PC’s Hilliard looking at law career
Editor’s Note: Franklin’s Future is a regular feature spotlighting a high school senior in Franklin County and what they have planned for life after graduation.
Phil Campbell High School senior Sarah Hilliard has worked diligently through the past four years of high school, so it’s no surprise that she plans to be just as diligent when it comes to selecting her future career.
Hilliard, 18, said she has imagined being a lawyer since she was a young girl but she wants to do her homework before setting anything in stone.
“I always thought I would make a good lawyer because I love to argue, especially when I’m right,” she said with a laugh. “Seriously, though, it just seems like something I would enjoy and I think I would be capable of doing the research necessary to have that kind of a job. I just don’t know for certain if that’s the direction I’m headed or not.”
As a member of Franklin County Junior Leadership last year, Hilliard already tested the waters during their job-shadowing program by spending the day with Russellville attorney Shane James. But ultimately, she said she would rely on some advice she received when she was Phil Campbell’s delegate to Alabama Girl’s State.
“One of the speakers said that God has a plan for me, and I don’t want to miss it,” she said. “I’ll trust in His guidance. I’m just going to go to college and make my decisions as they come.”
One thing Hilliard is certain about is where she wants to go to college once she graduates in May.
“I’m a huge Alabama fan, so I want to attend the University of Alabama,” she said. “I also really like Tuscaloosa and the fact that it’s far enough from home to feel like I’m on my own, but close enough to come home for a quick visit if I want to.”
Hilliard said she’s looking forward to the independence of college and a schedule that isn’t so monotonous, but she said she will miss seeing her friends after they all go their separate ways.
“I’ve gone to Phil Campbell since kindergarten and we’re all very close, especially since this is a small school,” Hilliard said. “We do a lot of things together so it will be strange not seeing everyone every day.”
Hilliard said she and her classmates – and the student body in general – are even closer than they used to be since they all went through the biggest catastrophe to ever happen in Franklin County – the April 27 tornado.
“When we realized we wouldn’t be in our school that we’ve all gone to, I was a little upset at first just because I didn’t want my senior year to be any different,” she said, “but really, the important thing is just that all of us are still here and we’re all together.
“The little things don’t bother me as much as they used to after all we’ve gone through. I have a lot to be thankful for.”
Hilliard said she’s especially thankful for the hundreds of people who have helped her town get back on its feet in the days, weeks and months after the devastation.
“This situation has showed me that people really do care,” she said. “It touches my heart that people will drop everything to lend a helping hand.”
Hilliard has had her fair share of experience in lending a hand and being a leader through the activities she has participated in during high school such as FCA, FCCLA, P Club, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, SADD, FBLA, student council, class secretary, Junior Civitan secretary and two of her favorites – varsity basketball and softball. She also enjoys helping with Vacation Bible School and children’s classes at her church, Gravel Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
“I feel like participating in all these different organizations has helped me better myself,” she said. “I also think it added an extra level to high school by letting me have a voice, get involved and figure out more of who I am.”
This summer before she enters the real world and head off to college, Hilliard said she plans to spend a lot of time with her family, which includes her mom, Amanda Hilliard; her older brother, Houston; her older sister, Karissa Brown; and her niece and nephew.
“Basically I just want to hang out and do all the things I won’t have time for once I get to college,” she said. “I love going places, traveling, shopping and reading, so maybe I can fit some of that in, too.”
Hilliard said her advice to underclassmen would be to have the best high school experience possible.
“Don’t have any regrets about high school,” she said. “Really get involved and do the things you want to do.”