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Hodge hopes to pursue physical therapy at AU

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.

Mariah Hodge is an energetic, upbeat and ambitious senior who has been involved in just about everything Tharptown High School has to offer during the past four years.

The 17-year-old student council president has also served as the student council vice-president and parliamentarian; the president and vice-president of 4-H, where she came in second at the state 4-H public speaking competition for two years; a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions, Future Business Leaders of America, the softball team and the track team; the manager for the varsity basketball teams; and she was chosen as one of 20 high school students statewide to participate in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Summer Camp, which is a weeklong camp sponsored by the Auburn University’s Truman Pierce Institute.

But Hodge’s involvement isn’t only at school. She’s involved in the community as well.

She is a member of the Alabama Cattlewomen’s Association, a Relay For Life volunteer, a kindergarten tutor at Tharptown’s After School program, a former member of Franklin County Junior Leadership where she received the received the Gold Presidential Volunteering award for community service; she was named first alternate at the Distinguished Young Woman Pageant (formerly known as Junior Miss); and she served as a volunteer with Helen Keller Hospital’s rehab services helping physical therapists and their patients.

“I think it’s a good idea to get involved because it allows you to become a more well-rounded person,” she said.

“You’re also able to get to know more people and learn how to work with them, which prepares you for college and the workplace.”

Hodge said she believed the smaller setting at THS allowed her the opportunity to be involved in many different things, and the small-school atmosphere is what she’ll miss when she graduates.

“Being in a smaller school allows you got get to know everyone better and gives you a chance to really know your teachers,” she said. “I think that helps you receive a better education because there’s more time for one-on-one learning.”

Hodge said she has her sights set on attending college once she graduated from THS in May.

“I’m looking forward to college so I can meet new people and experience new things,” she said. “I hope I can get involved and really be part of things like I have been in high school.”

Hodge said she planned to start off going to Northwest-Shoals Community College because it will be a good way to transition into a four-year school.

“After I’m done at Northwest, I plan to transfer to Auburn,” she said.

“I’ve always wanted to go there but going to the leadership camp on Auburn’s campus this past summer just made me realize even more why I want to go there.

“Everyone was so friendly and it just seems like a good place where anyone can fit in and have a good college experience.”

While in college, Hodge plans to study physical therapy.

“I want to do physical therapy because I love helping people and helping them achieve their goals,” she said.

“With physical therapy, I can help people get their lives back after a car accident or surgery or an illness.”

She said her volunteer work at Helen Keller Hospital helped solidify that decision for her.

“I really enjoyed my time volunteering at Helen Keller and I know being a physical therapist is something I’ll enjoy.”

Once she has her degree, Hodge said she wouldn’t mind coming back to Franklin County to work and settle down.

“I like the small-town charm that Franklin County has and I think it’s a good place to live,” she said.

“If I came back here, I’d like live somewhere in Franklin County and work at Helen Keller.”

When Hodge isn’t busy planning her future or being involved in activities, she said she enjoys spending time with friends and family on the boat on Little Bear. She also babysits when she has the chance.

Hodge is the daughter of Laura Hodge and Michael Hodge. She has two brothers, Clay Hodge and Matt King.