EDUCATION

Mercer County graduates first class

Robert Blackford/Editor
MCHS graduates throw their hats in the air following the Commencement Program.

The Mercer County School District graduated its inaugural class May 23 at Mercer County High School. It was accomplished in the midst of 90 degree temperatures while many attendees fanned their programs to create a breeze in the high school's packed gymnasium.

John McCutchan and Averi Wilson were the co-valedictorians. Meghan Dillie and Ellen MacDonald were the co-salutatorians.

Devan McWhorter and Averi Wilson, co-presidents of the senior class, gave a brief welcome.

Superintendent of the Mercer County School District Alan Boucher spoke briefly noting many of the individuals graduating had participated on state championship teams and had achieved all conference, all area and even all state status. While those achievements are usually reserved for athletes they also applied to visual arts and the academic area.

Boucher added, "I am amazed with the way you handled consolidation. Many of you would have rather graduated from Aledo and Westmer high schools that wasn't possible. You adapted, made friends joined students organizations and teams. I'm very sorry to see you leave. You will now perform new adventures for yourselves."

Assistant Principal Nat Zunkel named the top 20 students of the district: Mary Ann Bodeen, Erika Leeann Brown, Heather Jacquelynn Carlberg, Abel Dean Castor, Brittani Lyn Chamberlin, Molly Anne Conway, Meghan Elizabeth Dille, Jordan Matthew Frieden, Kayla Kathryn Hyett, Ellen Elizabeth MacDonald, John Michael McCutchan, Ian Christopher Muske, Garen Forbes Nelson, Devan Michael Peterson, Austin Michael Rader, Tyler Stone Shull, Ashley Ann Tompkins, Jessica Lee Toops, Averi Elizabeth Wilson and Courtney Lynn Wright.

Co-Salutatorian Meghan Dillie spoke of the friendships that have developed in the last year the class has been together and that many will last a lifetime. "We got to know each other as the year went by."

Dillie advised the graduates to be themselves and "don't let others live your life for you."

Co-Salutatorian Ellen MacDonald told graduates: "When you leave here today it will be with the satisfaction of achievement. No one here is short of greatness."

Co-Valedictorian John McCutchan spoke briefly thanking family, friends and especially the teachers.

Co-Valedictorian Averi Wilson told the audience that the graduation was 13 years of hard work. She told her fellow graduates that they can be anything that they want to be. She spoke about the struggle of great minds such as Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison and noted that they overcame major obstacles in their life.

"We've made history by being here today. We all have the potential to do amazing things and go amazing places.

The New Generation sang "Together We are One" and then delivered an unscheduled performance of "Livin' On a Prayer," a song sang at many sporting events by the students over the years.

Honor marshals were Blair Baugher, Luke Boucher, Sarah Higgins and Doug Mills.

National Honor Society members are: Heather Jacquelynn Carlberg, Abel Dean Castor, Meghan Elizabeth Dillie, Kaitlyn Mackenzie Dowd, Megan Marie Fitzsimmons, Kayla Kathryn Hyett, Ellen Elizabeth MacDonald, John Michael McCutchan, Devan Michael Peterson, Austin Michael Rader, Matthew Ryan Rillie, Tyler Stone Shull, Ashley Ann Tompkins, Hollie Michelle Welch and Averi Elizabeth Wilson.

The class motto is: "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

School board president Dwight Shoemaker and board of education member Doug Ball presented the diplomas.

2010 graduates were: Jamille Caroni Aby Faraj, Brett Michael Anderson, Ethan Daniel Ball, Paige Brianna Beal, Courtny Marie Beam, Taylor Anne Beguelin, Eryka Ward Berglund, Meredith Katheryn Berthel, Brittney Dian Bieri, Mary Ann Bodeen, Brandon Alexander Bolton, Christine Marie Bond, Becky Sue Brown, Charles Dillon Brown, Erika Leeann Brown, Mason Thomas Bush, Adam Lee Butler, heather Jacquelynn Carlberg, Devon Lee Carle, Evan Clayton Carlson, Abel Dean Castor, Brittani Lyn Chamberlin, Molly Anne Conway, Franceso Corsini, Danielle Marie DeFrieze, Shonni Janel Dickey, Meghan Elizabeth Dillie, Kalynn Anne Dixon, Thomas Allen Dixon, Kaitlyn Mackenzie Dowd, Megan Jo Engle, Megan Marie Fitzsimmons, Emily Erin Frieden, Jordan Matthew Frieden, Kodie Lynn Gaunt, Tyler James Gilbert, Jeremy Wayne Hank, Justina Leigh Harrison, Lynnea Ileen Hawn, Emily Marie Heard, Jessica Kristan Hess, Teague Elayna Holmes, Danielle Renee Hutt, Kayla Kathryn Hyett, Abulena Islamoski, Devin Michael Johnson, Shane Perry Judd, Michael Dean Kellett, Allie Marie Kellogg, Dylan Nicholas King, Breana Jo Kircher, Nikole Joelle Lenz, Shannon Lael Lenz, Matthew Lynn Long, Danielle Taylor Louck, Bradley Eugene Loveridge, Cassandra Jean Loving, LeAnn Michelle Lower, Zane Lloyd Lower, Ellen Elizabeth MacDOnald, Haley Leanne Maynard, John Michael McCutchan, Devan Nicole McWhorter, Thomas Patrick Moran, Austin Paul Munson, Ian Christopher, Samantha Annette Nash, Garen Forbes Nelson, Gaige Thomas Nichol, Arleena Lucille Nylin, Matthew Phillip Palmer, Maxamillan Harry Parkinson, Logan Luanne Partlow, Jayson Alan Paul, Brittny Leeann Peters, Devan Michael Peterson, Kyle Patrick Pitman, Dylan Michael Posteri, Ryne Michael Edward Prince, Austin Michael Rader, Austin Thomas Reid, Dallas Renee Retherford, Nathan Lee Retherford, Kyle F.R. Richter, Matthew Ryan Rillie, Shannon LeAnn Robinson, Jeffry Allen Rumburg, Alana Layne Rush, Brad L. Saddoris, Austin Jacob Schroeder, Brandon Michael Schroeder, Rory Kellen Schwass, Chase Phillip Sharp, Dustin Alan Shearer, Tyler Stone Shull, Preston Scott Smith, Hayley Nicole Stephens, Chelsea Marie Swearingen, Ashley Ann Tompkins, Logan Scott Tompkins, Jessica Lee Toops, Rachel Walker Troop, Steven Allen Wailand, Nash William Walthall, Hollie Michelle Welch, Trenton Bruce Whitehall, Jordan Wade Willits, Averi Elizabeth Wilson, Randi Elise Wilson and Courtney Lynn Wright.