MASON — Student speakers had a plethora of advice for their fellow classmates when Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2021 were held at Wahama High School Friday evening.
A total of 48 received diplomas during the outdoor ceremony, held on the football field.
Top senior student Skyler Matthew Putney told the group that their oncoming years will be what they make them to be.
“You are now an adult, and it is now you making the decisions about your life,” he said. “No longer will mom or dad be there to clean up the messes you make or bandage the wounds inflicted upon you. It is now you who decides whether you succeed or fail.”
Putney encouraged his classmates to live their lives in pursuit of happiness, adding “at the end of the day, social status, wealth, fame, and other such societal tidings mean nothing.” He told them to do what makes them happy, and to always be kind and considerate of others.
As second in the class, Harley Ann Roush outlined happenings throughout the years, including the present school year, which was “rough” due to the pandemic.
“The last 13 years have gone by fast with you guys, just like everyone said it would,” she said. “I hope that everyone in this class cherishes the memories we have with each other because there is no going back to high school.”
Other student speakers were Abigail Leeann Lieving, Emma Beth Gibbs, and Mary Grace Roush.
Lieving compared her class to pizza, each bringing his or her own list of toppings and ingredients, and each unique and different. She highlighted three impactful life lessons taught to the senior students by teachers and staff.
The first, failure is an option. She said all will fail, but failing indicates effort, and rather than focusing on the negative, keep moving forward. The second, learn something. Lieving stated the simple phrase holds limitless possibilities. And the last, life isn’t fair. She urged classmates to hold their heads up and keep on keeping on.
Gibbs likened the seniors’ lives to a novel, consisting of an introduction, filler in the middle, a climax, and a conclusion. She said while the events of high school seem like the climax of their books, they are just small paragraphs for the teens to enjoy, learn from, and look back on. Gibbs added there is much more to come.
“The rest of our novels are going to be filled with so many exciting and impressive things, and I cannot wait to see what we all accomplish as individuals and also as a part of a strong and incredible generation,” she said.
Roush spoke of the need to get back up after a fall.
“When a baby takes it’s first steps and then falls flat on their face, we applaud their steps, not the fall,” she stated.
Roush continued that life is going to continue to throw challenges at them, but they can’t let it stop them from reaching goals. She urged the class to continue to be positive, leave an impact on people, and be a face worth remembering.
Principal Melissa VanMeter presented the class to Superintendent of Schools Jack Cullen, saying they had met all the requirements to graduate. Assistant Principal Don Linger presented the seniors with their diplomas.
The Wahama Concert Choir, under the direction of Rachel Reynolds, sang two selections, while a duet of senior Adriana Marie Boswell and Kelsyn Spencer paid tribute to the Class of 2021. Musical selections were also played by the Wahama Concert Band, under the direction of Matthew Bradley.
Senior Class President Chase Tyler Stewart led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Boswell sang the Alma Mater.
The graduates included:
Summa Cum Laude (4.01 grade point average or better) – Isabella Noelle Arix Michael, Adriana Marie Boswell, Kaylee Dawn Ferguson, Emma Beth Gibbs, Leah Marie Hoffman, Lillian Elizabeth Karr, Abigail Leeann Lieving, Skyler Matthew Putney, Owen Daniel Richardson, Briana Carolyn May Roush, Harley Ann Roush, Mary Grace Roush, and Victoria Claire VanMatre;
Magna Cum Laude (3.8 to 4.01 GPA) – Cassandra Elizabeth McClanahan and Phoebe Ann Roush;
Cum Laude (3.5 to 3.8 GPA) – Autumn Paige Beckner, Chesnie Renae Brinker, Jacqueline Elaine Fields, and Isaac Bradley Roush;
Also – Sadie Stephanie Boggs, Austin Keith Brooks, Michael Christopher Buskirk, III, Elijah James David Dudding, Lily Claire Edwards, Andrew Cornell Fowler, Joshua Logan Frye, Brennan Weslee Grate, Christopher Dale Greene, MaKayla Rose Harris, Trayner Justus Howard, Zoe Nicole Johnson, Aaron Chase Jordan,
Noah Ethan Kauff, Bryar David McKinney, Deborah Grace Miller, Isabella Delana Ogdin, Chloe Elizabeth Oldaker, Jeremy Lee Parsons, Tory Nicole Robie, Savannah Nicole Roush, Jakob Dalton Saxon, Jay Michael Sayre, Braden Matthew Shell, Chase Tyler Stewart, Karli Madison Stewart, Gavin Thurel Stiltner, Nathan Crit Young, and Christina Hope Zuspan.
Those graduates wearing gold cords were members of the National Honor Society; green and white, 4-H; citrus green, Mason County Career Center students; and orange and white, FAFSA.
Senior class advisors consisted of Cassie Goldsberry, Christina Golden and Susan Parrish.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.