ASHTON — “We will always be family. We did it Hannan High School Class of 2018.”
These were the words of Emilee Jo Wallace, during Hannan High School’s graduation held this past Saturday.
Wallace, Cassidy Dawn Duffer, and Jayson Thomas Bowen were announced as Summa Cum Laude graduates, as well as classmate Lindsey Paige Holley. Summa Cum Laude graduates are the top honors students, followed by those graduating Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude.
Wallace, Duffer and Bowen all addressed their fellow classmates, friends, family, and teachers during the commencement ceremony.
Bowen decided to take a psychological approach in his speech explaining the social world.
He stated, “Psychology says that as we grow older we have a tendency to focus on the differences between one another, rather than focus on the things we have in common. Adults are more likely to overlook similarities between each other and instead drive a wedge between them and someone with difference beliefs than them such as political beliefs, societal beliefs, or even religious beliefs.”
Bowen went on to explain as children one is more likely to bond to another because of “unusual traits and similarities,” even as simple as enjoying the same television show.
He questioned, “So why, as we get older, do we begin separating from this bonding and hold that our differences are more important than our similarities?”
Bowen then challenged his fellow classmates to think like a child one more time, while they all have the chance.
He said, “We should respect the differences between us for long enough to band together like we did when we were younger. And from this unity, we’ll celebrate the wonderful moment we all have in common that is upon us today.”
Bowen finished his speech by thanking those who helped him through the last four years.
Wallace shared with her fellow graduates, family, teachers, and all others a special scripture.
She stated, “Jeremiah 29:11 says,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
I would like each of you to take this with you today as we start a new journey in life.”
Wallace went on to thank those who were by her side and aided her through the past four years. She emphasized her utilization of prayer during trying times and her relationship with God.
“We are finally receiving the reward that we have worked for so long. Most of us have been together since elementary school, and we have grown together into individuals that our loved ones should be proud of,” said Wallace.
Duffer reflected on how quickly the past four years have come and gone, from her and her classmates freshmen homecoming to their graduation. She explained how they have become like a family.
She stated, “I found this quote that said ‘Families are like branches on a tree. We grow in different directions, yet our roots remain the same.’ I wasn’t personally close to all of you, but every one of you have touched my life in some way. Many of us are getting ready to go on different paths, but we will always have wonderful memories to reflect on.”
Duffer encouraged her fellow classmen to follow their dreams, to strive to be their best, and to pursue their passions. She then offered Hannan underclassmen words of advice.
She said, “Underclassman, I hope that you don’t take your time in high school for granted. Like I said earlier, it goes by much faster than you think. Take your school work seriously, get involved, make a difference, but most importantly, have fun. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of high school, but your outlook makes a difference. Look for the good in everyday, stay positive, and chase your dreams.”
Duffer concluded her speech by naming several individuals who helped her through her journey.
Also during the ceremony, Nathan Michael McQueen led the Pledge of Allegiance and Principal Dr. Karen Oldham gave the welcome and introductions.
Other honors graduates in the Class of 2018: Sara Elizabeth Lewis, Magna Cum Laude; Shane Earl Pickens, Magna Cum Laude; Nathan Michael McQueen, Magna Cum Laude; Sierra Rose Henry, Magna Cum Laude; Jacob Ryan Tomlinson, Magna Cum Laude. James Kelson Edmonds, Cum Laude; Julie Renee Wallace, Cum Laude; Sierra Noelle Mayes, Cum Laude; Emily Marlene Thevenin, Cum Laude.
A complete list of graduates for the Class of 2018 is as follows:
Morgan E. Adkins, Devyn T. Bevans, Jayson T. Bowen, Megan D. Burns, Kassidee D. Bush, Wilson M. Cade, Sawyer E. Casto, Tyler C. Cochran, Christopher J. Connor, Josie M. Cooper, Adam L. Cupp, Jessica C. Dalton, Caleb J. Dean, Cassidy D. Duffer, James K. Edmonds, Stone A. Erwin, Joey M. Exline, Sebastian A. Ferguson, George R. Fields, Riley L. Griffith, Cody A. Hall, Caitlynn M. Hardman, Winsten O. Harvey, Sierra R. Henry, David P. Hernandez, Bristol E. Holley, Lindsey P. Holley, Courtney Horn, Montana R. Huddleston, Lloyd N. Lee, Alexander L. Lemieux, Sara E. Lewis, Michael R. Lowe, Sierra N. Mayes, Nathan M. McQueen, John L. Nibert, Tyler L. Nibert, Shane E. Pickens, Christopher M. Potts, Mary K. Ross, David A. Scott, Megan B. Short, Emily A. Smith, Emily M. Thevenin, Bailey R. Tolliver, Jacob R. Tomlinson, Caitlin G. Trippett, Charles B. Wallace II, Emilee J. Wallace, Julie R. Wallace, Shane N. Wallace, Kayla N. Watterson, Demmie J. White, Hailey J. White, Christopher T. Wiley.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.