SUU Class of 2014 Valedictorian: Country Girl to Top Scholar

Published: April 02, 2014 | Read Time: 3 minutes

In a town where the cow population far surpasses that of people, Kori Corbridge became a magnet to learning. She was raised amongst the sprawling pastures and decaying fence posts of Glendale, Utah where she excelled in every subject and stood out as a scholar in the 355-population town.

And now four years after leaving the one horse town Corbridge has been named Southern Utah University’s Class of 2014 valedictorian.

It may have been easy for Corbridge, a math education major, to stand out in Glendale, but graduating now in the much larger SUU graduating class she is one of two students that will receive their diploma with a 4.0 grade point average.

But it was more than her perfect test scores that resulted in Corbridge’s valedictorian status; it was her ability to help students receive perfect test scores as a tutor in the Student Support Center, a resource for students with learning or physical disabilities.

“These students have so much more tenacity than the average student,” Corbridge said of the students she tutored. “It was inspiring for me to see them come back day after day and then finally succeed was amazing. I tried to do the same thing with my own classes.”

With tutoring at the Students Support Center for 20 hours a week and also at Cedar High School for an additional 15 hours a week, Corbridge knew little about having time to spare. But with a determination to have a balanced academic and home life she ensured that her family wasn’t being left out.

“I made a requirement to spend time with my husband and family, and I believe that is a contributor to my success,” stated Corbridge. “It made it so I was juggling quite a few balls and I never was on top of everything all the time but whatever ball I dropped I always went after.”

The ability to juggle many tasks Corbridge thanks her country girl roots. She states that work ethic and sense of responsibility transferred over to her academic life, ultimately helping her receive top grades. 

“My parents were careful to teach responsibility and on the farm it was typically a life or death situation if duties weren’t fulfilled,” Corbridge explains of her childhood. “If I didn’t feed the cows or water the fields, animals would die and crops would fail.”

Now as a soon to be college graduate, Corbridge is gearing up for a career as a high school math teacher, and to begin that professional career she went back to the high school that started it all, Valley High in Orderville, Utah where in January she was hired as an intern to teach math.

Jim Wood, principal of Valley High School, said of his student now intern, “I remember Kori when she was my student and she wasn’t just incredibly bright but also very willing to help fellow students. That hasn’t changed now that she is my intern. Her care and concern for the students is incredible.”

Wood went on to say of SUU’s valedictorian, “The school that ultimately hires Kori as a teacher will be extremely lucky. She is an extraordinary educator.”  

Corbridge will be honored at the University-wide Commencement Ceremonies on May 2 at 9 a.m. in the Centrum Arena. 

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