With graduation just around the corner, Blanket High School best friends Kenzie Tidwell and Marki Kinkade – the valedictorian and salutatorian respectively – will move in much different directions.

Tidwell will move on to Tarleton State University, where she will study nursing, while Kinkade will take her golf skills to the college level at the University of Texas Tyler, where she will study kinesiology.

“I’m really excited. I think it will be challenging, but I know we can do it,” Tidwell said.

Tidwell is the daughter of Gannon and Lisa Tidwell. While at Blanket High School, Tidwell participated in National Honors Society, 4H, FFA, basketball, cheerleading, track, cross country and golf. Tidwell describes the BHS class of 2018 as extremely close knit, but after 13 years in a town of just a few hundred she believes it’s time to move on.

“We’re kind of like brothers and sisters, but these past few weeks we’ve all been like ‘I kind of want to get away from y’all. We’ve kind of been getting tired honestly. I’m fairly good at making friends. I am going to miss my friends, but I am going to make new ones.”

Tidwell said her motivation behind going into nursing were her own past medical issues. At the time of the interview, Tidwell said she was just getting into writing her valedictorian speech that she said would focus on overcoming obstacles.

“I’m thinking about mainly talking about challenges and overcoming them. It’s not set in stone at all. I don’t dislike speaking, but it’s nerve-racking trying to think of what to say to make it memorable.”

Marki Kinkade is the daughter of Charles and Janice Kinkade. While at BHS she participated in National Honors Society, FCCOA, basketball, cheerleading, track, cross country and golf. Will play golf at UT Tyler and study kinesiology.

“It’s the movement of your muscles. I want to be a coach and a teacher. I just really like sports a lot. It’s four hours (away). They really wanted me to play for them,” Kinkade said. “… I’m a little nervous, but I’m ready for the challenge of being around other golfers that are as good if not better than I am.”

As best friends, Kinkade and Tidwell said they never let the race for valedictorian interfere with their friendship and look forward to trying to meet up in the future, when they can make time in their soon-to-be busy schedules.

“We talked about meeting up with each other and we have another friend who is going to Canyon West Texas University so it’s going to be challenging for each of us,” Kinkade said.