It was a slightly overcast day on Thursday, May 21, 2015 as the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” filled the air and the Arkansas Senior High School staff along with the 252 individuals decked in red robes began walking towards their seats to begin the ceremony of the beginning of the rest of their lives, graduation.
After the posting of the colors, the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem and the invocation, Valedictorian Bailee Cummings gave an encouraging and humorous welcome and address that emphasized the importance of being yourself.
“Another great thing about being yourself is that when you and other people with their own unique qualities come together you all can do great things,” said Cummings, “As a class, I believe that we have done great things. Whether it has been in athletics, academics, art, or anything else, we have truly excelled.”
Cummings also included hilarious elements such as “I appreciate google, wikipedia, sparknotes, quizlet and trivia crack for being such great sources of information.”
Cummings said that she was truly blessed to know each graduate, and she provided a challenge to them to put their greatness to use.
“There’s a reason graduation is called a commencement, not a termination,” said Cummings.
Salutatorian Megan Abadom, provided an inspiring challenge to the graduates.
She began by discussing how her parents have helped her understand that whatever she wanted in life would not be handed to her but would be obtained by hard work and determination.
“Never lose sight in what you want in life, and strive with determination, because success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up,” said Abadom.
Abadom also thanks the educators for providing her and fellow students with the resources they need to succeed.
“Without educators, there would not be teachers, lawyers, or even football players,” said Abadom, “So I would like to thank all the Arkansas High staff and faculty on behalf of today’s graduates.”
Abadom said that each teacher has prepared the graduates with the knowledge to take on reality.
“Meet challenges with your head held high,” said Abadom.
Abadom said that when you succeed you are in the position to give rather than to take.
“Do what you can to reach your full potential, the future is truly in our hands so make the most of it,” said Abadom.
Abadom ends with the phrase, “The world is ours.”
Robin Hickerson, secondary assistant superintendent, introduced the Board of Education and central office staff which included President Jesse Buchanan, Vice President Glen Spears, Secretary Carol Dalby, Laney Harris, Anita Clay, Vickie Lacy and Larry Manley.
Arkansas High School Principal Eva Nadeau and Lem Ross, 12th grade assistant principal, introduced the top ten graduates while the anticipation for the awarding of diplomas increased.
Top Ten graduates included, Bailee Cummings, Megan Abadom, Kaitlyn Thomason, Hannah McQuerrey, Danielle Moore, Kaitlin Sanderson, William Gloster, Andrew Osborne, Cameron Ytzen, and McKenzie Matthews.
LaVentry Easter then sings an emotional rendition of “Time of Our Lives” by Tyrone Wells.
As the awarding of diplomas commenced, families began cheering for their prospective students.
After the awarding of diplomas, the benediction was given by student council President Kaitlin Sanderson.
Then, Charessa Cleveland and the Arkansas High School Band performed the Alma Mater as all fingers across the stadium waved from side to side with pride.
Lastly, AHS Principal Eva Nadeau provides the historic words of “you may now move your tassels from right to left,” and the graduating seniors cheered and threw up their hats in excitement.
When asked what was special about the 2015 class, Dominique Block, graduating senior, said, “We were all different but we came together when we needed to, we were like the real world, we had one goal to graduate and we did it.”
Hannah McQuerrey, top ten graduate, said, “We were all competitive with each other but we all lift each other up. With the top ten, we all wanted to beat each other but we were always there for study hours and tutoring.”
Danielle Moore, top ten graduate, said, “There was a lot of friendships and a lot of help from others and support.”