My daughter, Ashley, is the queen of class, both literally as she prepares to graduate as her class valedictorian at her high school in Wisconsin, and figuratively in the way she carries herself with dignity and class on a daily basis.

I remember back in the day, when referring to her as the queen of sass would have been more accurate.

My daughter was so fiery as a newborn and as a toddler I never thought I would see the day where I would get a moment of peace and quiet.

Ashley announced her presence to the world when she was born, screaming her lungs out.

She’s been refusing to be ignored ever since, in so many ways.

Whether she’s performing violin solos in front of her school, or working toward her black belt in tae kwon do or earning straight A’s in all advanced placement classes, Ashley easily outshines anyone around her.

Despite her successes, she has definitely quieted down over the years, letting her quiet confidence convey her self-assuredness.

I’ve noticed that the kids around her, yelling and clowning around, aren’t the valedictorians of their class. It’s the girl using her free time to pick up a book and read.

Though I’m her mother, I’ve learned so many life lessons from my daughter over the years.

One thing I’ve noticed and admired about her is that she is constantly looking for ways to better herself.

She’s never complacent in her search for self-improvement, whether it be looking for a part-time job to pay for college, or scouring the internet or library bookshelves for sources of information she can learn something new from.

Another life lesson I’ve learned from my daughter is to be kind to everyone ... to a point.

From the principal, to the new student in class to the janitor of her school, Ashley is friendly and helpful to everyone she meets.

She believes in giving everyone a chance unless they give her a reason to do otherwise.

But once someone is rude or disrespectful to her, that’s it. She knows when to put her foot down and walk away from disrespect.

And the last life lesson I’ve learned from my daughter is to never procrastinate.

She often could be found working on a science project until 11 p.m., even if the project wasn’t due for another week.

When asked why she did that, she would always say, “Who knows what other assignments will come up between now and then? It’s better to have this off my plate as soon as possible.”

I’ve always heard that the younger generations could stand to learn a thing or two from the older generations, but my daughter makes me think that perhaps we could all stand to learn a thing or two from the younger generations as well.

Some of these kids who will shape our future have it together more than I could ever hope to.

It amazes me that the little girl who I spent hours reading with or teaching colors and shapes to is now teaching me how to adult more efficiently.

I’m so proud of her. The sky truly is the limit, and I have high hopes for our future.

Jacqueline Dowland is editor of the Copperas Cove Herald. Contact her at or 254-501-7464 | 254-501-7464

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