Silver Knights Stride Toward the Future
MIDDLEBOURNE – Tyler Consolidated Class of 2016 walked into a crowded gymnasium as seniors and emerged as alumni after Thursday’s commencement ceremonies.
The usual speeches were given, but the day’s mood was reflected on the faces of the graduates. Katelyn Gogan had the biggest smile on her face, even offered a thumbs up.
Margaux Bantug had a tear in her eye as she walked up to accept her diploma.
One of the class’ valedictorians, Julian Work, appeared at ease as he stepped up to the podium to give his speech. His parents were sitting on the front row. His mother, Brandy Glover-Frye, a longtime TCHS teacher, did not shed a tear, but was composed as her son started talking. The crowd was quiet and ready to listen to what this young man had to say.
“Some of you thought this day would never come,” he said. “For others this day has been all you’ve ever thought about for the past semester. To me, this day has always been a goal, but it felt so distant I thought I’d never reach it. But now we are here and we are graduating. We’re graduating- let that sink in if it hasn’t yet.”
Valedictorian Brannon Jones took long strides as stepped up to the podium. His parents were watching with rapt attention as their boy, now a man, spoke. Behind him, there was a legion of graduates dressed in silver and black robes; a class of individuals, each of them special in their own way. Along the Jones’ path through school, he had spent many hours with these folks.
“We have always been a large part, if not majority, of the activities and organizations in our school system and community,” he said. “Unlike some classes, we are involved in and have dedicated ourselves to every single aspect of this school. We have made our presence known in every club, sport, and activity out there, leaving behind a trail of success. Records and achievements were made both on and off the field from the moment we first stepped into high school. No matter what it is that any one of you did, you accomplished amazing things and added to the legacy of this school.”
Salutatorian Kyle Frum had what appeared to be a content smile on his face as this tall, lanky lad stepped closer to the podium. His face shown with confidence, must like the man he would quote who battled great odds to shape history.
“Winston Churchill once said, ‘success is not final, failure is not final: it is courage to continue that counts,'” he said. “In our endeavors post-graduation, all of us will face some sort of adversity or struggles in our future. We as a class have been prepared for these situations through high school, and almost all of us have been in a situation where we had to face a problem and step up and get the job done. Whether in the future you are pursuing further education, joining the workforce, joining the military, or whatever future decisions you make, you cannot let one issue or struggle keep you down. As proud members of the graduating class of 2016, you cannot let any opportunities slip away.”
During the ceremony, seniors joined the choir for a few songs led by Director Bryce Negie. When the choir performed Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin”, a little girl on the front row near the podium started lip synching the words as she took pictures of the commencement ceremony. The song “My Home Among the Hills” echoes an eternity in the minds of many Silver Knights who could remember the song from their own graduation ceremonies. As their names were announced, neatly stacked diplomas were handed to each graduate.
The turning of the tassels was led by Senior Class President Damara Winfrey and the benediction by Senior Class Vice President Brittany Weekley.
TCHS Guidance Counselor Pam Stollings’s speech offered these words that best summed up the spirit of the class.
“We laughed, cried and overcame many obstacles together during your high school years,” she said. “Although you are talented in your own way, the most important impression you have left with me is your character. You are caring, genuine and compassionate, and this is what will drive you to leave your mark on the world.”
Though the commencement ceremony was complete, there was one more thing that needed to be done a tradition. The graduates had a spry lift in their steps as they strided to a wide open space and lined up. The group waited patiently for parents, friends, family, teachers and staff to catch up and get their cameras ready. Moments later, the mortar boards flew in the air.
Earlier, the choir led the crowd in singing the alma mater, which had a line that strikes a chord that binds classes past, present and future together.
“And when the time comes that dear friends must part, Silver and Black will live long in our heart.”
In the aftermath, this was no ordinary class. Stollings said the average class ACT was a 21.2 and they have earned $2,368, 495 in merit based scholarships meaning they have earned it through academic excellence, athletic ability, or leadership experience. This total does not include need based financial aid that was offered. Also, 23 students are currently eligible for the PROMISE scholarship that pays $4750/year for up to 4 years of higher education. And, three students have enlisted with the US Marines and one with the Navy.
