Jackson County cousins earn top spots

Barbara Layton
Cousins Victoria Hinzman (left) and Alecx Gwynn (right) both earned their spots at the top of their class.

Intelligence runs in the family of cousins Victoria Hinzman and Alecxander Gwynn.

Even while attending Gilmore Elementary School, the two said they were always very competitive academically.

“There was always friendly competition,” Gwynn said. “She would win English, I would win Math, it was always just a toss-up of who did better in what.”

Gywnn credits their “friendly competition” for preparing them both for middle and high school.

After fifth grade, the cousins split up when Hinzman chose to attend Ripley Middle, and Gwynn took the path of a future Red Devil at Ravenswood Middle. The competition; however, did not stop just because they attending different institutions.

“Whenever one of us did something, the other would want to do it,” Gwynn said. “If she would win something, I would want to win it too. We would keep comparing one to the other.”

Their competition and comparing paid off big once they hit their senior year. Hinzman, the Valedictorian for the 2020 Class of Ripley High School and Gwynn, the Valedictorian for the Ravenswood High School Class of 2020, each earned their schools’ top honor.

“It’s very exciting and kind of amazing I guess, that we’re both that intelligent,” Hinzman said.

Not only are Hinzman and Gwynn intelligent, but their talents also played out on the field through extracurricular activities.

Hinzman was a stand-out softball player for the Ripley Lady Vikings and Gwynn made his name a staple for the Ravenswood Red Devil baseball team.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cousins missed out on their senior year seasons of their favorite sports.

“I was so looking forward to our baseball season,” Gwynn said. “I thought we were going to be pretty good this year...it just kind of ruined all that.”

Continuing their education is something that the two will also share as they will both be attending West Virginia University in the fall. Hinzman will be studying biochemistry with a future goal of becoming a dermatologist. Gwynn will be majoring in aerospace and mechanical engineering while committing to the Air Force ROTC program.

Throughout life, as these two continue to follow their own paths, there is no doubt that their “friendly competition” will still be there, and they will always come out on top where ever their paths lead them.