South Ripley commencement set for Sat.
Milan, JCD graduates 134

Wanda English Burnett

Two area schools held commencement exercises on Saturday, May 23.

First at 10:00 a.m., Milan High School was the setting for 79 graduates to take center stage and receive diplomas culminating their elementary and high school years of learning.

The crowd was welcomed by Principal Richard Healy after the traditional processional Pomp and Circumstance, followed by the Star Spangled Banner, ushered in the graduating class of 2009.
Those in attendance heard from Co-Valedictorians Rachel Hand and Heather Mire as well as Salutatorian Brittney Knowlton. O. Eugene Pitts, outgoing interim superintendent addressed the crowd. Randy Combs presented diplomas.

Songs with poignant messages such as “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," "We Go Together," and "I Will Remember You,” were presented by the choir. The changing of the tassel ceremony was led by senior class president Quentin Hackman, denoting the end of school days at Milan.

Class officers besides Hackman include Mary Mortara, secretary; Zachary Holland, vice president, and Shelby Zornes, treasurer. The class motto was “Live your life to its fullest. Laugh at all the things that don’t matter. Love with all that you have and more. Live. Laugh. Love.”

The forty-ninth annual commencement exercises at the Jac-Cen-Del High School were presented at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.

The school that has had the distinct honor of winning a state basketball championship this year was again in the spotlight as 55 graduates proudly marched into the gymnasium to receive their diplomas.
Superintendent Bill Narwold welcomed the crowd with one of the star basketball players, Timothy Blake Sutton, giving a speech entitled, “Reflection.”

Jac-Cen-Del’s band and choir under the direction of Glenn Unklesbay, presented “Best Days” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The presentation of awards was given by Principal Johnny Budd with Valorie Ann Wagner honored as the valedictorian and Gerald Alan Hardesty, taking the honor of salutatorian.

The presentation of diplomas was given by both the principal and superintendent followed by the turning of the tassel with Gerald Hardesty, senior class president, leading his classmates in the final act.

The class motto was “Dream as if you will live forever, Live as if you’ll not see tomorrow.”

Commencement exercises for South Ripley High School will take place Saturday, May 30 at 5:30 p.m. The graduating class of 2009 will be the first to receive diplomas in the new high school gymnasium.

ABOVE: Members of the 2009 graduating class at Milan High School listen intently as graduation ceremonies come to a close on Saturday, May 23.
BELOW: Tanaha Simon pauses for reflection after she received her diploma at the forty-ninth annual commencement exercises held at JCD in the afternoon on Saturday, May 23