After listing those formidable statistics, Work’s words during his speech come to mind:
“In closing, Jeremiah 29:11 reads, ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
Silver Knights’ Award Winners
Balfour Awards went to Frum, Jones and Work.
Paden City Foundation/VFW Scholarship went to Rebecca Bolin.
The Janet Zevnik Memorial Scholarship went to Martha Shepherd.
The Tyler County Education Association Scholarships went to Scott Gorby, Hogan Wells and Work.
The Adam Kelly Memorial Scholarship went to Katlyn Seckman. Kelly was a noted and admired editor of the Tyler Star News.
The Marines gained Gabe Clegg, Bobby Dennis, Joshua Wayne and the Navy got Doug Wagner. Salute.
List of Graduates
The TCHS Class of 2016 is as follows: Karly Jean Allen, Kellsi Cheyenne Anderson, Jordan Bryce Baker, Margaux Cosette Bantug, Kia Raine Barnhart, Randy Jacob Barnhart, Brittany Nicole Bishop, Kelsey Morgan Black, Rebecca Taylor Bolin, Zachery Michael Bonner, Hannah Marie Casteel, Journey Ranee Cathers, William Freddrick Chapman, Gabriel Christian Clegg, Troy Bradden Collins, Adam Matthew Cooper, Virgil Christopher Cooper, Damien Scott Curtis, Karalynn Marie Dalrymple, Bobby Joe Dennis, Katarena Brooke Dunham, Kaitlyn Ryanne Eastham, Nathan Braun Eddy, Isaac Creed Eller, Ariel Rachelle Fish, Kyle Hamilton Frum, Samantha Danielle Frum, Dillon Ray Glover, Sydney Brianna Glover, Katelyn Jenna Gogan, Scott Lee Gorby, Joseph Nathaniel Greathouse, Isaac Jason Hall, Devon James Harris, Breanna Michelle Hartley, Alex Michael Higgins, Thomas Ian Jackson, Tiffany Brooke Jackson, Jayme Lynn Jeffers, Brannon Nathanial Jones, Matthew Salem Jones, Casey Erin Kelley, Jonathan Caleb Kerns, Jessica Opal Kimble, Andrew Tre Kocher, Brianna Lynn Kurfis, Jasmine Arielle Kyle, Kyle Jacob Lefleme, Shannon Rachelle Lamp, Jeremiah Allen Lancaster, Colby Scott Lash, Matthew Alexander Lohr, Nicole Brooke Lovejoy, Tyler James Mayhew, Remie Rachelle McAdams, Gabriel Xavier McClain, Marisha Lee Morris, Lydia Paige Morse, Marcus Blake Nichols, Branden Tyler Owens, Rebecca Padova, Joshua Isacc Peck, Federico Perez-Munoz, Ty Lee Pratt, Molly Rose Rine, Baylee Elizabeth Roberts, Hannah Grace Roberts, Amber Marie Satterfield, Katlyn Olivia Seckman, Lacey Dawn Seckman, Kali Rhea Shanabarger, Martha Elizabeth Shepherd, Danielle Elizabeth Shreve, Kelly Nicole Smith, Kristen Danielle Smith, Logan Thomas Smith, Tiffany Faye Smith, Breanna Marie Snyder, Madison Nicolle Spaulding, Austin Tyler Spencer, Kole Alan Starkey, Kordell Mikhail Stewart, Nathan Eugene Stewart, Natasha Nicole Tallarito, Kaleb Danial Tanley, Franklin Zachariah Taylor, Austin Cole Thompson, Jarrett Marshall Thompson, Rae Nicole Vancamp, Douglas William Wagner, Amber Elizabeth Watson, Joshua Aaron Wayne, Brittany Nicole Weekley, Daron Marshall Weekley, Hogan Daniel Wells, Sydney Elizabeth White, Justin Todd Williams, Damara Faith Winfrey, Julian Work and Savannah Lynn Wright.