Saturday evening 67 students entered the West County High School gymnasium for the last time as students, and left as the newly graduated members of the Class of 2022. Surrounded by friends, family, and school personal, the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” welcomed the students as all took their seats, and the ceremony began.
High school Principal Levi Rawson welcomed everyone to the ceremony. Introducing the band directed by Darren Coudray, the band played a selection from “Pirates of the Caribbean” from John Wasson that was chosen by the graduating seniors. After the band performed, the class of 2022 choir members led the audience in singing the West County School Song.
A PowerPoint was presented, showcasing the class of 2022 with pictures generally from childhood compared to this pictures from this previous school year. If missed, the presentation can be found on the West County school district website, www.wcr4.org.
Once the PowerPoint was completed, the National Honor Society advisor Tara Lewis recognized the members graduating that had been involved in the NHS. Lewis stated that these students were inducted into the NHS due to scholarship, leadership, service, and character. These seniors included Macey Bone, Kaylee Burr, Anna McMullan, Kylee Medlin, Sydney Cash, Keeley Barbee, Kaelin Hedgcorth, Levi Johnson, Ella Pratt, Leala Pride, Allie Rawson, Claire Stevens, Abigail Van Vacter, Jeffery Dale Whitter, and Howard Wayne Williams.
Levi Rawson took the podium again, this time in recognizing the students who are graduating with Latin honors. Cum laude is an honor given to students with a grade point average ranging from 3.7-3.899, with these students being McMullan, Pratt, Van Vacter, and Whitter. Magna cum laude is second, with a GPA from 3.9-4.0, graduates Cash and Medlin received this honor. The final honor is summa cum laude, with a GPA above a 4.0, graduates with this honor were Barbee, Bone, Hedgcorth, Johnson, Allie Rawson, Kaley Burr, and Stevens.
Student Body President Allie Rawson took the podium next, introducing Salutatorian Stevens and Valedictorian Barbee.
Stevens started the speech out by thanking everyone who attended to see the class of 2022 graduate. “Most importantly,” joked Stevens, “I’d like to thank Tycen Price for giving me all the homework answers and attain this position.”
Stevens addressed the group before her, reminiscing about the memories that the class has had together, including the good like making Tik Toks together, eating crispitos, and the bad… like finding out crispitos were discontinued.
According to Stevens, a new door opens for opportunities to take on the world, find or pursue a passion, and leave a legacy.
“Our time here together will not be remembered by our grades, popularity, or sports; but by our legacy,” stated Stevens, “Your legacy is not defined by how much money you make or what kind of stuff you have, but who you are.”
Stevens said that to leave a legacy does not mean to get money or recognition, but to bring happiness to others, and challenged the graduates to incorporate kindness to everyday life. The last advice given was to take a break, take it slow, and take it in while living life to the fullest.
“I encourage you to live life to the fullest, because tomorrow is not promised. But according to Mrs. (Mercedes) Wells, ‘Life sucks, and then you die.’ So I’ll let you be the judge on the way you want to perceive life,” she said.
Barbee took the stage after Stevens had finished speaking, thanking everyone who had arrived, as well as recognizing parents, siblings, grandparents, Whitter, and the faculty and staff. The last group thanked was the class of 2022, for fighting over kickball in elementary school to trying to find classes.
“As much as I am sad, I am so excited and happy to see what the future holds for all of us,” said Barbee. “We’ve worked hard and preserved through so much to make it to this moment. This ending is only the start of a new beginning.”
Barbee said, wherever the students continue on from here, as long as the group applies themselves to whatever they all decide to do, the group will be successful.
“Those that apply themselves to go above the bare minimum are the ones who get the most knowledge out of college, are the ones who climb up the food chain at work to get more responsibilities and ultimately better pay.”
Rawson took the stage again, recognizing students who received scholarships. The class of 2022 was awarded more than $770,000. Many students received scholarships relating to their schools, but a total of 28 students also received the A+ Scholarship.
Rodger McMillian, Mineral Area College provost, came to the podium next recognizing students who had graduated from Mineral Area College on May 14. These five students are Barbee, Cash, Hedgcorth, Johnson and Stevens.
Once finished recognizing the scholarship students, Rawson took the stage again, presenting the students to the board president, Andy Kearns.
The 67 students that graduated Saturday night are Keeley RyAnn Barbee, Hunter Alexander Barton, Tristan Randell Lee Beck, Macey Christina Bone, Layne Wyatt Briley, Kaley Sue Burr, Emma Grace Buxton, Jackson Alexander Buxton, Sophia Rose Callender, Jase Hunter Campbell, Alyssa Lynn Carroll, Sydney Ariana Cash, Jacob Alexander Crowley, Simon Levi Crump, Juel Nicole Culver, Ashton Jacob Dashner, Mason McKinley Fenwick, Liza Ann French, Kinnly Sue Fritchley, Ciara June German, Sierra Elizabeth Halter, Dakota Ryan Hardy, Kaelin Marie Hedgcorth, Katelyn Grace Herrera, Conner Michael Herzog, Canaan Mae Huff, Rameriz Marco William Ivie, Levi Mitchell Johnson, Aria Patience King, Arianna Rachele Kirchoff, Claire Michelle LaBruyere, Natalie Nicole Lashley , Maci Lynn Allen Lunsford, Mariaha Renee Martin, Layne Robert Mayberry, Anna Marie McMullan, Kylee Ryanne Medlin, Matthew Alan Menzel, Christopher Dean Murray, Ayla Ray Oswald, Ashlynn Danielle Pidcock, Ella Corrine Pratt, Tycen Lynn Price, Leala Allison Pride, Dalton Avery Province, Chloe Michelle Pulliam, Christopher Joseph Radford, Allie Mae Rawson , Gaven Michael Reid, Hunter Nathaniel Reid, Payne Edward Reid, Levi Aron Robison, Mason Cole Simily, Michael Andrew Simily, Elizabeth Suzann Somerville, David Spencer Sorbello , Claire Elise Stevens, Alex Scott Thurman, Abigail Dawn Van Vacter, Jonah Andrew Vinson, Brandy Renee Walton, Mackenzie Nicole Watson, Makinna Mae Watson, Abbigail June Weathers, Madilyn Rose White, Jeffery Dale Whitter, Howard Wayne Williams.
Danielle Thurman is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be contacted at email@example.com or 573-518-3616.