Gray, Heaton get top honors at CAK

Susan EspirituWest Knox County

Olivia Gray is valedictorian and Natalie Heaton is salutatorian of the Christian Academy of Knoxville Class of 2024.

Olivia Gray has a passion for STEM education and a servant’s heart in everything she does. At CAK, Olivia has led as Student Senate president. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, the vice president of the National English Honor Society and the captain of the CAK Scholars Bowl team. Olivia has been recognized as a National Merit Semifinalist and an AP Scholar with Distinction, having taken 12 AP courses. For her senior capstone, she created and led a chemistry camp for third and fourth graders at CAK. She has a passion for chemistry and also tutors the subject at CAK. Olivia has attended CAK since her sophomore year of high school, and her favorite CAK memory was being a part of the work crew with her mom during the high school spiritual retreat this year.

She plays soccer and led as a team captain this year.

Outside of school, Olivia has participated in club soccer and Youth Leadership Knoxville and attends Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church. Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:6-8.

After graduation, Olivia plans on attending either UNC Chapel Hill or UTK, where she intends to major in chemistry on the pre-med track. She is also looking forward to getting involved in a campus ministry, playing intramurals and meeting new people.

“I am so thankful for the opportunities that CAK has brought me and the lessons I have learned here,” says Olivia. “I have been blessed with the most caring teachers who aim to better me both academically and spiritually. At CAK, I have developed a deeper faith. CAK has brought me lifelong friendships, mentors and lessons. I could not be more thankful for the person this school has helped me to become.”

 Natalie Heaton excels not only academically but in many extracurricular activities as well. Natalie is a National Merit Semifinalist and has been recognized as an AP scholar with honors. She was awarded the Optimist Club of Knoxville Service to Humanity Award for her positive contributions to society through her advocacy for the arts. For the last three years, Natalie has been a member of the National Honor Society and served as a treasurer her senior year. She has also been a National English Honor Society member for two years, serving as co-secretary her senior year.

Natalie is involved in various clubs, including the Diversity Club, Ceramics Club and Teen Advisors. Through her varied art courses at CAK, Natalie has developed a passion for the arts. For her senior capstone project, Natalie was the first student to lead costume design for the Primary Players Children’s Theater in her junior and senior years. She designed and created the costumes for the shows Cats Youth Edition and Finding Nemo Jr., helping to promote exposure to the arts to hundreds of students within our community.

Athletically, Natalie has played on CAK’s girls’ varsity soccer team for three years and was recognized as All-District Defensive Player of the Year and a member of the All-Region team for the 2023 season.

Outside of school, she attends Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church with her family.

After graduation, Natalie plans to attend the University of Tennessee in the honors program. She is considering a biology major and a career in the medical field.

“I am so grateful,” says Natalie, “for every single teacher and faculty member who poured out their time not just to help me grow academically but also to help foster my spiritual life. To be able to look up to so many role models who display Christ’s love every day within my school has been such an incredible blessing!”

Information and quotes provided by Christian Academy of Knoxville.

All of us have a story and I want to tell yours! Send them to


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *