POINT PLEASANT — Students walked on to the football field as seniors but left as high school graduates, following the 121st commencement at Point Pleasant High School.
The National Anthem was sung by senior chorus members Jayla Arnold, Danielle Boggess, Madisyn Boswell, Chase Denny, Tatum Ferris, Conner Grady, Rhiannon McGraw, Nikole Smith, Amanda Thompson, Hannah Lee, Summer Nibert, Karlee Edmonds, Josie Kinniard, Kaitlin Rediger, Douglas Workman.
The welcome was delivered by Chase Denny, student body president followed by the introduction of Summa Cum Laude student representatives Emma Rice and Alexis Smith by Tatum Ferris, National Honor Society representative.
Rice and Smith were ranked number one and two in their class, respectively.
Smith’s speech began with some humor, stating: “When Mr. Cottrill first told me to begin preparing a speech he told me that it didn’t matter what I spoke about, as long as I kept it uplifting and positive. And my first thoughts were whether or not this speech had to be school related and if so this speech is going to be real short, but as I got to thinking I quickly realized that it’s actually pretty easy to speak positively about Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School when I think of all the wonderful memories that I’ve made here.”
She then went down “memory lane” talking about milestones in grades 7-12.
“That brings me to senior year; the year of many lasts and the year that I made too many memories to name,” she said. “This was the year that for every first time, there’s a last so make them all the best. This was the year that I learned that it’s not about grades or athletic achievements or achievements of any for that matter. It’s all about the company you keep, the memories you make, and the lessons you learn from each. And while mastering calculus or learning how to write the perfect essay, or speech in this case, are not lessons I learned through memories of my days at Point Pleasant Junior Senior High School; I have so many other important memories that taught me more valuable life lessons. So let me ask you these questions Class of 2017. What memories did you make here and what lessons did you learn from them? What memories do you wish to make and what lessons do you want to learn from them?”
Rice started her speech with the question: “Where do I begin?”
She went on to say her life was like a story book with many chapters.
After recalling chapters at Roosevelt Elementary and entering junior high school, Rice recounted the latest chapter.
“High school became the time where we truly found ourselves and our lives’ purpose as well as the people we were always meant to be,” she said. “As you look around, you will find that our friends today may not be the same as those we had in elementary school, junior high, or maybe even last year. Remember though, these friendships we should be thankful for. They have filled us with countless memories and adventures, taught us valuable life lessons, and helped us get to where we are today. We must not forget to thank the important people in our lives that have helped us with our life successes thus far. For without them, we could not have the level of success we have today.”
Rice specifically thanked her parents, family, friends as well as staff and administration at PPJ/SHS.
“The people we choose to surround ourselves with impact the virtues we possess and how they are portrayed,” she said.
Rice then talked about the specific characteristics of integrity, humility, respect, leadership, commitment and kindness.
“Integrity: the adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty,” she said. “With integrity we break out of our comfort zones, choose what we feel is right by practicing our values, and reach liberation because there is nothing to fear as long as you have nothing to hide.
Humility: the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance or rank. Humility is most simply put in Philippians 2:3 where it reads, ‘Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace the true humility and lift your heads to extend love to others.’ This verse characterizes the importance of how humbleness effects our relationship with others. In an ideal world we must make time for personal reflection and observation, for that is the only way to improve.
Respect: the esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered a manifestation of a personal quality or ability. When we show respect to one another, we gain respect in return. We must set an example by treating everyone with respect-even the ones that are rude, not because they are mature, but because we are.
Leadership: the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group; having the ability to lead; the act or instance of leading. By being and becoming a leader we must have a vision for ourselves and others- meaning to map out our journey, describe this vision clearly to others, and adapt, embrace, and anticipate change. We must admit our mistakes and learn from them because it will help us reach a quicker solution. Also, be open to criticism. We are the leaders of tomorrow, with this responsibility, we must control our actions so they have positive outcomes, calm our inner selves to have self-control, and understand the importance of handling our emotions because it affects others.
Commitment: a pledge or promise; obligation; the act of being devoted to a person or task. The realm of commitment is something we have heard and talked about for many years at Point Pleasant High School,” she said. “We must have commitment for success. Not only commitment, we must have a fair share of failure too. Failure proves our character because it is not always about how or why we failed at something, it is how we move past it, grow, and learn from it. Without failure, we would not know true success. Success is the result of being committed. We must work hard for these successes because it is the key to accomplishing all goals.
Kindness: the act of being in good or benevolent nature or disposition, as a person; indulgent, considerate, or helpful; mild, gentle, or clement. We should find pride in helping others. Being nice or sharing a smile is not hard to do. It takes a matter of two seconds and impacts someone’s life or makes their day a little brighter. Our days will always be more meaningful when we give someone a piece of our hearts, rather than a piece of our mind. As we venture into the world, practice kind gestures, recognize and embrace imperfections, put yourself in someone else’s shoes, be a good listener, avoid judgment, and consider the bigger picture.”
