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Covenant Academy honors top students
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Covenant Academy’s valedictorian Reonna Pennington, 17, escapes a locker as salutatorian Tyler Hillis 17, jokingly attempts to shut her in and claim the top title in the 2020 graduating class. - photo by Atlanta Northcutt
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Covenant Academy’s graduating class of 2020 is, front row, from left, salutatorian Tyler Hillis and valedictorian Reonna Pennington. Middle row, Newby Anderson, Randy Cantrell and Katie Pack. Back row, Erica Clay, Conner Wilson, Lilyanne Kell and Neal Patel. - photo by Atlanta Northcutt

Two students have received the coveted titles of valedictorian and salutatorian of Covenant Academy’s 2020 graduating class.

Reonna Pennington, 17, and Tyler Hillis, 17, are at the top of their graduating class of nine seniors. Pennington was awarded the honor of valedictorian while Hillis is salutatorian. The two are looking forward to bright futures. 

Pennington plans to attend Motlow for two years to receive an associate’s degree. She hopes to then transfer to Chattanooga State University to get her degree in sonography to become an ultrasound technician.

“I have a strong love for babies. I want a lot of kids of my own so I really want to work with babies and their mothers,” says Pennington.

Pennington is the daughter of Bobby and Tanya Pennington. She is a member of Covenant Academy’s tennis team and has attended the school for four years.

“My favorite subjects are anything related to science, such as biology, chemistry and physics,” says Pennington. “I just love science and find it very interesting, but I also love English, too.” 

Due to the small number of students in the senior class, Pennington believes the classmates are much closer than at some other schools. The seniors will be going on an overnight trip to Gatlinburg in May to enjoy one of their last celebrations together before the school year ends. 

“I don’t see my classmates as just my friends. I see them more as my brothers and sisters,” says Pennington. “I’m excited to go on a trip and spend the small amount of time our Covenant family has left together before we separate and go different ways.”

Tyler Hillis is the salutatorian and is planning to either attend Pensacola Christian College or East Tennessee State University. He will be studying to become a doctor and is interested in working as an orthopedic surgeon, neurosurgeon or emergency room doctor. 

“I want to be a doctor where I can help people physically, but I also want to help people spiritually by becoming involved in ministry later on and spreading the word of Jesus,” says Hillis. “I feel like God is leading me to attend Pensacola Christian College because everything seems to be falling into place for me to attend that university.” 

Hillis is the son of Leisha and Tracy Hillis. His favorite subject is Bible class. Outside of school, Hillis enjoys participating in exercise classes at Carbide CrossFit.