MIDLOTHIAN — For four years, Quinn Hallmark and Harvey Cornell have flip-flopped between the top two spots in the Midlothian High School Class of 2017. On more than one occasion, the two scholars were separated by one one-thousandth of a GPA point.

That difference recently “ballooned” to a whopping one one-hundredth of a grade point, according to Hallmark, the 2017 MHS valedictorian.

“Me and Harvey have been going back-and-forth since our freshman year but at the start of the semester we got our new ranks in GPAs, and I saw that I was first, so I knew were just kind of had to hold him off until the end of the year,” said Hallmark with a grin. He noted that he wasn't told officially until two weeks before graduation.

However, as he explained alternating between the two was not so much as a competition as much as it was a way for both students to push themselves. He described how the two had first through the sixth period together this year and would work together on many of the same projects.

“We kind of decided to stop competing with each other and just to help each other out,” Hallmark explained. “We started doing all of our class projects together, so all of our grades are really going to be the same anyway. Honestly, we were trying to get a tie, but that is kind of hard to do.”

Hallmark said he plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to study in the field of biological and medical sciences with aspirations of one day becoming a plastic surgeon.

“I've always thought it would be cool to help people, like burn victims, and help rebuild people or even just people who want to become more beautiful."

He was a two-time state champion in the UIL short film contest, a member of the Panther baseball team for his first three years of high school and was frequently found around the theater – partly because he enjoyed it but mostly because his mother, Angee Hallmark, is the theatre director at Midlothian High School. He credited his mother and father, Adam, and younger siblings, Ethan and Chloe, with helping him reach his goals.

“I’m going to miss my friends. I have made a lot of good friendships over the years, and it is just sad to spend these four years finding yourself and then getting pushed out into the real world,” Hallmark said. “I’ll miss the teachers and my mom, a lot. Like, I’ll miss going to her room every day and seeing her with her students.”

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Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

(469) 517-1470