Huntingdon Graduates 75 in Sunday Commencement
BY BRAD SAM
HUNTINGDON (May 15) — A capacity crowd of family, friends and support ers gathered at Huntingdon High School Sunday afternoon to see 75 seniors complete commencement exercises and become proud alumni.
The HHS Band performed “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates entered the gymnasium. Graduate John Tucker gave the invocation, and the band performed the National Anthem.
Class President Kennedy Carter welcomed those gathered, thanking educators, friends and family for support and imploring her classmates to follow their dreams, accomplish their goals and remember that they will always be a part of Huntingdon High School.
Dr. Jonathan Kee, HHS Principal, then recognized the top ten graduates: Valedictorian Marisa Van Belew, Salutatorian Leighann Denise Smith, Ashleigh Nichole Coleman, Alexander Christian Morschett, Connor Cooper Pinson, Lydia Katherine Jones, Courtney Drew Eden Saylor, Kaylee Elaine Taylor, John Robert Tucker and Rose Millennium Hensley. Salutatorian Leighann Smith then delivered her address, first noting that senior year had flown by and saying, “It’s hard to believe that four years ago we were scared freshmen entering these doors for the very first time. Most of what I’ve experienced throughout these years are now just memories that I will cherish and hold onto forever. Without all of you, high school would not have been as fun or as challenging as it was. That being said, we have finally made it to the finish line and we’re about to cross it into the real world.”
Smith went on to say, “Whatever the future has in store for our class, I know it will be monumental. We have the power to do great things in our future, and we need to hold onto that.”
She concluded by saying, “It is finally our turn to break barriers and reach new heights,” and quoted Harry Potter: “Everyone has started out nothing more that what we are right now. If they can do it, why not us?”
Valedictorian Marisa Belew then gave her address. She welcomed everyone and said, “It has been a long four years, but here we are, ready to graduate. We worked hard to get to this point, but we didn’t do it by ourselves.” She said that the class owed a huge debt of gratitude to teachers, parents, coaches, advisors and administrators. “The best way we can show our gratitude is to make the most of every opportunity we’ve been given, and go forward into the world with the intention of making it a better place for generations that follow us.”
She went on to say, “We may not have the power to inspire the entire world to strive for success, but we do have the power to try to achieve it for ourselves. My challenge to each of you and to myself is to do all that you can to reach your full potential. If each of the 75 students in this graduating class is able to do that, just imagine the effect that we would have on our community and our world. Our future is truly in our hands, so let’s make the most of it. We stand here today on the brink of the future. It’s not a distant reality anymore. It begins here. It begins today. It begins right now.”
Belew concluded with a bible verse, Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Graduate and Beta President Carson Ensley then took to the podium to recognize senior Beta members: Marisa Belew, Ashleigh Coleman, Lydia Jones, Lakia Moore, April Reynolds, Courtney Saylor, Taylor Smith, Kaylee Taylor, Lillian Taylor, Jack Tucker, Kelly Raye White, Elijah Wilkerson and Emily Williams.
Dr. Kee and a bevy of special guests then presented numerous awards and scholarships before the graduates received diplomas.
Next, a time-honored tradition continued as Carter passed the torch to Morgan Cole, president of the Class of 2019.
The band performed the Alma Mater, and graduate Kade Pearson delivered the benediction.
Dr. Kee gave closing remarks, and the Class of 2018 flung their mortarboards triumphantly into the air.
Photos by Brad Sam/The Banner
Photo by Brad Sam/The Banner