BIDWELL — Being called one of the best classes to ever grace the halls of River Valley High School is a mantle that the Class of 2016 is more than happy to wear.
One hundred and eight students in the class earned their diplomas on a balmy Saturday night on the high school football field in front of hundreds of spectators. That is where Gallia Local Schools Superintendent Jude Meyers applied the tag to the class.
“Class of 2016, I can be really honest with you,” he said. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of your staff members. Here is what I hear from them over and over and over again: This is one of the best classes, if not the best class, to ever walk through the hallways of this school in this district — and you will be missed. That’s not an easy thing for a lot of people to say, but you are a class act. Whether it was on the court, in the classroom … you have truly been an amazing class, from academics through athletics.”
Much like the night before at South Gallia High School’s commencement, Meyers departed with two pieces of advice for the class.
“Thank all those people who have helped you on your journey,” he said. “The second piece of advice is to lead with your ears and follow with your mouth. When you listen in situations prior to speaking, that will go a long way toward helping you with whatever problems you encounter.”
Class Valedictorian Leia Moore called the Class of 2016 “exceptional.”
“Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘exceptional’ as having much more than average intelligence, ability and skill. The individuals in this class have come together to collectively achieve more than any class in our school’s history,” she said. “It has been a result to do our personal best to persist, persevere and perfect ourselves to work as individuals and as a team.
“We have completed this chapter in the book of life, and it’s now time to start a new chapter.”
Class Salutatorian Ben Moody equated graduation to a “good old-fashioned game of catch.”
“In order to start passing, first you have to pick up the object. With the object in hand, move your arm forward and release. The object then goes sailing through the air and the other person watches until it gets close enough to catch. The process repeats itself,” he said. “Tonight, after this ceremony, we each will have our own high school diploma. This is the object that will be thrown. I don’t mean literally throwing your diploma, but graduating from high school is the object we need to be catapulted into our futures.”
Those receiving honor diplomas were Ashton Ansel, Hayley Brown, Shelby Brown, Peyton Browning, Abbie Eleam, Ashley Gilmore, Ben Moody, Leia Moore, Eric Morgan, Jacob Morris, Chase Nance, Hannah Nutter, Tianna Qualls, Logan Sheets, Maddi Smith, Katherine Stump, Shyla Tackett, Tyler Twyman, Jacey Walker and John Wolfe.
The following students also earned diplomas on Saturday night:
Gretchen Anderson, Jayanna Armstrong-Miller, Justin Arrowood, James Bainter, Reilly Barcus, Bradly Bennett Jr., Kallie Birchfield, Brooklyn Blankenship, Gavin Blanton, Sarah Boggs, Daniel Brown, Haiden Burdette, Miranda Burris, Jalynn Cain, Lindsey Canaday, Catelynn Carroll, Dwayne Chapman, Caleb Childers, Cora Conley, Robert Davis,
Madison Deel, Codey Dement, Shania Duty, Austin Ehman, Joseph Facemire, Austin Farley, Kaeleona Franklin, Denita Gibson, Jessy Gilbert, Tabitha Gosnay, Derek Green, Dylan Greenlee, Zachary Grubb, Marah Hager, Dayton Hardway, Devon Harris, Blake Harrison, Alyssa Hayes, Gabriel Hoffman, Cody Holstein,
Mariah Hurt, Quinton Jacobs, John Jennings Jr., Josiah Johnson, Kelli Johnson, Richard Johnson, Jacob Kemper, David Kerns, Vladimir Kirk, Johnny Lively Jr., Gavin Lowe, Kaitlyn Martin, Coalton Masters, Justin Mays, Chase McElfresh, Jamiton McGrath, Haleigh McGuire, Elijah McKnight, Lindsey Mitchell, Erin Morgan,
Kirkland Morrow, Mckenzie Mullins, Brandon Norris, Lindsey Oxyer, Samuel Payne, Taylor Perry, Bailey Phoenix, Riley Roberts, Brittany Rochford, Morgan Roush, Madison Scott, Cheyenne Shafer, Norman Shafer, Lucas Shaffer, Connor Shiflet, Kimberly Siders, Travis Sigman, Courtney Smith, Ty Smittle,
Brooklin Stapleton, Hayley Stover, Annjelee Sturgis, Haleigh Thacker, Alexandria Truance, Kristian Walter, Tyler Ward, Corrine Williams, George Williams, Michael Williams and Mark Wray Jr.
Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.