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McKenzie Elementary Holds Honors Ceremony

Posted 5/8/19

McKENZIE (May 2) — McKenzie Elementary School honored third and fourth grade students who achieved a grade point average of at least 93 for the year with a ceremony Thursday in the McKenzie …

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McKenzie Elementary Holds Honors Ceremony


McKENZIE (May 2) — McKenzie Elementary School honored third and fourth grade students who achieved a grade point average of at least 93 for the year with a ceremony Thursday in the McKenzie High School theatre, sponsored by the McKenzie Rotary Club.

Rotary President Krista Martin welcomed students, parents and teachers to the event and introduced the guest speaker, Tim Nanney.

Tim Nanney is a 1988 graduate of McKenzie High School and a 1992 graduate of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy. He served the McKenzie Police Department for 22 years, finishing his career as the investigator and a lieutenant for the department. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Management in 2002 and his Master’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2013, both from Bethel University.

Nanney became the investigator for the 24th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office in 2012. He is a 2018 graduate of the Nashville School of Law, receiving his Doctorate of Jurisprudence. He is currently serving as the Assistant Public Defender for the 24th Judicial District for the State of Tennessee, where he serves Decatur, Hardin, Benton, Henry and Carroll counties.

Nanney began his remarks with a story about a donkey and a farmer. The donkey falls into a well, and the farmer decides that, because the donkey is old and the well needed to be filled anyway, to just fill in the well with dirt with the donkey still trapped. As the farmer and his neighbors shovel dirt into the well, the donkey does something unexpected. When each heap of dirt lands on the donkey, it shakes off the dirt and steps up onto the higher ground. Eventually, the donkey is able to step out of the well and walk away.

Nanney explained to the honor students how the donkey exhibited perseverance. He gave some famous examples of the virtue, such as Thomas Edison being considered “unteachable,” Walt Disney being called “uncreative,” Oprah Winfrey being told she was “not fit for TV,” and Dr. Seuss having many books rejected before finally being published.

He related the examples to his own life, admitting that he was a slow learner in his youth, forced to take remedial classes and eventually dropping out of college to join the police department. He said that, while serving as a police officer, he began to believe in himself, leading him to accomplish all he has at this point in his life.

He told the students, “No matter what happens, never let the obstacles keep you from doing what you want to do... It is not the challenges and obstacles that define you, but how you respond. Allow each of your troubles to be a stepping stone and a learning experience.”

Nanney closed with a poem titled, “Don’t Quit,” and congratulated the students and thanked everyone for the opportunity to speak.

Next, each honor student was recognized and presented with a certificate and a medallion.

Then, third grader Ethan Bradberry and fourth grader Alessandra Ruiz were each presented a plaque for earning the highest GPA in their respective classes.

MES Principal Timothy Barker then closed the ceremony by congratulating the students and reiterating the lessons of Mr. Nanney.

Third grade honor students are: Josie Brown’s class — Kaydynce Barksdale, Wyatt Brewer, Molly Drewry, Yaretzi Gonzalez and Triztan Vela; Hannah Haywood’s class — Harrison Allen, Braylin Auvenshine, Alexander Hughes, Addyson Lee, Ava Newman, Ashton Nutting, Cayden Ownby and Sophie Taylor; Courtney Kee’ class — Aden Cook, Destiny Crawford, Cooper Davidson, Maggie Hall, Anna Mileski, Jaycee Stafford and James Woodruff; Mary Spivey’s class — Kynadie Brown, Sophie Cole, Jesus Flores, Eian Gibson, Kaydence Papich, Landon Rader and Bryant Ward; Amy Wilkes’s class — Delta Baker, Addison Davis, Elizabeth Swisher and Marshal Vinson; and Allison Winston’s class — Ethan Bradberry, Annie Ferguson, Max Harwell, Caitlyn Hatler, Addison Milam, Stephanie Padilla, Bella Sass and Natalia Taylor.

Fourth grade honor students are: Kristi Brown’s class — Cole Brown, Matteo Campbell, Adelyn Cooper, Madeline Gottshall, Madison Hughes, Kennedi Hutchens, Pedro Mendez, Madelynn Pewitt, Sara Scott and Dallas Stone; Amanda Oakley’s class — Eliza Bourne, Avery Brown, Casey Cunningham, Nolan Fawcett, Abbi Ghyers, Chloe Hitt, Gwen Jones, Alessandra Ruiz, Brooklyn Shafer and Raylee Worsham; Tiffany Smith’s class — Lola Barton, Wade Chandler and Caitlin Langley; and Chris Wall’s class — Branson Baker, Kaleb Crocker, Allie Giles, Emma Haynes, Madelyn Morris, Xander Phillips, Alyssa Redmond and Lydia Sumrok.


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