by JAMIE PARSELL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
In the Gilley family, education is important, but Dr. Paul Gilley, 52, always told his daughter Rebecca to do her best in school. It was advice handed down from his mother, Freda Gilley, 73, of Speedway. When Rebecca, 18, a senior at PikeView High School, was named top of her class, she became a third generation valedictorian.
“My dad has always wanted the best for me,” she said. “I knew he had been a valedictorian and it made me work hard.”
Paul was co-valedictorian for Baileysville High School in Wyoming County in 1985; his mother was also top of her class in 1957.
“Well my goal wasn’t to be valedictorian,” Paul said. “I had wanted to be a dentist from the third or fourth grade. I didn’t set out to be the valedictorian but I always tried to get the highest grade that I could.”
Father and daughter share the honor, but excel in different areas. Paul said he sees more of an artist in his daughter, while he remembers enjoying math and science.
“Naturally, I am really proud of her. I just hope she can achieve the goals and dreams she wants ... I think it is kind of special knowing all three of us have finished first in the class,” Paul said.
Rebecca plans to attend West Virginia University in the fall. She said being named valedictorian was a surprise. She has always been in the top three of her class.
“You just don’t know how it is going to turn out,” she said.