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Central to graduate 117

Central High School’s Class of 2018 will be graduating at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the T.J. Foulon Fieldhouse.

Among the 117 students participating are Valedictorian Molly Manion and Salutatorian Mikayla Watkins.

Manion and Watkins both pointed to their extracurricular activities as being things that shaped their time in high school and that each will miss most.

“I was in pommies my freshman and senior year,” Manion said. “I’m really glad that I ended up doing it my senior year because I got really close with the girls and the coach. Being part of a team was really special and they played a big part in making my senior year what it was.”

“I’ve been pretty involved in drama club and speech and debate,” Watkins said. “I think that’s what I’m going to miss the most. I’ve gotten really close to everyone in those clubs and activities. It’s taken over a majority of my life and it’s been a huge part of my high school experience.”

Manion graduated with her Associate’s Degree from MAC this year and plans to move on to the University of Iowa to study English and Creative Writing. Watkins will attend MAC for a year after graduation to earn an Associate’s Degree in Teaching and then plans to transfer to the University of Missouri to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary English Education.

“I really like to write, so with a creative writing degree, the ultimate goal would be to write something and get it published,” Manion said. “But if that doesn’t work out, I think it would be really cool to go into editing or publishing or something like that.”

“I hope to become a high school English teacher,” Watkins said. “A lot of people ask me if I’d come back to Central, which I might do. I don’t know where I’ll go, but becoming a high school English teacher is definitely my goal.”

Both young ladies said that while they will miss aspects of high school, they are both looking forward to moving on to what life holds next for them.

“I’m really looking forward to graduating and moving on from this chapter,” Manion said. “I’m going to college out of state, so I’m really excited to get out there, meet new people and experience new things.”

“Something that people always tell me is that graduation isn’t the end, but the beginning,” Watkins said. “I used to look at it from the perspective of not knowing what I was going to do because this has been my whole life. But I’m really excited to go to college and start a career and my individual journey.”

Central’s graduation ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. with the High School Concert Band performing the processional.

High School Assistant Principal Chad Bradley and Senior Class President Kerston Furry will welcome the crowd before the High School Concert Choir will perform “Go the Distance.”

Bradley will then recognize students who have achieved UniTec awards, are graduating with honors or are entering into military service

Watkins and Manion will then present their respective speeches, “What High School Teaches” and “A True Demonstration of the High School Experience.”

Bradley will present the Class of 2018, at which time the Central Board of Education will present the graduates their diplomas.

Class of 2018 Salutatorian Mikayla Watkins (left) and Valedictorian Molly Manion will be the Central School District's last to receive those distinctions.

Class of 2018 Salutatorian Mikayla Watkins (left) and Valedictorian Molly Manion will be the Central School District’s last to receive those distinctions.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at

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