Principal William Cottrill presented the graduates to Superintendent Jack Cullen who accepted the class.
Changing of tassels was done by Austin Liptrap, senior class president and Alma Mater sung by Madisyn Boswell.
A complete list of graduates appears here with * denoting 3.5-3.8 overall GPA (Cum Laude); ^ denoting 3.81-4 overall GPA (Magna Cum Laude); + denoting 4.01 or better GPA (Summa Cum Laude).
Allensworth, Victoria ^; Anthony, Dawson; Arnold, Jayla +; Arrington, Kayce; Arrington, Marshall ^; Barnette, Jadah; Barr, Gage; Barss, Joseph; Bates, Lauren *; Bennett, Brittany; Birchfield, Samantha +; Black, Chelsea; Boggess, Danielle; Booth, Dakotah *; Bonecutter, Karson +; Boswell, Madisyn *; Brock, Rachel; Brogan, Josh; Brown, Andrew; Bruner, Marlee ^; Bryant, Carl; Calandros, Bailey +; Camp, Morgan ^; Carlisle, Kaitlynne; Carper, Travis; Carr, Aaron; Carr, Gregory; Carson, Brittany; Castle, Brett; Chapman, Miranda; Ciarapica, Matthew; Clark, Joseph; Combs, Asher; Cook, Sarah; Cottrill, Michaela ^; Crhfield, Dawson; Crump, Kylie; Da Costa, Luiza; Dabney, John,
Dangerfield, Dalton; Denny, Chase +; Donohew, Heather *; Duncan, Caleb; Edmonds, Karlee; Elliott, Caitlynn *; Ferris, Tatum *; Fetty, Levi; Fisher, Byron; Flory, Ashlie; Fultz, Cheyenne +; Fultz, Tristan; Garcia, Ana; Gibson, Richard; Gillam, Taylor; Gleason, Michelle; Grady, Conner; Haga, Richard; Hammond, Megan; Haney, Oaklen; Harbour, III, William; Harmon, Christopher; Harper, Matthew; Harris, Shebaniah *; Hart, Brittany *; Hawkins, Tate ^; Hawkins, Trevor *; Hayman, Aislyn +; Henken, Morgan; Hersman, Caleb; Hesson, Blake ^; Hesson, Cameron; Hill, Charles; Hitt, Emilee +; Hysell, Cameron; Jackson, Ashley; Jeffers, Timothy; Jeffries, Taylor; Johnson, Hunter.
Karas, Zachary; Keefer, Abigail; Keefer, Emily ^; Kinniard, Josie; Lanham, Donna; Lear, Dalton; Lee, Courtney; Lee, Hannah; Leport, Allison +; Leport, Toby; Lilly, Jonathan *; Liptrap, Austin; Lloyd, Nathan *; Logan, Hayley *; Long, Aaron; Long-Ritchie, Chrissanne; Lyons, Shannon +; Martin, Joseph; Martin, Matthew; Mattox, Courtney; Mattox, Katlyn; McCarthy, Morgun; McComas, Andrew +; McCoy, Breezy; McCoy, Carl; McCoy, Cody; McDerment, Trevin; McGraw, Rhiannon; McKeever, Derrick; Miller, Caleb; Miller, Monica; Mitchell, Tyler; Moore, Alexis; Morrow, Alec; Muncy, Clayton; Myers, Justin; Neal, Tanner; Nibert, Summer; Nowlin, Donovan.
Omena, Lara; Parsons, Emily *; Parsons, Jamie; Parsons, Kayla; Parsons, Jr., Mark; Patterson, John; Paul, Madison; Payne, Catherine; Pearson, Kaylee ^; Pearson, Steven; Pyles, Spencer; Rairden, Parker; Ralbusky, Braydon; Rediger, Kaitlin *; Rice, Emma +; Rice, Maribeth *; Riffe, Cody; Rimmey, Logan; Rimmey, Michaela; Roach, Andrew *; Ross, Hannah; Roush, Morgan; Rule, James; Russell, Lauren; Safford, Grant *; Schultz, Darla; Schultz II, Jason; Schwartz, Derek; Setliff, Jacob; Setliff, Jeremiah; Sheets, Samantha; Shinn, Jarred; Silva, Stephanie; Smith, Alexis +; Smith, Brooklyn; Smith, Melanie; Smith, Nikole; Spencer, Bradlee; Sprouse, Grace.
Sroufe, Logan; Stanley, Amelia *; Stanley, Ethan; Stearns, Ronald; Stewart, Seth; Stover, Colton; Stover, Ryan; Sutphin, Robert; Taylor, Hannah *; Thompson, Amanda; Thompson, Evan; Toles, Siera +; Vansickle, Tierra; Wagelmans, Isabelle; Wallace, Shayla *; Wamsley, Austin; Wamsley, Nicholas; Wamsley, Zachary; Williams, Jasmine *; Williams, Samantha; Withrow, Gage; Workman, Douglas; Wroten II, Scotty *.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.