The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner
The high school gymnasium was packed Sunday with friends and family on a beautiful Mother's Day afternoon to celebrate the end of the formal education in Henderson County at West Central Community Unit School District #235. After the "Pomp and Circumstance" played by pianist Mrs. Barb Gray brought in the students in cap and gown, student council officers Miranda Wallace, Secretary, Allison Lafary, Treasurer, and Austin Bigger Vice President, gave a warm welcome to those in attendance.
West Central High School Principal Mr. Jonathan Bradburn introduced the West Central Board of Education as well as the teachers, thanking them for their dedication and long hours given to further students education.
The officer's address was given by Sarah Nelson, Class President, and Hannah Brueck, Student Council President.
The Board Academic Awards were announced by West Central Superintendent Ralph Grimm and included the top ten graduating seniors, recognition of Student Service Achievement, Perfect Attendance, and Salutatorian and Valedictorian awards.
After the top scholars were recognized Bailey Stokes and Mariah Wallace gave their Salutatorian Addresses.
"Don't be afraid your life ends, be sad your life will never begin," Wallace said.
In the Valedictorian Addresses, Hannah Brueck began by relating to the movie that came out in 1994, Forrest Gump, the year many of the seniors were born.
"The movie is eighteen years old and we still remember what Mama used to tell Forrest: "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get."
It is true about life, that things are uncertain, and heartaches come, but Brueck suggests "each hardship you face leaves you a little bit stronger and wiser than you were before."
Brandon Carter, said "The end is only the beginning," and related life to a game of chess.
"As the game goes on, you strategically move your pieces to make it easier to achieve success."
Brandon suggests never giving up, keeping a cool head and think methodically until the moment you achieve checkmate.
"I don't know about you," Brandon concludes, "but I'm looking forward to seeing the future that we can all create!"
Gretchen Higgins took her love for Haunted Houses and related it to life ahead.
She is an avid haunted house seeker, each October, and said you can learn a lot from the frightful experiences.
You make decisions on which way to go, prepare for the unexpected, stick together.
Dealing with the scare factor and overcoming it, will make you stronger. You learn how to readjust and ultimately "get through the obstacles thrown in our way."
"In life you can not turn around. We must all learn to face the surprises, push them aside, and move on to the ending goal."
Higgins said that surviving a haunted house is "the culmination of decision-making; sticking together and dealing with the obstacles we are faced with.
Miranda Wallace reminder her classmates that they were the future of the world.
"We decide whether to go to class, write that paper, go to work or join the military. Our choices are no longer restricted by our parents' expectations or rules."
She also reminded them "We have had an amazing generation to learn from. Our parents and teachers have shaped us into the wonderful intelligent class we are today."
Superintendent Grimm passed on some wisdom to the graduates he gained when interviewing a position for an elementary teacher.
She had three rules to live by that he hoped graduates would take with them as they leave West Central...an undated version of the 3 R's:
"Be Respectful: Respect yourself and others at all times. Remember, respect is earned and to earn it, you must first give it. Respect others, your values, and the traditions that you have grown up with.
"Be Ready:Be ready for life and all that it has to offer. Be ready to experience new things and try new things and not be afraid to fail. Failure is an opportunity to start over more intelligently. don't let life pass you by but be ready for it, anticipate it and embrace it.
"Be Responsible: Accept responsibility for the choice that you make for that is what life really comes down to. Every choice; every decision you make, will have a consequence, good or bad. if you make a bad choice, be responsible, take ownership for it, learn from it and move on.... and don't repeat it."
Mr. Grimm said, "If you can remember this new version of the 3 R's, I suspect you will lead a propserous and fulling life."
E2 West Central's 2012 Valedictorians are: in front: Gretchen Higgins, daughter of Ms. Susan Higgins and Mr. Richard Lutz. From left in back are: Miranda Wallace, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tony Wallace, Brandon Carter, son of Mr. and Mrs. David Carter, and Hannah Brueck, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gary Brueck.
West Central Salutatorians are Bailey Stokes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Stokes, and Mariah Wallace, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tony Wallace.