Cozad, Warner are tops at Whitko

COLUMBIA CITY — Eighteen-year-old Dylan Cozad and Jesse Warner were selected as this year’s valedictorian and salutatorian at Whitko High School, bringing them more opportunities for their futures.Cozad, the valedictorian and recent winner of the Whitley County Community Foundation 2012 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, said, “My mom always said if I received good grades, I was going to have options— options of where I want to go to school or where I want to get a job. So I’ve just always worked to give myself choices for the future.”Warner, the salutatorian, agreed with Cozad’s description of a hard work ethic, as he believes organization and time management are crucial to being successful in school and life.“I think time management is the most important for me because sometimes I’ll be gone on the road, and I have to get things done and plan ahead a couple weeks in advance just so I have stuff done when it has to be,” said Warner.Cozad and Warner, who have been friends for many years, are both involved in various school activities and clubs including Art Club, Spanish Club and Ski Club. Cozad is involved in track and cross country as well as the National Honor Society. “I run a lot,” said Cozad. “I’m also involved in 4-H and my youth group.”Warner enjoys taking some time from school to race his dirt bikes, spending nearly 20 weeks on the road a year. I am also pretty heavily involved in the American Diabetes Association Charity, because we had family that were affected by that,” said Warner. “We go every year and do a charity event in Indianapolis and try to raise money for that.”While school comes fairly easy for both Cozad and Warner, they admit it is still not handed to them, and they thanked all their teachers, coaches and family members for pushing them to do their best and stay focused on school.Cozad plans to study Actuarial Science at either Butler or Indiana State, and Warner plans to study finance at Butler. Both students are anticipating graduation, June 8, as they prepare for the big day, and begin writing their speeches. Rachel LePage, a guidance counselor at Whitko High School, said the school administration was proud of Cozad and Warner, as they believed were both deserving of their titles. “They worked really hard, and they earned it,” said LePage. “They did so well, and we’re all really proud of them.”