By Fancy Robbins
She ranks first in girl’s bench press and power clean at Delta, she’s the second born out of seven children in her family, but most importantly she ranks first in her class. How does she rank so high in everything? How does she manage to do it all?
Rebekah Thorpe, the Class of 2023 valedictorian, will be studying 1,585 miles away once she graduates. She’s one of the few in her class going out of state to study.
Thorpe will attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She plans to major in neuroscience and minor in Spanish.
“For as long as I’ve remembered I’ve always wanted to go there (to BYU). It’s a really prestigious school,” Thorpe said. “I want to get out of Indiana and see something new so I’m pretty excited. It’ll be completely new and different.”
BYU is a university sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More than 98 percent of students enrolled — including Rebekah — follow the Mormon religion. Like many students at BYU, Rebekah plans to do an 18-month mission trip after her first year of college.
She plans to work in the medical field after school but isn’t sure exactly what yet. Both of Thorpe’s parents also have experience in the medical field. Her mom, Jennifer Thorpe, was a nurse and is now a stay-at-home mom. Her dad, Michael Thorpe, is a Minimally Invasive Surgeon Specialist at Indiana Foregut Institute, which is his own business.
Something special about Thorpe is that she’s not the first in her family to rank incredibly high in their class. Her older sister, Alyssa, was Delta’s Class of 2021 salutatorian. Both of the Thorpe parents also ranked high in their high school classes.
“I wouldn’t say there was any pressure [to rank high], it just kind of worked out,” Thorpe said. “I think it’s just good to show that we work hard and help each other out and push each other to be good and better.”
Almost all of the Thorpe kids did not attend an actual preschool because their mother had her own organized preschool at their house. She taught the kids to read fluently before they entered kindergarten.
“Once they learned to read, they could learn so much and developed a thirst for knowledge,” Jennifer Thorpe said.
When the Thorpe family lived in St. Louis for five years, they would go to children’s museums often. At home, they would usually play learning games, cook, and do crafts.
In a family of nine, Rebekah is a role model to many, including five younger siblings and her older sister. Her younger sister, sophomore Christina Thorpe, is the only other sibling in high school.
“Bekah has taught me good study habits and helped me find a place for school in my priorities, and she inspires me to be the person I am,” Christina said.
Christina is also ranked high in the top 10 of the Class of 2025. Because of her sisters being valedictorian and salutatorian in their classes, there’s some pressure on her.
“That pressure is a burden but also helps me to discipline myself to do my best,” Christina said.
To Rebekah, the ranking on her report card since freshman year has been nothing but a number. She’s driven internally rather than by things like grades.
“She has motivation, drive, and desire to do it herself,” her mother said.
Close friends and family members describe Bekah with similar words. Hardworking, confident, ambitious, optimistic and care-free are just a few of them.
“She hardly wears makeup and looks homeless 90 percent of the time, so her energy is definitely what makes people love her,” Christina said.
Throughout high school, Rebekah has done track, cross country and weightlifting. Many underclassmen look up to her, like sophomore Sarah Bohanon.
“Bekah is so smart and her personality stands out to me,” Bohanon said.
Some of her favorite memories during high school were being on the cross country and track team.
“The teams are so wholesome and inviting and we’ve had a lot of fun times together,” Rebekah said.
Erika Grams, a close friend of Rebekah, does track and cross country with her. Erika’s favorite memory with Rebekah is running together during cross country in their senior season.
“She just brought an element to the team that we all loved,” Grams said.