MASON — Last night, 65 graduating seniors, along with their family, friends, and teachers, gathered at Wahama High School to honor their accomplishments and remember the good times of years past.
The evening began with the familiar tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates filed into their seats. Principal Kenny Bond opened the ceremony, followed by the salutatorian address.
Salutatorian Brogan Barnitz began with an expression of gratitude for her teachers, stating they not only taught subjects like Calculus and Chemistry, but also life lessons in responsibility, accountability and integrity. She continued, acknowledging family and loved ones, for their support for her and her classmates as they grew up together. Barnitz then addressed her fellow graduates, discussing how much she has learned from them, and stated she wouldn’t be who she was today without the influences from her classmates and friends.
“Although this will be the last time many of us will see each other for years, take comfort in the memories we have made together,” Barnitz said. “High school has been our chance to grow up. Someone recently told me, ‘Good judgment comes from experience, and most of that comes from bad judgment.’ We have made mistakes, and hopefully we have learned from them. When we leave here today, we won’t be coming back, but we can accept that. We will move on to open new doors that will take us places we can’t imagine right now.”
Following Barnitz’s speech, the Wahama band performed a selection, followed by an address from Valedictorian Vanessa Bumgarner.
Bumgarner addressed her fellow classmates by reciting a quote from Robert Orben, which stated, “A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success.”
She continued, acknowledging her family and teachers for the guidance and support she received over the years. Bumgarner then turned her attention to the rest of senior class, reminding them of a few past memories and encouraging them to do their best in the future.
“As we go our separate ways and each begin our journey in life, always remember your times at Wahama and the friends you have made,” Bumgarner said. “Your future is what you make it, so whether you go to college or get a job, choose something you love and live your life to the fullest. Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of someone else. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Learn from your mistakes but have no regrets, and always do your best in everything that you do. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Make it happen.”
Following Bumgarner’s speech, there was a performance from the Wahama senior choir members, followed by Bond and Assitant Principal Melissa VanMeter with the presentation of the class and at last, the diplomas.
The graduates of the Class of 2012 from Wahama High School are Kevin Jeremy Back, Brogan Elizabeth Barnitz, Sarah Louise Beach, Jacob Hunter Blair, Jamin Jeshaiah Branch, Vanessa Lynn Bumgarner, Jacob Tanner Buzzard, Katlin Jo Clarke, Jeremy Beau Cundiff, Dustin-Jon Alan Davis, Tannor Ray Decker, Cory Lee Duncan, Charles Henry Estep, Karista Mae Ferguson, Whitney Alexis Fields, Chelsea Jo Foster, Damon John Gibbs, Jr., Bridgette Dawn Gray, Anthony Dale Grimm, Tabitha Dawn Grindstaff, Tyler Eric Hendrick, Jonathan Frazier Hoffman, Terry Lee Jewell, Jr., Galen Drew Kaylor, David Joseph Kimes, Natosha Marie King, Kody Tyler Lamoine, Isaac Devon Lee, Jerrod Lee Lewis, Kaleb Allen Mankin, Cody Alvin McCarthy, Steven Lee McDaniel, Colton Gary Lee McKinney, Kristen Ashley Menendez, Nathan Adam Mohler, Adam Mark Duane Moore, Andres Evan Moya, Austin Del Ohlinger, Garrett Andrew Ohlinger, Jeremy Rae Ohlinger, Benjamin Albert Oldaker, James Hunter Oliver, Amber Nicole Pauley, Marsha Lynn Pearson, Kaleb Shawn Petry, Ashley Nicole Roach, Brandon Lee Roush, Katrina Manoka Roush, Tyler Robert Roush, Cody Scott Russell, Bryan Eugene Smith, Evan Michael Smith, Michael Scott Sparks, Candice Dawn Stevens, Chelsea Dawn Stewart, Matthew Lloyd Stewart, Kayla Michelle Stiffler, James Bradley Tate, Ashley Shania Templeton, Mariah Nicole Vanmatre, Donald Clayton Vanmeter, Gage Hardy Vanmeter, Lacey Ann Varian, Zachary Austin Warth, Rebecca Ann Zerkle.