POINT PLEASANT — The heat did little to keep a large crowd from witnessing the Point Pleasant High School Class of 2012 receive their diplomas on Saturday.
Proud parents and family members braved the hot sun as did a graduating class of nearly 180 students who entered the PPHS football field high school seniors but left it high school graduates.
Saturday’s ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Wesley Davis, WV FFA state president. This was followed by a performance of the National Anthem by Marissa Snyder. The welcome was given by Lauren Lanier, student council president.
Jerrod Long, president of the National Honor Society then introduced Salutatorian James Andrew Fairchild and Co-Valedictorians Miranda Lea Cobb and Jaden Paige Rhea - all of which gave speeches to their classmates and those gathered for graduation.
First up was Fairchild who said: “Looks like after four years of dreaming, it’s finally reality; today, we graduate. For most of us, the dreaming does not simply end here.”
Fairchild then asked his classmates to stand if they planned on attending a four-year university, two-year college, enter the workforce or join a branch of the military after graduating. There was no shortage on classmates who were left standing after Fairchild’s request.
“We dream of the day we graduate college, the day we land our first job, the day we get promoted, the day we get married, the day we have our first child, the day our children have children, and finally of the day when our days are limited,” Fairchild said. “I would like to take this moment to thank the teachers, parents and grandparents for encouraging each and every one of us to not only dream but dream big.”
Fairchild then said when he looked at his classmates sitting before him, “I see more than a collection of dream weavers; I see the class with the most potential in Point Pleasant High School history. Potential, however, is not how greatness is measured, so let us put our potential to use and make the future we dream of, more than a dream. Let’s make it a reality.”
In closing, Fairchild said,”I would like to remind the Class of 2012 that we are not a group of individuals but a class carefully connected by a common mindset. In the words of the hip hop sensation Wiz Khalifa, we are all ‘living young, wild and free.’ I know the students know what the song implies in its entirety but this lyric serves a more meaningful purpose. We are all young. Young in the sense that we still have many years to make our dreams come true. We are all wild. Wild in the sense that we act with our heart before our brain and we are not afraid to chase a dream. We are all free. Free from high school and free to keep dreaming. Here’s to you Class of 2012, have a safe summer, strive for excellence and never quit dreaming.”
Co-Valedictorians Miranda Lea Cobb and Jaden Paige Rhea then addressed their classmates and the audience, delivering a valedictorian speech both had written and both delivered.
Cobb and Rhea’s speech began by talking about the ups and downs of high school and how some moments are better left in the past while others will never be forgotten. Though pointing out all the great things about high school, the speech cautioned against referring to high school as “the best years of your life” and instead stressed graduates grow and look back at each year of their lives as increasingly better than the last. In short, Cobb and Rhea’s speech said their time at PPHS had “definitely been unforgettable.”
Part of that “unforgettable” experience included experiences and accomplishments beyond the classroom which Cobb and Rhea listed as follows: a football team with an undefeated regular season, a three-time state champion wrestling team, a two-time grand champion marching band, a basketball team that has gone to the state playoff game two years in a row, a baseball team making it to the state playoffs for the third time, a soccer team that make it to regionals, building a state placer on the golf team, earning the honor of being the first State FFA President in high school and earning numerous state and national awards in academics. Cobb and Rhea’s speech said time in high school had been “time well spent” when it came to these class accomplishments.
Accomplishments aside, the valedictorian speech then turned to high school not being defined by just a “transcript, medal or trophy” or even a diploma but an education in life. There was talk of friendships, teachers and coaches as well as hard work, dedication, good times and bad. Still, most importantly, the speech conveyed the fact “we have built a pride for our school in our community and in ourselves.” The speech conveyed a general sense of “earning” these accolades and pride along with memories “both good and bad.” Cobb and Rhea’s speech then touched upon one of the most important things their classmates had achieved and that is the “opportunity to really get to know each other.”
The speech closed by acknowledging many in the class had become a part of each other’s lives for a long time, having known each other for the past four, six or for some 18 years. However, as Cobb and Rhea’s speech put it: “Today, in one single day, we finally move on. Although our autobiographies won’t be bestsellers and most of us won’t compete in pro sports or make it on television, this is not to say, however, that our lives will have little impact on the world. It is the families we raise, the friendships we honor, and the beliefs we cling to that will determine in the end whether or not we were successful.”
Cobb and Rhea’s speech then ended with a wish for luck and a “sincere congratulations” to the Class of 2012 and reminded them “our time starts now.”
Principal William Cottrill then presented the class to Mason County Schools Superintendent Suzanne Dickens. Dale Shobe, president of the Mason County Board of Education then gave out diplomas.
Next, the class roll was given by Mrs. Julie Reed and the order for the changing of tassels was made by Linzi Smith, senior class president. Finally, the Alma Mater was led by Brooke Fisher.
