Paden City honors graduates
Sun-splashed skies, superb speeches, and scholarships were the order of the day at Berger Field in Paden City as 25 members of the Paden City High School Class of 2009 received their diplomas Saturday along with numerous awards and honors.
For the second time in recent years, the Paden City Foundation presented every member of the graduating class with a scholarship. The American Legion Post 86 was also on hand to present their long-standing awards.
The event began with the traditional processional along the track of the football field before a huge crown of family, friends, residents and visitors, many clad in green and white in support of the graduates, the school and town.
Class President Ryan Thoburn opened the ceremony by asking for a moment of silence in memory and recognition of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of World War II. Josh Veyon and Amy Toman led the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a personal and heartfelt welcome by Thoburn.
Speakers were introduced throughout the ceremony by class members Kim, Davis, Chris Ly, Angelica Phillips, Katie Rosa, Kara Wilcox and Vicky Yurisko.
Lea Ann Butcher gave a poignant and memorable Class History beginning with remembrances from kindergarten and focusing on the class’s last six years at PCHS.
The Salutatory was delivered by Shauna Durant. In an emotional address, Durant related personal reasons for her love of Paden City High School, commenting that “bigger is not always better.”
In a valedictory not soon to be forgotten, Wes Cosper spared no emotion in giving “a personal statement from the heart.
“I have been a Wildcat, I have given my heart and soul to this school and in return, it has taught me about pride and dedication and rewarded me with the best six years of my life. I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that 15 years from now, the class valedictorian of the PCHS Class of 2024 will be able to stand at this podium, look out over a sea of green and say the same thing.” Cosper was rewarded by a prolonged standing ovation by the nearly 1,000 present.
Rod Fagert presented the American Legion Post 86 Best All-Around Boy Award to Ryan Thoburn and Best All-Around Girl Award to Vicki Yurisko.
Rodney McWilliams, president of the Paden City Foundation, then proceeded to award the scholarships to the members of the class. Larry Howard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6327 assisted with their scholarship and awarded it to Kara Wilcox.
Brent Croasmun then presented Kim Davis with the Hannah Croasmun Memorial Scholarship.
Kathi Ferrebee of the Wildcat Boosters assisted by presenting the Wildcat Boosters Scholarships to Amy Toman, Chris Loy and Shauna Durant.
McWilliams handled the rest of the duties and presented the following scholarships: Doc, Libby and Miller Family Scholarship: Lea Ann Butcher; Jesse Brown Memorial: Jennifer Wyke; G.R. Berger Alumni: Josh Veyon; Debra Blatt-Pryor Memorial: Heather Minger; Sheldon S. Buck Memorial: Victoria Yurisko; Paden City Lions Club: Ryan Thoburn; Robert Bowers Memorial: Ricky Wright; Paden City Foundation Community Spirit Scholarship: Justin Loub, Chaz Heasley, Amber Post, Michael Glover, Keith Kline, Brian Jones, Caylin Stephen, Adam Wood; Owen and Hope McKay Memorial: Katherine Rosa; Jeff Casteel Student Athlete Scholarships: Sasha Newson and Ronnie Blatt; C.M. Garrett Memorial: Angelica Phillips; Eagles Scholastic Awards: Durant and Cosper.
Cosper also received the Jane Martin Memorial Scholarship for Valedictorians.
Also with a strong tinge of emotion, principal Warren Grace thanked several supporting organizations and the City of Paden City for continued support of the schools in Paden City by stating, “If ever there was a community that deserves to have its community school preserved, it is Paden City.”
The crowd responded with a thunderous applause. He then introduced the Honors Students and presented the Class of 2009 to Linda Ritz, member of the Wetzel County Board of Education.
Becky Meckley, faculty member, presented Durant and Cosper with the Salutatorian and Valedictorians awards.
Wetzel County BOE members, Mike Blair, Willie Baker, Linda Ritz, Robert Patterson and Amy Dieffenbauch then proceeded to assist in presenting the diplomas along with Superintendent Bill Jones and assisted by faculty member Rick Bertozzi.
The tassels were then turned and the crowd sang the school Alma Mater before the recessional to the center of the field for the traditional hat-tossing celebration.
McWilliams noted, “This is a record number of scholarships awarded by the PC Foundation. It would not be possible without the generosity of those who established funds for scholarships and this year’s extraordinary fund raising and generous giving by individuals, families and organizations who wish to remain anonymous. Their giving made it possible to provide a scholarship to every graduate. I don’t think you see that anywhere in any public school in West Virginia, only in Paden City.”