MASON — “To the class of 2018, congratulations, I wish each of you the best on your journeys.”
These were the words of Isaiah James Pauley, during Wahama High School’s commencement ceremony on Friday evening.
Pauley, Noah Hunter Litchfield, and Madison Tayler VanMeter were announced as the top three in their class of graduating seniors. Both Pauley and VanMeter delivered graduation speeches to their fellow classmates, teachers, family and friends.
VanMeter shared with her class a quote her grandmother once told her.
”’According to the laws of aerodynamics a bumble bee cannot fly; its body is too heavy for its wings and that’s the simple reason why. But the bumble bee doesn’t know this fact, so it flies anyways for all to see.’ Remember this when you’re losing faith,” said VanMeter.
VanMeter explained obstacles and hardships she went through beginning at a very young age and how even when something in life seems impossible, it can still be.
“We move on and take life lessons with us, even though our time at this school has come to an end…there’s an exciting chapter to begin,” said VanMeter.
VanMeter highlighted the accomplishments of her class through not only athletics, but academics and how they all made it to this day together.
She also thanked the many people who have made a positive impact in her life.
“Many of us believed we wouldn’t be able to find ourselves, some of us believed we wouldn’t have the strength to make it to this night…we can finally say we made it, I can finally say I made it,” said VanMeter.
Pauley began his speech by thanking those in his life who drove him to his academic success and made him the man he is today. He also highlighted one other who helped him succeed.
Pauley stated, “I stand before you this evening as an imperfect, broken, and flawed teenager. I struggle. I fail. And I often find myself depressed by my inability to be good enough. But I know someone who is good enough, and His name is Jesus Christ. With that being said, I want to express my deepest sense of gratitude to the Lord and Savior of my life. Without Him, I am absolutely nothing. My life has no purpose and I have no hope.”
Pauley explained his devotion and his love to his Savior and how that love has aided him in his life.
“I know who Jesus is to me. He’s everything. And my entire life is dedicated to Him. For His name and for His glory. And I want each of you to declare the same for your lives,” said Pauley.
Pauley went on to say, “My grades have been finalized. My work here at Wahama is done. But I still have an assignment. An assignment from God to share His Word with you tonight.”
He then shared two verses from Mark, chapter 8.
“If I can be completely transparent with you, I was afraid to say much of what I just said. But over the past six years I’ve been at this school, a deep passion has festered within my heart and soul. It’s a passion for people of all ages—and all backgrounds of life—to know Jesus Christ,” Pauley said. “Tonight, I let that passion escape.”
Also during the ceremony, Courtney Rae Rickard led the Pledge of Allegiance and Principal Kenny Bond gave the welcome and introductions. The Wahama High School band performed the processional, recessional, and Alma Mater as well as “Synergies” by Robert Sheldon with their senior band members. The Wahama Choir, along with their senior choir members also performed a selection.
Wahama High School Class of 2018 graduates include (names as listed by the school):
Summa Cum Laude – Lauren Elizabeth Fields, Bryton Matthew Grate, Baylee Paige Hoffman, Noah Hunter Litchfield, Isaiah James Pauley, Mattie Paige Petry, Madison Tayler VanMeter, Mikenzie Rae Warth;
Magna Cum Laude – Colton James Arrington, Kerigan Alyse Blake, Kaleigh Nicole Stewart;
Cum Laude – Lucas Allan Diehl, Alyssa Nicholle Gibbs, Ethan Lee Herdman, Christopher Peyton Hesson, Brady Lee Kinzel, Anthony Michael Ortiz, Courtney Rae Rickard, Natalie Michelle Rickard, Tori Elizabeth Dionne Robinson, Alexis Jaylan Roush, Destiny Faith Sayre, Christian Wayne Thomas;
Other graduates — Autumn Leigh Baker, Charlotte Asuncion Barrera-Wren, Johnnie Scott Board, Jr., Payton Scoonie Brewer, Alli Marie Dewees, Carson Tanner Eades, Skyler Logan Estep, Caitlin Alissa Harrison, Jase Michael Heckaman, Coltyn Wesley Hendrick, Dalton Michael Kearns,
Joseph Gregory Killingsworth, Robert Cass Kimes, Teawna Marie Marcum, Emily Elizabeth Montgomery, Rachel Nicole Nutter, Brycen Gage Oliver, Trey Anthony Peters, Chelsie Bree Phillips, Megan Leshae Roush, Garrett Michael Snouffer, and Daniele Cheyennee Tomlinson-Lake.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.