The following is a list of all PPHS graduates:
Shawn Michael Absten, Adrianna Adkins, Christopher Scott Allen, James Michael Allen, II, Cody William Arnold, Briar David Arrington, Tyler Patrick Austin, Jean Nicole Ayers, Mikaela Jean Bays, Morgan Alexandria Benitez, Joseph Robert Bennett, Jr., Chelsea Lee Biland, Evan Scott Birchfield, Morgan Faye Birchfield, Brittany Nicole Blankenship, Zachary Paden Blankenship, Meghan Jo Bowles, Shay Alexander Bradshaw, Ariel Nicole Brewer, Zachary Edward Brewster, Courtney Jayne Bryant, James Robert Byus, II, Nicholas Michael Calandros, Michael Cary Campbell, Chelci Jordan Canterbury, Cody Allen Cline, Courtney Nicole Clonch, Jacob Clay Clonch, Miranda Lea Cobb, Frankie Ray Collins,Joshua Austin Conner, Brody James Cottrill, Whitney Regan Cottrill, April Elaine Craft, Austin Lee Allen Crump, Kayla Jo Cunningham, Brianna Dawn Dangerfield, Anthony Christian Darst, Christian Levi Darst, Robert Floyd Davis, III, Wesley Allen Davis, Kristen Ariel Deweese, Rebekah Ann Donohew, Devan Ann Duckworth, Michael Scott Duncan, II, Matthew Charles Eplion, James Andrew Fairchild, Elizabeth Ann Farley, Katlyn Marilyn Ferreira-Quintal, Aaron Michael Fielder, Barbara Elaine Fielder, Shane Kenneth Filkins, Casey Alexander Fink, Brooke Jean-Anne Fisher, Peggy Ann Flora, Drew Ray Foglesong, Mikayla Dawn Fowler.
James Andrew Freeman, Kevin Charles Gaul, Michelle Lynn Gibson, Ryan Scott Gibson, Robyn Michelle Gilbert, Jacob Hunter Gleason, James Aaron Gray, Jessica Kay Griffith, Chasity Renee Halfhill, Jordan Chase Hall, Curtis Ellis Hammond, Nathan Ryan Hannum, Steven Duane Hardman, Jr., Casey Rae Harper, Dustin Allen Hart, Courtney Dawn Hatfield, Carrie Dawn Henry, Ryan Scott Henry, Travis Dewane Herdman, Joshua David Hereford, Yasmine Isella Hernandez-Aki, Jonathan Lloyd Higginbotham, Dale James Hughes, Glenn Lalian Injo, Jacob Madison Jarvis, Kaitlin Dawn Jeffers, Raheem O’Sha Johnson, Ashley Dawn Jordan, Jack William Joyce, Harley Antwon Davidson Kanniard, Colton Lloyd Keefer, Devin Michael Kincaid, Amanda Lynn King, John Dale Kinnaird, Kathy Jo Kirby, RaeAnna Helene Kirk, Kara Renee Klomp, Lauren Catherine Lanier, Beau Edward Lanz, Hristian Ivaylov Lenkov, Corey Christian Leonard, Matthew Cole Lewis, Ronnie Bruce Lively, Jr., Kenneth Leo Livingston, III, Travis Brian Lloyd, Gabriel Stuart Loggins, Jerrod Sherman Long, Brandon Michael Lucas, Kathleen Nicole Elizabeth LuckeyDoo, Toby Nathaniel Martin, Amanda Renee Matheny, Sabrina Marie Matteson, Brandon Scott Mattox, Joshua Lee Mattox, Casey Dawn McCallister.
Jordan Richard McCarty, Hannan Rochelle McDonald, Mason John-Morgan McGraw, Scarlett Breann McGuire, Christopher Allen Miller, Kayla Dawn Mitchell, Brandon Michael Moore, Justin Grant Morgan, Cody Daniel Morrison, Jordan Enrique Moya, Howard Donald Myers, III, Kelle Ann Neal, Kelsey Nicole Nelson, Chase Anthony Nicholson, Riken Drew Nowlin, Rogan Dennis Park, Stephanie Marie Parsons, Ambrosia Michaela Patterson, Alan Nance Patton, Kathlene Renee Pearson, Scott Alan Perry, April Ann Persinger, Morgan Renea Pethtel, Lindsey Donn Pickens, Bobby James Plants, Damon Michael Porter, Alex Michael Porter, Jessica Lynn Price, Mikeia Tori Pryor, Jaden Paige Rhea, Carrie Elizabeth Rice, Derek Alexander Riffle, Eric Thomas Roberts, Kimberly Dawn Robinson, Leslie Jean Rodgers, Brandon Michael Russell, Olivia Carol Rutter, Johnny Tanner Sayre, Rachel Elyssa Sayre, Elizabeth Danielle Sayre, John Jacob Smith, Linzi Joelle Smith, Rocky Lee Smith, Marissa Lorynn Snyder, Taylor Nicole Somerville, Colten Ray Spencer, Sarah Dawn Spencer, Michael Ray Stewart, Jason Daniel Stouffer, Sandra Jean Summers, Tyler Nicholas Templeton, Kayla Ann Thomas, Morgan Renee Thomas.
Zachariah Stewart Thomas, Zara Shiann Thomas, Layne Michael Thompson, Brandon Michael Toler, Jacob Brian Wamsley, Montana Wayne Wamsley, Catherine Cynthia Wasonga, Jennifer Beth Westfall, Brady Todd Whitt, Kieth Michael Williams, James Evan Wilson, Lori Beth Wooten, Emma Renee Wright, Harlee D. Ziegler.