Yes! Tassles, Tears & Cheers
By Patrick Yost
Before 241 Morgan County High School seniors received their diplomas, before the tassels were turned, the Class of 2011 was recognized as “one of the most celebrated, highest achieving classes that have walked across this stage,” said Morgan County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stan DeJarnett.
DeJarnett’s platitudes were echoed by Dr. Mark Wilson, principal, Morgan County High School. Wilson wove the destruction of a massive oak tree from the campus’ front lawn after high winds pushed the tree down two nights before graduation into his remarks.
“It was the icon of our school… the identity of our campus.” The loss of the tree left a hole, Wilson said. The loss of the tree affected the school.
But so did the class of 2011, Wilson said. “You all have made an impact that we will all miss.”
“You’re going to leave a big hole for all of us.”
“We’ll miss the tree. We’ll miss you more. You all have brought great honor to your school and to your families.”
The retiring DeJarnett, giving his last farewell speech to a graduating MCHS class, encouraged the class to take the abilities gained while students in the Morgan County School System and use those abilities to better themselves and their world. “There are some challenges out there that we haven’t experienced in generations,” DeJarnett said. “I want you to attack those with optimism.”
Salutatorian Jordan Hartney said the student body of the Class of 2011 was an enviable mix that taught him patience and persistence. “The more you put into something the better it comes out,” he said.
Valedictorian Katherine Key said she had taken a unique photo for 179 days of her senior year and posted each photo on her Facebook page. She learned, she said, “not to count the days but make each day count.”
“Every day is a new opportunity for you to become the person you want to be.”
She learned, she said, that “We are taught our best lessons in high school not by a text book but by the people around us.”
At the end Key lifted a small digital camera from the lectern, pointed it at the class of 2011 and took a final snapshot.
“Day 180,” she said. “Thank you.”
Printed in the June 2, 2011 edition