MASON — Forty-four seniors ended their high school careers at Wahama Friday evening, as they received diplomas during commencement exercises in the school gymnasium.
Krista Nicole Clay and Cynthia Nichole Hendrick, the top two students in the Class of 2017, each gave an address to fellow classmates, as well as those attending the ceremony.
Clay told the seniors that “in order to get where ever you want to go in life, you have to be the one who gets yourself there.”
“Of course, everyone has those special people in their lives that help them, but at the end of the day, it is you that has to take the initiative to make a move that will aide your life in its next steps,” Clay stated. “We all may take the wrong path at some point, we just have to know when to turn around in time to take the right one. I say this speaking for everyone; it is me, myself, and I who will accomplish the things I set out to do. Your parents may help you stand on your own two feet and get you out the door, but you are the one who has to start walking.”
She continued, “Take action and be bold in whatever you choose to do, take risks. That twisted feeling in your stomach is a result of those big leaps.”
Clay quoted New York Times journalist David Brooks, who said during a commencement address at Wake Forest University in 2007, “You know that uncertainty you feel today? It never goes away. The question is, do you know how to make uncertainty your friend?”
Hendrick told her classmates to chase their dreams in her student address.
“The day has finally come where we all walk across this stage and receive our diplomas,” she said. “Time has crept up on us and it is about to push us over the scary ledge into the real world. Every decision we make from this point on shapes our future and determines where we will end up. This is the beginning of anything we want. Why wouldn’t we chase the dreams that we have set for ourselves.”
Hendrick said she believes dreams are what keeps people grounded as human beings. She said a lot of people give up because life gets too hard and their dreams seem too far out of reach. She advised that dreams are a reason to keep fighting and striving to be successful.
“I want each of you to set a dream or goal that you want to accomplish and chase it with every ounce of determination and heart that you can muster,” Hendrick challenged her classmates. “Once you accomplish that goal, celebrate and then set a new one. Keep pushing to be a better version of yourself. Lastly, I want all of you to find passion and happiness in your lives. Life is too short to live with no purpose, and without a purpose, happiness cannot thrive.”
Principal Kenny Bond presented the class to Superintendent of Schools Jack Cullen prior to the presentation of diplomas.
Senior class president Steven Tanner Nutter led those attending in the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the service. Other class officers were Colton Andrew Zuspan, vice president; Taylor Beth McGrew, secretary; and Nena Reann Hunt, treasurer. Class advisors included Cecilia Harris, Kaitlin Ramirez, and Elaine Matheny.
Music was provided by the Wahama High School Choir, under the direction of Rachel Reynolds, and the Wahama White Falcon Band, under the direction of Emily Hall. Senior members of each group participated in the songs for a final time as students of the Bend Area school.
Honors students receiving diplomas were:
Summa Cum Laude – Ashley Dawn Adams, Krista Nicole Clay, Kaleb Matthew Gibbs, Rebekah Lynn Groves, Cynthia Nichole Hendrick, Mason Andrew Hildreth, Joshua Tyler Petry, and Matthew Ryan Wood.
Magna Cum Laude – Rebecca Shea Gerlach, Shelby Kay Gerlach, Charles Garrett Russell, and Brandie Dawn Vickers.
Cum Laude – Lauren Elyse Bissell, Tilar Bailey Darst, Jace Wyatt Edwards, Philip William Hoffman, III, and Nena Reann Hunt.
Others graduating included:
Susana Yazmin Aguirre, Gage Richard Anderson, Whittney Mariah Council, Morgan Dawn Cundiff, Tyler Scott Edwards, Justin Tylor Estep, Emily Diane Gerlach, Garrett Michael Groupe, Amara Marie Helton, Madeline Grace Hill, Megan Marie Hood, Travis Lee Kearns, Randy Paul Lantz, James Leroy McCormick, III,
Taylor Beth McGrew, Leanna Faye Nelson, Steven Tanner Nutter, Jared Chase Oliver, Natasha Ann Plants, Brandy Marshall Powell, Nyles Jacob Riggs, Rebekah Jean Roach, LeDeana BaeLee Sinclair, Elijah Steven Smith, Emily Nicole Stanley, Marley Jo Young, and Colton Andrew Zuspan.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at [email protected]