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North County graduates bid farewell

The 205 members of the North County High School Class of 2018 celebrated their final moments together Thursday evening as they received their diplomas, gave their final goodbyes to high school and began looking ahead to the future.

The evening was filled with excitement and laughter as students prepared for what was one of the biggest nights of their lives. Flowers were pinned, hats adjusted and gowns smoothed out in preparation for their final evening as North County seniors.

Kassidy Fox said she was really excited about graduating, but was also sad because she loved her whole class. She didn’t think there was one person she didn’t like, and since she will be going away to college, didn’t know if she would see them all again.

“Since I was student council president I was in charge of doing the American Heart Association fundraising event against Farmington and was also a part of the yearbook staff,” said Fox. “I was a part of all the clubs, but wasn’t involved in any sports. I am really going to miss my class so much.”

Jamie Sigman said he was “pretty stoked” about graduating and getting an A+ scholarship. He added that he played football and sang in choir throughout his high school career and will miss it all.

“I plan to transfer to Mineral Area College and then try to go to Southeast Missouri [State University] to get a degree in education,” Sigman said. “I want to thank my parents for supporting me throughout my high school career and everyone else who helped me out. I also want to thank my girlfriend, Celsey Noble.”

As the ceremony began, the students filed down to the football field and walked past the bleachers and around the track before arriving at their seats. Principal Lance Sprenkel welcomed everyone to the ceremony.

“I want to thank the seniors for their hard work,” Sprenkel said. “Through their hard work, the Class of 2018 has been awarded nearly $1.5 million dollars in scholarship money over the next four years. Congratulations on an accomplishment well done.”

Sprenkel said he wanted to take a minute to share something with the graduates. He said the message might be the shortest one he had ever spoken to a graduating class, but it would also be the most powerful bit of advice he had given to a class.

North County High School Principal Lance Sprenkel addressed his final graduating class, as he is retiring this year. He left the graduates with strong words of encouragement about surrounding themselves with positive people.

North County High School Principal Lance Sprenkel addressed his final graduating class, as he is retiring this year. He left the graduates with strong words of encouragement about surrounding themselves with positive people.

“Tony Robbins, one of the most popular motivational speakers of our time said, ‘Who you spend time with is who you become. Change your life by deliberately by choosing to surround yourself with people of higher standards,’” Sprenkel said. “One of the most important decision you will ever make in your life is who you chose to be around. Most often, we become like the people we are around.”

“Based on that, you must be cautious about who you surround yourselves with because of the huge impact it has on your lives. My advice to you today is to choose the people you let in your life wisely. Leave here, surround yourself with good people and you will blessed with a happy life.”

Sprenkel pointed out that the seniors seated before him were wearing a special sash celebrating the 50 years of consolidation of the Desloge Tigers and Bonne Terre Bulldogs — with one of the school mascots appearing on each side of the sash. He asked everyone to stand and be recognized who were members of a graduating class anytime between the years 1968 and 2018.

This year's graduating class wore a special sash celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the consolidation between the Desloge Tigers and the Bonne Terre Bulldogs.

This year’s graduating class wore a special sash celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the consolidation between the Desloge Tigers and the Bonne Terre Bulldogs.

Valedictorian Jacob Dowell stepped up to the podium and looked at his class together for one last time. He said that, according to all known laws of aviation, he should not have been able to fly through high school these past years.

“Four years of high school felt really long, yet really short,” Dowell said. “Some months took forever. There were times where I was just tired of doing things and wanted to stay in and play video games. And there were times I wanted to just hang out with friends. Other months went by way too quickly. I actually was having my free time to do nothing in class, to talk to my friends and to play Rebecca Black’s Friday in Rebecca B’s Math class.”

He noted that they were now all there graduating at the end of their senior year.

“Today, some people will still try to put you down, but it doesn’t matter what they say, you can still just live your own life, Dowell said. “Somebody actually once told me the world was gonna roll me. But the years started coming and they don’t stop coming.

“Eventually, I decided to just hit the ground running because it doesn’t make sense not to live for fun. ‘There’s so much to do and so much to see and you’ll never know if you don’t go. And you’ll never shine if you don’t glow. So get your game on and go play because you’re an all-star,’ as said by Smashmouth. And I mean that about some of you.”

Valedictorian Jacob Dowell addressed his class one final time with a speech that brought laughter and joy to the crowd.

Valedictorian Jacob Dowell addressed his class one final time with a speech that brought laughter and joy to the crowd.

He stressed that a lot of his class are all-stars in their own way. A lot of them would be going to college to pursue a degree in their area of interest. Others might find it in their best interest to go directly into the workforce.

“Many of you will succeed,” Dowell said. “Some of you will probably fail at first, but you can always bring yourself back up. Overall, a lot of you guys can lead pretty good lives, whether those lives stay local or go off into your own ambitious paths.”

