North High School valedictorian Kaitlyn Batt (center) is shown with her parents, Greg and Karen Batt. Batt and salutatorian Tayah Kline were recognized Tuesday, May 12, during an honors breakfast at HNHS.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Two young women - each with a goal of working in the children's health care field - were recognized Tuesday, May 12, as the top two students in Huntington North High School's Class of 2009.

Valedictorian Kaitlyn Batt, daughter of Greg and Karen Batt, claimed the top academic position in the class the first semester of her freshman year and has never relinquished it, guidance counselor Marcia Brunson says.

Batt's grade point average of 11.6 is believed to be the highest ever recorded at HNHS, Brunson told the teachers and parents assembled in the high school library to hear the official announcement.

The breakfast, HNHS Principal Jeremy Gulley says, was "a time to celebrate the success of two students we are very, very proud of."

Salutatorian Tayah Kline, daughter of Dan and Ronda Kline, claimed the number two spot in the 449-member graduating class with a grade point average of 11.4167, guidance counselor Eunice Kambs says. The HNHS grading scale goes up only to 11.0, but weighted classes and other factors allow students to exceed that number.

Batt plans to study biology at Duke University and then train to become a pediatric neurologist. Her future plans include working with Doctors Without Borders, which would allow her to continue with the missions work she began as a high school student.

Kline will study biochemistry at Azusa Pacific University as a first step in becoming a neonatologist. She, too, hopes to work overseas as a continuation of her high school missions work.

While the valedictorian and salutatorian awards are based solely on academic ranking, both Batt and Kline have amassed a considerable about of experience in both extracurricular and volunteer activities.

At HNHS, Batt spent her first two years in the Varsity Singers show choir and her final two years on the swim team. She is a member and current secretary of Class Council, a member of the National Honor Society, has served as a freshman mentor and was named a Junior Rotarian.
Batt partnered with another student to create a new method of matching students in need of tutoring with volunteer student tutors.

She teaches Spanish classes for middle school students, volunteers at the Huntington City-Township Public Library, offers tutoring through the Huntington County Literacy Council and volunteers in the emergency room of Parkview Huntington Hospital. She's a member of the Red Cross board and has participated in missions trips to West Virginia and Mississippi.

"She is one of the top two or three students with whom I have ever worked in my 11-year tenure in guidance," Brunson says.

Kline has been a member of the varsity track team for four years and the varsity volleyball team for three years.
Kline has been a member of the high school's Student Athletic Board, Freshman Mentoring Council and National Honor Society. She has also served as a peer tutor.

Over the past four years, she has also served as a student leader for Youth for Christ, a Bible school leader and a people to people ambassador.

Kline has also offered volunteer service through missions trips to the Dominican Republic, experiences she says have helped her gain maturity and become more aware of the many blessings she has.

"Tayah is a high achieving student with many outstanding qualities," Kambs says. "She is an excellent example of a student who has achieved a well-rounded education."

Batt and Kline will address fellow students, their families and friends during Huntington North High School's graduation ceremony.

Graduation is scheduled for Friday, June 5, at 7 p.m. in the HNHS gym.

Graduating seniors are also invited to attend a baccalaureate ceremony go be held on Sunday, May 31, at 7:30 p.m. in the HNHS auditorium.