"There were some times I almost wish I didn't know I was in the running for it and I could take it easy," Young said. "I still had to keep trying no matter what, even on those off days."
For his perseverance in the classroom, the Tupelo High School senior was recognized on Monday as one of 15 Six-Year Scholars.
They were among 187 THS and Tupelo Middle School students honored by the Rotary Club, which each spring lauds the top 30 students in each class, plus ties, in grades 7-12.
The award is based on grade-point averages for the first three nine weeks of school.
"We admire and appreciate all of you and the record of academic achievement that you have been credited with in the Tupelo Public Schools," said Lewis Whitfield, a Rotarian and the program's master of ceremonies.
THS graduates go on to various pursuits, "But regardless of the field and regardless of the issue, the answers all begin with education," Whitfield said. "We encourage you to continue your education and complete the highest level you can attain."
Superintendent Randy McCoy, also a Rotarian, said the accomplishments are a tremendous achievement.
"These children are academic icons of our school district," McCoy said, noting thanks should be given to their teachers and parents.
Jennifer Lesley said she is very proud of her daughter, Six-Year Scholar Caitlin Lesley. "It took a lot of studying, a lot of commitment and dedication," she said.
Also a Six-Year Scholar, senior Marion Rice said it's an honor "to be with all these really successful, bright students."
With swimming, soccer and tennis also on her plate, Bess Ruff said she was highly motivated to keep her grades up. Like Young, she too aspired to be a Rotary Scholar every year since the seventh grade.
"When you get it once," she said, "there's no point in not going for six years.