“So here we are at the close of our high school experiences. It’s been a crazy four years, but there’s plenty of more crazy years to come. Work hard in life, in college, and in the workforce. And to quote one of the best motivational speakers and actors, Shia LaBeouf, ‘Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Just do it.’ Thank you.”

Salutatorian Masie Bess said it was the night they had been awaiting for 13 long years — or at least she knew she had been more excited to graduate than anything else in her entire life.

“But now that it’s here, it is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do,” Bess said. “After tonight, it is likely that I will never see some of you ever again, and while that it is a very hard truth to swallow, I have comfort and faith that you will all be okay.

“I know that you all have the capability to succeed at whatever it is that you set your mind to. If you did not enjoy high school, I didn’t really until this year so I feel you, please do not let yourself be bitter, and please find motivation and happiness within yourself as you embark on the next chapter of your lives.”

Bess said there is always something better ahead, but she also hoped they would appreciate the years they were there. She noted that it migh be difficult to focus on your ambitions and future goals while appreciating the present, however, it was possible and she encouraged the class to put forth an effort.

Salutatorian Masie Bess addressed her class recalling the good times they had enjoyed and offered words of encouragement as the graduates looked to the future.

Salutatorian Masie Bess addressed her class recalling the good times they had enjoyed and offered words of encouragement as the graduates looked to the future.

“Class of 2018, it is an honor to be your salutatorian,” Bess said. ”So I would like to give my final thank you to each and every one of you. I’m not going to pretend waking up at 6 a.m. every day was easy or that I loved every single second I spent here. But knowing I was going to a place where I felt accepted and supported by my class definitely made it a lot easier.”

“I hope you all carry the same pride I do for being a part of something so great. Out of all the things I am, and out of all the things I have done, being a Raider is definitely one of my favorites. Although I hope you all had a great four years, I pray they aren’t the best four years of your life. You all deserve to leave your mark on the world in a bigger way, and I know that you can. Thank you.”

According to Tyler Olinger, he was “pretty excited” and “ready to get out of high school.” He added that he had played soccer and track during his first two years of high school.

“I already have a job lined out after this,” said Olinger. “I plan to work and go to college for automotive and business.”

Ryann Propst said this is a big step and he is ready for what comes next. He is planning to attend Mineral Area College to become a police officer.

Jordan Madonna admitted that he was a little nervous, but was prepared for the real world. He has been accepted by a college in Nashville, but isn’t sure what he planned to do next.

Courtney Phillips said she was a “super senior” and worked really hard to make it to graduation, but she had moved and didn’t have enough credits to graduate last year.

“I stayed after school every day to get here,” Phillips said. “I have already been accepted to Jefferson College to study to be a veterinarian. If that doesn’t work out then I would like to be a gym coach.”

Tassels were turned and Sprenkel dismissed the North County Class of 2018 for the last time.

The North County Class of 2018 was

The North County Class of 2018 was “dismissed from class” for the last time at the end of graduation ceremonies held Thursday in the school stadium.

This year’s graduating class includes, Timothy Anthony Abotobik, Alexis Cierra Adams, Desiree Nichole Alexander, Shyla Nicole Allender, Michael Loren Allison Jr., Lauren Nichole Anderson, David Lynn Arndt Jr., Brittney Ann Asher, Corinne Lucille Barton, Harley Caleb Barton, Josie Faye Barton, Patience Fate Barton, Katelynn Elizabeth Bennett, Drew Lee Berger, Maisie Catherine Bess, Miranda rose Black, Kaitlyn Marie Boley, Brooke Michelle Boyer, Steven James Boyer II, Cody Matthew Boylan, Miranda Hayden Brannum, Alicia Leeann Braun, Jacob Wayne Brooks, Seth William Brown, Abigail Elizabeth Burnia, Jacob Aaron Burns, Bradley Allen Busch, and Stephen Eugene Busch Jr.

Dylan Ray Buxton, Amanda Grace Byrd, Michael Austin Call, Corbyn Lee Carlyon, Alexus Grace Carr, William Keith Carr III, Faith Elizabeth Danielle Carver, Eli Harrison Claywell, Dalton DeWayne Clubbs, Cheyenne Mattea Coplin, Caleb Jared Cox, Felix Melvin Aanakin Crader, Cole Sebastian Cresswell, Emily Marie Cavis, Virginia Marie Dean, Merissa Shyanne Dewalt, Peyton Alyse Dickerson-Hahn, Samantha Paige Dodson, Jacob Paul Dowell, Ashley Renee Dykema, Brentley David Eckhoff, Emma Therese Edgar, Austin Jacob Edmunds, Logan James Eldridge, Taylor Nicole Fields, Andrew David Forney, Kayla Jade Forrester, Brendan Dale Foy, Kassidy Ann Fox, Elyjah Ray Franklin, Devon James Friese, Elizabeth Marie Gadberry, Elijah Jeremiah Josephv Gammons, Anna Marie Gantz, and Halee Renee Gibson.

