ASHTON — A bit of normalcy on a day that is anything but normal.
There were no cap tosses again and seats were still distanced six feet apart on the infield, but the Hannan High School Class of 2021 had its day in the sun — without masks no less — on Saturday morning as the school hosted its 92nd commencement ceremony at the Craigo Athletic Complex in Mason County.
Graduates entered the football field to the sounds of Pomp and Circumstance, then senior Wyatt Bryan led the crowd in the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance. HHS Principal Stephen Pritchard followed by introducing both the guests and the student speakers.
The Summa Cum Laude student representatives were Rebecca Wallace and Bailey Coleman, who respectively spoke on behalf of the Class of 2021
Wallace went first, noting that her days at Hannan had provided many life-changing experiences to help prepare her for the future ahead.
“For six years, Hannan has been my everything. During my time at Hannan, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned the obvious: math, science, history, but I have learned so many unforgettable life lessons,” Wallace said. “The life lesson that sticks out the most to me is never give up. You can’t give up and expect to get anywhere in life, and this is a lesson that I learned from all of my teachers.
“Thomas Edison once said, ‘Our greatness weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to just try one more time.’ Although there have been times when I have felt like giving up, that has not been an option.
“Another life lesson I learned early in my time here came from Ms. Soloman, who taught me that you are your only ticket out of here. She taught me if you want something to be better, you are the only one that can do it. I am thankful for her advice to take responsibility for my actions and my future.”
Wallace concluded by thanking friends, family and faculty for helping shaping her into the person she is today. She wrapped up her speech by saying, “I have made many good memories here, but I am ready to go and do new and exciting things and make more memories.”
Coleman followed Wallace’s sentiments by speaking of the importance of all of those who helped her — and all of the 2021 graduates — reach this moment in time.
“The education we have acquired over the past six years has required a lot of time, dedication and consistency,” Coleman said. “As adolescents, we began to grow mentally and physically. We learned what our capabilities were and started to develop them. Now, as young adults, we have finally allowed ourselves to respect the knowledge we have acquired through the teaching of our instructors. We can now apply this gained knowledge to our future goals.
“Throughout my life and my journey at Hannan, there have been numerous individuals that have assisted me in getting to where I am today. Hannan has not only been about teaching us knowledge in books, but teaching us knowledge that would last a lifetime.”
Coleman concluded her remarks with a note to her fellow graduates, and a quote from the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King.
“To my fellow classmates, we finally did it. We didn’t know what to expect back in 2015 as scared little seventh graders. Now we embark on the next chapter of our lives,” Coleman said. “Some things will change, but the one thing that remains constant is our relationships. Nothing worth accomplishing can be done alone, and I would not have wanted to share these memories with any other group of people.
“Dr. King once said ‘You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step,’” Coleman said. “Today, by completing our secondary education, we have already taken the first step towards success.”
Mrs. Cherry Weikle gave the presentation of honor graduates, then Mr. Pritchard presented the remainder of the class before handing the microphone over to Superintendent Jack Cullen for the acceptance of the class.
Honor students were given white, navy blue and gold cords to designate academic excellence as follows: (*) White and Cum Laude designation, 3.5-3.8 overall grade point average; (^) Navy blue and Magna Cum Laude designation, 3.81-4.0 overall grade point average; (+) Gold and Summa Cum Laude designation, 4.01 or better grade point average.
A complete list of graduates, as found in the official HHS commencement program is as follows:
Ross Edward Beller, James Ethan Lee Browning, Bryan Eric Wyatt+, Bailey Michelle Coleman+, Tonika Elizabeth Coleman^, Chase Brent Cooper, Skylar Renea Edmonds, Kali Breanne Edmunds, Celeste Gabrielle Ferguson^, Dana Irene Ferrell, Riley Dalton Foley^, Aleesiah Danielle Fortner, Brianna Joy Fraley, Ryan Wayne Hall, Alycea Storm Harper, Megan Nicole Horn, Halie Paige Johnson*, Dustyn Shayn Kelly, Joseph William Kinniard^, Zacary Shane Lang, Trent Andrew McDerment, Savannah Hope Meadows^, Skyler Dawson Nance*, Robert Chase Poore+, Morgan Savannah Porter*, Devin Reid Pressley, Zachary Lee Robinson, Savannah Hope Roush^, Austin Wayne Smith, Izzabelle Nicole Smith, Victoria Morgan Sovine^, Dylan Blake Starkey, Alyssa Nicole Stover*, Rebecca Turner Wallace+, Johnsey Quenton Woods, Kelsey Kay Renee Wymer.
Tonika Coleman then led the changing of the tassels and the class exited the football field to “Pomp and Circumstance.”
The class favorites included colors (blue and white), flower (yellow rose), and song (Photograph by Nickelback). The class motto was, “Together we’ve roamed these halls, together we’ll roam this life.”
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.