Thacker was guest speaker at Saturday’s commencement ceremony for South Gallia’s 49 graduates, the last senior class to have studied, competed and performed in the former Hannan Trace High School building reopened and rechristened as South Gallia in 1996.
Those in the audience who could see out the western side exit of the school gymnasium could spy over a knoll the front of the new South Gallia, scheduled for a ribbon-cutting and dedication on Saturday, Aug. 15.
Thacker, a 2001 graduate of SGHS and later of Ohio State University, advised class members to take their time deciding what to do, but to give it all they have to make their career goal happen when they do make up their minds.
“With hard work, risk and not quite knowing what you are doing, you will achieve your dream,” said Thacker, who currently works with vision care practices in Gallipolis and Jackson.
“But don’t feel trapped by them,” she added. “If your ambitions are different in five, 10 or 15 years, accept them and pursue them.”
Valedictorian Katie Fellure offered congratulations to her classmates on reaching graduation and thanked the school for teaching them and herself “many valuable things. I honestly feel prepared to pursue my dreams.”
To the class, Fellure encouraged the graduates to “be courageous, be fearless and be yourself, because that’s the only person who can help you achiev your dreams.”
Katherine Lawrence, the salutatorian, urged the class to be inspired and to do so by promoting three qualities — honesty, humility and love.
“I wish everyone their own personal success in life,” she added.
Before the presentation of diplomas, Principal Scot West read the list of scholarship winners, who earned a total of $318,820 in awards for 2009.
The ceremony opened with the national anthem sung by Amber and Ashley Miller. The school choir, under the direction of Cassandra Thompson, sang “Friends” and Thompson’s daughter, Heather Gallo, soloed on “Whenever You Remember.”
The class of 2009 includes:
Natasha Nicole Adkins, Nathan Lee Bainter, Brittney Renee Barry, Kirstie Shaye Bertram, Billy David Thomas Blair, Cody Bob Crawford, Megan Elizabeth Daines, Joseph Baron Dummitt, Katie Lynn Fellure, Travis Scot Fulks, Heather Marie Gallo, Kelsey Jean Gray, Brittany Leah Green, David Aaron Gwinn, Zachary David Haislop, Whitley Mariah Halley, Kali Christine Hampton, Katherine Victoria Lawrence, Caleb Levi McClanahan, Rachel Michelle Merry, Amber Nicole Miller, Ashley Marie Miller, Donald Harold Miller, James Lee Montgomery;
Kayla Noel Nance, Heather Marie Oppenheim, Elsie Elizabeth Queen, Crystal Marie Roberts, Heather Marie Roberts, Garrett Adam Robinson, Shyanna Renee’ Rose, Mary Kristin Sheets, Jennifer Mary Sheridan, Tom Anthony Shriver, Billy Joe Stanley II, Dakota James Stapleton, Quentin Jay Stapleton Jr., Amber Lynne Stewart, Katherine Stacey Stout, Samantha Brown Taylor, Megan Ashley Thomas, Christina Amber Tirpak, Julia Lin Wagner, Thomas James Washington, Jacob Ollie Watson, Kelsey Marie Wells, Skylar William Willford, Darren Matthew Wolfe and Jeremy Michael Young.