County graduates take their final bows

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Graduation exercises kicked off in the county last week with the commencement ceremony at Georgiana High School.

Last Wednesday, May 24, 45 seniors donned their royal blue caps and gowns to make that milestone walk across the school's football field.

Tiffany Blount shared the evening's Inspirational Thought, while Belynda Hartley presented the Salutatory Address to the large crowd. Hartley recalled both the happy and sad times as the class journeyed to their final night as GHS students.

&#8220We've made it, we persevered,” Valedictorian Jacob Hartin later told his classmates with a smile.

Hartin and his older brother Caleb were back-to-back valedictorians for the South Butler county high school.

Outgoing principal Keith York, who is moving to the Auburn area, presented each of the students with their diplomas while newly appointed principal Joseph Dean looked on.

Seniors Tyrun Blackmon and Samantha Shows led their classmates in the school alma mater.

The new graduates ended the ceremony with a jubilant chant beneath the goal posts as caps flew in the air.

On Thursday night, May 25, 21 seniors in dark blue strode across Williams-Vickery Field in McKenzie to receive their diplomas.

Tamiya and Lydia Owens shared a special song dedicated to the seniors of 2006, while Salutatorian Ashley Godwin was visibly moved during her speech recalling her years at McKenzie School.

Jasmaine Shufford, Akeia Owens and Holly Tolbert shared poignant poetry during the ceremony, while Valedictorian Trey Bush brought laughter with his light-hearted address.

Principal Randy Williams shared handshakes, hugs and a few words of encouragement with each graduate as they received their diplomas.

After the official turning of the tassels, the new McKenzie graduates each received a long-stemmed rose from ushers Amanda Mosley and Jessica Lassiter as they made their way to the goalposts – and their final &#8220hurrah” as mortarboards were tossed into the air.

On Friday night, May 26, not one, but two, local schools held commencement exercises.

At Southside Baptist Church in Greenville, a packed house celebrated Fort Dale Academy's 2006 graduation exercises.

A total of 46 graduates in white entered the church sanctuary for their last walk as FDA students.

Blake Scott Bush delivered the salutatory address while Katelynd Ellis Branum spoke as the class's valedictorian.

Special recognition of all graduates receiving scholarships, honors and awards was made by Headmaster David Brantley and faculty members Marcia Davis and Nonie Taylor.

FDA senior class members showcased their vocal talents with performances of both the class song and the class hymn during the ceremony.

Sharon Paulk, chairperson of the FDA board of directors, spoke of her pride in the class of 2006 and expressed hope they all felt well prepared for the future through their education at the school.

Paulk and Brantley then presented diplomas to the graduates as cameras clicked across the sanctuary.

Faces were beaming as the new graduates sang their alma mater and later marched out to the strains of &#8220Aida” to greet family, friends and faculty members outside the church.

On the same night, across town, 136 seniors at Greenville High School received their diplomas on the football field in front of a packed Tiger Stadium.

Class of 2006 Salutatorian Jateum Perryman joked that her and her fellow seniors would remember fondly the &#8220clacking of Dr. (Kathy) Murphy's heels” down the school hallways, as well as being the first class to adhere to the uniform policy.

Valedictorian Amy Tillery reflected on growing up under the watchful eye of concerned parents and warned her fellow classmates of the dangers of drugs in society today.

Parents lined the fence to snap photographs of their respective graduate when they received their diploma from Murphy.

Kevin Pearcey contributed to this report.