Valedictorian headed off to see world
Starting in July, valedictorian Alex Caldwell, 18, will begin four years in the Navy.
Caldwell, a lifelong Peabody resident who began attending Peabody-Burns schools during preschool, wants to see the world while he is unencumbered enough to do so.
He will report in July for basic training north of Chicago.
“I wanted to get this opportunity while I was young,” Caldwell said.
His family, with a strong history of military service, helped inspire his decision to join the Navy. His father served many years in the Navy before becoming a civilian and settling down to raise a family.
Navy recruiters have tabbed Caldwell for training as a quartermaster. In the Navy, quartermasters help navigate the ship. He also is interested in becoming a Navy diver.
He hopes to have decided which of two civilian professions he wants to enter by the time he is done with the Navy.
After he finishes his service in the Navy, he hopes to have decided whether to pursue education for a career in physical therapy or chiropractic work.
“If I’m smart about it, I think I can pursue a career where I have a little money and can do what I want to,” he said.
During school, Caldwell has been on the football, baseball, basketball, and swim teams.
He also played summer league baseball through the city recreation department.
Through the recreation department, he also helped set up, and clean up after, the annual Peabody Fourth of July celebration and ran in the Fourth of July 5K race.
He liked to spend as much time as he could at the city’s swimming pool and at the park.
“It’s always fun just going outside,” Caldwell said. “You can go out and see who else is outside. It’s a small enough town you can do that.”
His entertainment has been more than simply spending time in the fresh air.
“There’s always driving around and going to The Hub,” Caldwell said.
He liked cruising back roads, too.
“The best part about Kansas is driving down back roads in the dark where you can’t see anything,” he quoted his brother as saying.
His favorite classes were math and science.
“I hated English,” he said.
He enjoyed one class where students had access to the shop so they could put their math and engineering lessons to the test.
“I made a scale house,” Caldwell said.
During his commencement speech, he will reflect on the class’s school years.
“It starts off with the highlight of enjoying the little things,” he said. “I’ll talk about 2020, the COVID year and how it took away from us, but it’s OK, we stuck through it. I’ll say thanks to the teachers, we’re going to be prepared.”
Last modified May 12, 2022