When Cathryn Bigham learned she was the first in her class four years ago as a freshman at Waxahachie High, she was determined to keep it that way. And she did, as Bigham will soon proudly walk the stage as the valedictorian.

Bigham will attend the University of Texas to follow a medical track to one day, hopefully, work in pediatrics.

She is the youngest of four siblings and is following in the footsteps of her sister, Caymee, who walked the WHS stage as the valedictorian in '17.

Bigham has also already been accepted into the Presidential Scholars program at UT, which she did not expect. The honor is given to incoming freshmen with excellent academic credentials. It provides an annual scholarship as well as additional funds to participate in an enrichment program.

The four-year program will be completed with a mentor by her side in addition to being granted a $1,500 one-time stipend that can be utilized for study abroad trips, internships or research initiatives.

While managing strong grades in high school, Bigham juggled sports, fine arts and agriculture, all while giving back to her community.

She served as the student council secretary, participated in cross-country all four years, and served as the vice president for theater this year. In her four years of theater, she competed in UIL One-Act Play for three. She was actively involved in the FFA and was even awarded the Lone Star FFA Degree at the 2018 state convention.

The typical day for Bigham started with a 5 a.m. run with the cross country team. She would then head to class, practice theater, undergo dance lessons and, eventually, return home to study most likely while snacking on Gold Fish and coffee — black, of course.

Bigham attended Felty Elementary and then Howard Junior High, where she and Madison Zandt served as the first-ever mascots for the campus.

Bigham was involved with the campus organization Interact, as well as serving on the yearbook staff and is a member of the National Honors Society. She also volunteers at The Avenue Church, where she aids a second-grade teacher. Bigham started assisting during her sophomore year when those students were in kindergarten. She has enjoyed witnessing them progress for the past two years.

Bigham, who is well versed in ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary dance, continues her contribution to the youth at Danceworks. Bingham has participated in dance recitals with the downtown studio since she was three years old. She now assists with the instruction and noted the end of class is her favorite time because she can encourage the dancers and hear about everyone’s day.

Through dance, Bigham met her two best friends, Emmeline Bearden, the WHS salutatorian, as well as Morgan Wray. The dance community also supported Bigham when Danceworks instructor Jennifer Stevens unexpectedly passed away in 2018. This past year was an “honor” for Bigham to perform on the Jennifer Stevens Stage in the Performing Arts Center.

Bigham said dance “has made me comfortable in my body and with who I am. I think it’s given me a lot of confidence and helped me work through things at different of times. Like when you can come in here you can let everything go.”

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450