The T.J. Foulon Fieldhouse was filled with a sense of anticipation and excitement as 107 members of the Central High School Class of 2016 graduated Thursday night in front of their family, friends, school administrators, teachers and fellow students.
Following the processional of graduates into the fieldhouse, Principal Brad Coleman welcomed those in attendance after which Class President Jake Bridges delivered opening remarks to the crowd.
Bridges said, “Graduation is not an end goal in itself. It is instead a part of the larger journey of life. Wherever your future takes you, let it take you somewhere. Life is a journey and all accomplishments we achieve during its course should be taken as starting points for further achievements. Our graduation should serve as such a launching point, projecting us to wherever our futures are meant to take us — whether we land ourselves a career, take up a trade or continue our education at a college.”
After the concert choir presented a spirited rendition of “We’re All In This Together,” the names of graduates going into the military were announced, along with those receiving awards and scholarships.
Principal Coleman introduced the class salutatorian, saying, “The salutatorian is the graduating senior with the second highest GPA of 5.326 within the class. Our salutatorian will graduate tonight with 67 hours of college credit. She is a great student with high expectations and a wonderful personality. She plans on pursuing a career in medicine at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine. I am proud to honor the salutatorian for the Class of 2016, Nina Russell.”
In her address titled “Leave Your Mark,” Russell said, “We’re Millennials. Our world is not the same as it once was. We’re diverse, independent and unafraid to speak our minds. Although millennials are often criticized and underestimated, our generation is already beginning to change the world. A wise man once said, ‘Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.’ A lot of us will leave here to go on to work traditional jobs and start traditional families, but I can assure you our lives will be anything but traditional. Just look at this year’s presidential nominees if you want verification of that.”
Principal Coleman introduced the class valedictorian, saying, “The valedictorian is the student with the highest GPA of 5.386 in the senior class. This young lady will graduate for the second time tonight with an associate’s degree from Mineral Area College. She will be continuing her education at MAC and then moving on to a four-year university where she hopes to be a history teacher. She has overcome enormous obstacles to make it to this point in her academic career. I am proud to honor the valedictorian for the Class of 2016, Kaitlyn Moore.”
In her address titled “2016: What Do You See?” Moore said, “Understanding where we came from and where we are going, the obstacles we face along with the unexpected turn of events — now that is surely worth noting. Once the careful chronicler pieces the fragile shards of time together to form a looking glass, we may gaze upon the product of our choices and the prospect of our future. On occasion the chronicler may observe the emergence of unlikely leaders to serve as history’s champion and sculptor.
“Nonetheless, no matter where you came from or your personal history, do not allow the negatives to render your potential nor your pride to render your courtesy. What is the value of a victory after all without a challenge? It is then that I ask the Class of 2016 — what do you see when you gaze into that looking glass?
Concluding her address, Moore said, “Never allow numbers to define you. Whether it be your age, your height, how much money you make — or your GPA. Of the many life lessons I’ve learned over the years, I’ve learned that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that defines who you are.
“On a final note — everyone in this room and this world have potential and time. Make the most of it and make it count. What is it that you see when you look in the mirror? I challenge each and every one of you not to build your castles on the ground but in the sky. And once you do, place foundations beneath them and climb — and no matter what — never allow anyone or anything to stop you.”
Presenting the class prior to the awarding of diplomas, Coleman said, “Members of the board of education, as principal of Central High School, I do hereby certify that each of these 107 candidates of the Class of 2016 have met and fulfilled all the requirements as set forth by the Central Board of Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of the great state of Missouri. And now, with your permission, we will proceed with the awarding of diplomas.”
Following the presentation of diplomas and turning of the tassels, closing remarks were given by student council co-presidents Jake Bridges and Megan Skaggs.
