Cullman County Student of the Year Peyton Trotter on influence, inspiration and her future goals

Peyton Trotter, Cullman County Student of the Year (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. – With one glance at Peyton Trotter’s resume it’s easy to tell that the Fairview High School senior is an overachiever. With a higher than perfect grade point average, numerous extracurricular activities, college classes and part-time employment, it makes her a worthy recipient of Cullman County Student of the Year.

The recipient of over $25,000 a year in scholarships covering room, board and books for college, the teen shares her future goals.

“After I graduate from Fairview High School, I’ll be going to Auburn University. I’ll be majoring in Human Development and Family Sciences with a minor in Cognitive Psychology. I want to be a child life specialist at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. They help families and patients cope with the difficulties that come with hospitalization, illness and disabilities. If a child is diagnosed with cancer, I would explain that diagnosis to them in a way they understand. If a child doesn’t make it in a surgery, I could be the one to tell the family.

“When I was diagnosed with scoliosis, it was very confusing. I had my family, but they couldn’t relate to what I was going through. The child life specialist at Children’s made it easier for me. When I had surgery in November, my child life specialist would come visit and bring me activities to help keep my mind off the pain. I want to be able to do that for other people,” she explained.

Trotter has received four scholarships from Auburn including the Kevin and Stacie Haynes Family Endowed Student Alumni Scholarship, awarded to only one graduating Fairview High School student set to attend Auburn University. In addition, she has secured the Distinguished Young Woman of Cullman County Community Service Scholarship, Woodman Life Focus Forward Scholarship, Cullman County Student of the Year and several others.

There is one distinction that gave her the validation she had been seeking.

Trotter said, “The most meaningful award has been the Cullman County Student of the Year. At the beginning of this school year, I thought I hadn’t done enough over the past years in high school. Receiving that recognition proved me wrong. When my principal, Mr. Craig Gambrill, told me that I was Fairview’s nominee, I thought maybe I had done enough.”

When asked about the most important influence in her life, Trotter looked with a big smile to her mom, Miranda, and answers, “Probably you. It’s like the Reba song. She’s a single mom who works hard to provide my brother and I with everything we need and most of the things we want. If I choose to have kids one day, I hope that I’m able to be half the mom that she is. I think I get my desire to help other people from my mom.”

Peyton Trotter with mom, Miranda Trotter (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

Her mom shared, “All of the things on her resume and her accomplishments don’t really show her heart, how she loves people and how determined she has been to reach her goals.

“In the 7th grade when she started talking about college, we talked about how important it would be to work hard and keep her grades up so she could get scholarships. We all know how expensive college is and she knew what she had to do. She buckled down and she did it. She got focused and just became this incredible human being.”

Trotter’s beloved grandmother passed suddenly five years ago, and the loss rattled her family to the core. Trotter and her brother were her pride and joy, and the grandmother’s love still guides them to this day.

Trotter’s mom reflects, “I see my mom so much in Peyton. My mom loved people and I see that in her. She’s so much like my mother in her love and caring and giving spirit. I have no doubt that, even though Peyton only had her for 13 years, my mom influenced her so much. Her grandmother lives on in her every single day.”

Her senior year has been full of activities through school including the student government association, National Honors Society, yearbook staff, marching band drum major and countless others. Trotter can also be found at Temple Baptist Church in West Point, watching The Gilmore Girls and spending time with her friends.

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