Every Morgan County child dreams of the day that they will gather on the field, walk across the stage receive their diploma and turn their tassel. Last Friday, May 23, this year’s Class of 2014 embraced their inner child, focused on high school memories and were encouraged to remember who they are.
“As MCHS grads we expect great things, remember who you are, make good choices, do what it takes, One Morgan,” said principal Dr. Malanowski. It was the Morgan County High School class of 2014’s turn to celebrate a milestone in their lives. The stands were filled with parents and loved ones who have supported them.
Alana Stewart, senior class president, welcomed the graduates, friends and families to the ceremony before the stadium said the Pledge of Allegiance. Alexandra Malone, senior class vice president, introduced the distinguished guests on the stage, which included Board of Education members, principals of the Morgan County Schools and other school representatives.
“As a nine year old I may not have known many of the high school students on a personal level but I saw them around a lot,” said Salutatorian Elizabeth Mahoney. “They were always involved in the community, always involved in the arts, and always recognized for their efforts. I wanted to be like them when I was older.” As she continued Elizabeth spoke about how there are many nine-year-old boys and girls that are now looking up to them as high schoolers. She said, “it makes me wonder am I someone who can be seen as a great role model or even am I someone I would have looked up to when I was nine?”
Mahoney pointed out two students- Wade Lewis, local comedian, and Claire Woodard, star agriculture student, who she would have looked up to. She mentioned the boys basketball team winning the state championship this year and how she would have thought they were the best athletes and how the One Morgan concert in Town Park would have wowed her fourth grade self.
“Not only would my fourth grade self have been in awe over the talent that the high school students had before me, but I would have also been amazed at the unity between the community and the students before me embodying One Morgan,” said Mahoney.
Mahoney encouraged the students to strive to be the role model, that if they are not happy with the role model they are today that there is still time. She said there was no deadline saying that by May 23, 2014 that they had to be the best possible role model that they could be.
Valedictorian Timothy John LeClair took a different approach to his speech with themes of identity and passion. He spoke about the faces that he has seen on social media and the impact that they have had on him as well as memories.
“My biggest failure to you all in this school, you all in this community is that I never got to meet each and every one of you with your beautiful eyes or share in the creativity of your inspired minds because that is the nature of the social order of school now,” said LeClair. “So let us slow down for a moment, enjoy each others company, and get to know each other finally.”
He went on to encourage the class of 2014 to take a moment and close their eyes embrace the emotions they have felt and the memories they have had over their four years of high school. When the students were instructed to open their eyes LeClair said he hoped they felt in those moments of silence.
“The gift of high school is that I get to share my experience my memories with each and every one of you,” said LeClair. He said that the memories were what made high school and that education could be obtained on computers and smart phones. The idea of bathing in the light of the stars that set before him was what was most important. He spoke about everything the Class of 2014 had been through.
“I love each and everyone of you, I don’t want to miss you but I must,” said LeClair. “One day you will look back on this day you will look back on the days past the ones filled with joy and the ones filled with pain and you will not remember it all.”
He wrapped up his speech with one of his favorite quotes by Charlie Chaplin. He took a selfie with the grads and encouraged them with a big “we did it!” Principal Jim Malanowski followed the valedictorian with an encouraging speech.
Dr. Mal began with “this is a time that I get panicky, that there’s still things that you need to be taught before you leave this place. We told the students that the piece of paper they would be receiving did not mean that they were wise. Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to use it in a fruit salad.”
There are four important things in life- time, health, your word, and relationships you have with others. He encouraged the class to use their time wisely, make the right choices, and preserve your health and value relationships. At the end of the news show each day the students were told to “remember who you are.”
Dr. Mal’s speech encouraged the Class of 2014 too not only remember who they are but also to be yourself. After three encouraging speeches, MCHS grads had their moment to shine walking across the stage and into their futures. Dylan Thomas Jaynes, student body president, and Dillon Joseph Riedlinger, student body vice-president led the class in turning their tassels. Kendra Beasley, Brooke Christopher, DeMario Cooper, Tobie Denham, Rebekah Everett, Alex Malone, Jacob Rice, Benjamin Shytle, Laree VanOrden, Audrianna Walker, Jacob Williams and Savannah M. Williams led the Class of 2014 as they sang the Alama Mater for the first time as graduates.