The Class of 2016 graduates were Emily Marie Adams, Jason Lindell Asher, Jacob William Babor, Justin Wayne Bieser, Christopher Blake Bolius II, Aaron David Bowles, Summer Dezarae Bowman, Jake Robert Bridges, Darryl James Buckhanan, Bailey Marie Taylor Burgess, Dylan Roby Burlingame, Kristina Joyce Byers, Wyatt Daniel Campbell, Zachary David Campbell, Austin Wyatt Cannell, Olivia Justine Casey, Bradley Allen Castillo, Jared Michael Christopher, Abbigail Taylor Courtois, Katlyn Nicole Cross, Kalynn Anne Crump, Nathan Earl Crump, Hannah Louise Curdt, Kylee Darlene Curtis, Joseph Trey DeClue, Emily Cheyenne DeLeal, Heather Michelle Dickinson, Seth Matthew Dooley, Cyrena Marie Dowd, Brandy Nicole Downs, Madison Chase Eden, Bailey Nicole Fenwick, Tristan Michael Fingerhut, Clifford Douglas Fox, Keaton Nicole Furry, Matthew Dillon Gaia, James Andrew Gillette, Jonathan Paul Goheen, Alisabeth Cordell Gremminger, Bryce Alan Griffin, Briar Leland Gusman, Jeremy Michael Haegele and Justin Michael Halter.
Also, Drew Michael Harlow, Russell Morgan Harrington, Jaylene Ashley Harrison, Madelynne Paige Hart, Quinton Scott Hawkins, Hannah Christine Hayes, Brock Stuart Wayne Helms, Jacob Daniel Hill, Sandy Kim Hoang, Taylor Lorene Holloway, Karli Dayle Holmes, Richard Lee Horton, Kylie Renee House, Chelsea Mae Hurt, Kayla Lynn Hurt, Grant Curtis Hutchings, Drew James Jaco, Colton Lane Jennings, Keenan Tyler Johnson, Brandon Matthew Jones, Taylor Ann Jones, James Rocklin King Jr., Emily Ann Krastanoff, Nicholas Alan LaBrot, Jonathan Dale Moon Lambert, Marissa Kay Ligue, Robert Dale Lindsey, Grace Marie Lister, Nikolas James Little, Nicholas Michael Ludwig, Stephanie Elizabeth Maciak, Sean Michael Mahoney, Kevin Nathan Mallory, Taylor Paris Martinez, Jasmine Rose McAdams, Gavon Alexander McAllister, Kayla Leighann McCain, Brittany Danielle McCarty, Bret Michael Jordan McDavid, Taylor Brooke McFarland, Seth William McKinney, Karissa Lynn Messer, Jacob Tyler Roth Metcalf and Antonio Steven Monroe.
Also, Kaitlyn Ellen Moore, Tiffany Marie Moore, Austin Charles Newberry, Joseph Richard Nicoletti Jr., Blake William Oliver, Luke Adler Oliver, Gage Elliot Overton, Jayson Stephen Pinnon, Sheyenne Kayle Pirtle, Madison Danielle Pope, Xavier Demetrius Powell, Jessica Marie Powenski, Conner Udell Proffer, Sabrina Marie Radford, Brian Jacob Reeves, Brett Lynn Rigdon, Logan Reid Robinson, Hanna Renee Rodgers, Zacari Joseph Rowley, Elizabeth Ann Russell, Nina Rae Russell, Dustin Wayne Saunders, Aleczander Tate Scott, Kaitlyn Forest Seifert, Devin Reed Shepard, Olivia Jane Simpson, Cati Ann Sims, Destiny Renee Skaggs, Megan Marie Skaggs, Ariel Kay Stafford, Travis Lee Stam, Catherine Jean Steinmetz-Kopp, Kristen Paige Sturm, Michael Ray Tucker, Cheyanna Rose Tucker, Jensen Rae Uding, Kevin Wayne Wadlow, Christian Clair Wallen, Destanee Cheyenne Walters, Emily Marie Walther, Brett Christopher Wampler, BreAnna Renee Ward, Allyson Jade Welch, Samantha Marie Wells, Savanna Marie Weston, Dylan Todd White, Jade Maria Winkler, Dylan Thomas Wood, Cody Wade Woodard and Sara Anne Young.
“Never allow numbers to define you. Whether it be your age, your height, how much money you make — or your GPA.” — Valedictorian Kaitlyn Moore
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or firstname.lastname@example.org