Overton High’s green wave filled the stage of Dodson Auditorium Sunday afternoon when the 29-strong Mustang Class of 2019 received their diplomas.
Superintendent Stephen DuBose and High School Principal Cindy Bundrick called out and handed the bound diplomas to Jaylin Swade Blakeney, Brady Sebastian Brown, Emerson Edward Cherry, Jillian Danielle Croteau, Caleb Lorin Floyd, Sydney Paige Garrett, Tara Chloe Hawkins, Madalyn Jayne Hearon, Aubrey Savannah-Grace Henson, Xavier Zedekiah Herndon, Kameron Nichole Martin, Chase Michael McCasland, Brock Alan Moffet and Kiara De’Shaun Mumphrey.
Plus Lukas Paul Osburn, Maria Diega Ramirez, Holden McCain Reddick, Grayson Maddox Rhoades, Amanda Gayle Richmond, Peyton Brian Roberts, Hudson Law Rogers, Reece Corbin Slack, Naomi Rain Smith, Zachary Guy Smith, Lynette Elizabeth Terry, Dustin Tyler Torres, Tia Nichole West and Garrett Dale Worley.
Cherry, an Overton pupil since kindergarten, was class valedictorian. He thanked the packed auditorium “For coming to this momentous occasion” and in the same sentence praised his classmates for “Surviving this final year of high school and making it to graduation.
“Today is a bittersweet moment,” Cherry continued, “We as the class of 2019 will cherish these years growing up together for the rest of our lives. I wish my classmates well as they enter the next step on their journey in life.”
The valedictorian added, “So for today, if we are over smiling or have a little pep in our step as we walk, that just means we are so very proud of what we have accomplished for ourselves. We would like to thank our parents and teachers for guidance and teaching us through this first half of our journey.”
Salutatorian this year was Hawkins, who admitted making mistakes in her school years.
“However, I’m still standing here today, and that’s what matters the most. Mistakes are our own personal trial-and-errors of life that help us learn the things that we should and shouldn’t do. These mistakes are both necessary and proper in allowing us to grow into the mature human belongs that both our parents and teachers have worked so hard to turn us into. So thank you to every teacher and administrator and parent and family member who have shown great patience with us. You have all instilled a sense of morality in us that we will carry wherever we go.”
She closed, “Last, but not least, to my class I would like to say thank you for the amazing memories. We’ve only just begun.”
Cherry wants to study ultra-sound technology at Kilgore College and maybe Tyler Junior College. Hawkins aims to major in health science at UT Tyler and eventually be a medical physician.
Counselor Wendy Jackson read out the scholarships awarded and had the earners stand as she spoke. Blakeney received eight scholarships for a total of $5,850; Brown, five scholarships for a total of $3,500; Cherry, two for $3,750; Hawkins, one for $33,000; Hearon, two for $2,250; Henson, three for $3,300; Herndon, one for $500; McCasland, three for $125,000; Moffet, one for $500; Mumphrey, three for $2,400; Reddick, four for $3,600; Rogers, five for $4,750; Slack, three for $125,000; Zachary Smith, two for $500; Terry, one for $2,500; and Torres, one for $97,000.
“All those come to a grand total of $413,900. Pretty good for a class this size,” Jackson boasted.
Twelve Mustangs: Blakeney, Brown, Cherry, Floyd, Hawkins, Hearon, Henson, McCasland, Reddick, Rogers, Terry and Worley were recognized as Distinguished Graduates. Honor Graduates were Blakeney, Brown, Cherry, Croteau, Hawkins, Hearon, Henson, McCasland, Osburn, Reddick, Richmond and Rogers. Blakeney, Cherry and Hawkins finished in the Top 10 Percent.
Brown was assigned the opening remarks, OHS band played the National Anthem, Rogers welcomed the guests and Blakeney led the closing prayer. Before the hat toss, all graduates lined Dodson stage and led guests in the School Song.
In respect to Memorial Day, DuBose asked all for a moment of silence.