Garan Hugh Gilliland, Kyle Austin Gilliland, Jacob Steven Glatczak, Hailey Nichole Glore, August Armon Riley Goodwin, Ciera Danielle Halton, Grant Paul Hampton, Dawson Lane Harper, Gage Andrew Wade Harris, William Glenn Hart Jr, Jared Wayne Hays, Destiny Rose Hedrick, Destiny Joy Higgins, Christian Lee Holifield, Jesse Lee Hootselle, Nicholas James Hulsey, Nicholas Troy Inserra, Charles Jacob Johnson, and Hunter Michael Johnson.

Logan Floyd Johnston, Tyler Benjamin Johnston, Samantha Analee Judge, Hannah Nicole Karn, Clayton Allen Kassabaum, Karson Daniel Kekec, Donovan Mykael Kelley, Alexis Nicole Kessler, Dean Harold Ketcherside, Keith Andrew Knox, Elissa Elaine Koenig, Kaylin Elizabeth Labruyere, Hayden Cole Lachance, Brett Aaron Lawson, Danielle Nicole Lawson, Jordan Patrick Leftridge, Leeanna Heather Leonard, Jacqueline Rene Lincoln, Christopher Ryan Lipina, Asia Brianne Locklear, Jordan Matthew Madonna, Cole Alan Mahurin, Jason Michael Mahurin, and Kenneth James Mahurin.

Joshua Jason Todd Marler, Dominic Joseph Farace Martin, Devon Edward Mason, Alliya Michelle McCain, Brenden Matthew McClure, Kayla Nicole McCutcheon, Henry Curtis Mecey III, Caleb William Miles, Gavin Rylan Mims, Ryan Isaac Montgomery, McKenzee Thomas Moore, Gaven Reese Myers, Joseph Scott Nash, Sophia Grace Nash, Cassondra Ann Neece, Madison Nicole Nichols, Natasha Jean Nickles, Nix Jacob Allen, Tyler Allen Olinger, Jeremiah Andrew Olms, Alex Paul Overstreet, Nicholas Eugene Parker, Chance Nowell Peery, Courtney Linn Phillips, Trinity Ellen Kayla Phillips, Isiah D W Poirrier, Matthew Wayne Poole, Jaysa Beth Proffer, Ryann Michael Propst, Sean Patrick Pruneau, Madeline Kate Pryor, Blake James Rash, Emily Jo Reed, and Roy Kent Reid-Smith.

Cydney Christine Revelle, Kirsten Elaine Reynolds, Nathaniel Kennedy Rinker, Clayton alexander Risenhoover, Anthony Michael Robbs, Caleb Lee Roberts, Dustin Michael Rodgers, Carlie Jo Roland, Shawn Michael Rulo, Brett lee Russell, Kylie Shaye Sago, Hueston David Schrum, Nicole Renee Schwent, Damian Tyler Scoggin, Bailey Nicole Seaton, Kaitlyn Nicole Shaw, Mackenzie Marie Shields, James Robert Sigman, Bailey Spencer Sipp, Jacob Garrett Skaggs, Dakota Paul Skildum, Joel Smith Briley, Kenneth Cody Smith, Macie Kalin Smith, Tucker McLain Smith, Trebor Scott Sorbello, Lucas David Spray, Hayden Lloyd Sprenkel, Mackenzie Lynne St Gemme, Caleb Philip Stegall, Rigel Thomas Stillman, Kaitlin Jo Anna Stokes, and Joel Robert Strauser.

Trevor Jay Sutton, Tiffani Nicole Thomas, Tiffany Nicole Tiefenauer, Kaylee Ladawn Timms, Justin Charles Lee Turnbo, Austin Chandler Turner, Conner Reeves Twomey, Noah Martin Umfleet, Grace Elaine Veach, Cody Dean Wade, Deianeira Elizabeth Wade, John Charles Walker Jr., Jacob Dylan Lee Waller, Caleb Tyler Walsh, Samuel Stephen Wampler, Kelsey Nicole Webb, Adam Seth Weiss, Erika Alexis Anne Weiss, Alexandrea Lea Wernecker, Cayson James White, Kendra Gail White, Madelyn Lisa White, Vannessa Dawn White, Joseph Douglas Wideman, Sarah Elisabeth Wilfong, Joshua Eugene Wilkerson, Brianna Renee Wilkinson, Colin Martin Willard, Nicholas James Williams, Johnathon Michael York, Keaton Thaniel Young, and Zehao (Ryan) Zhang.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or

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