BIDWELL — “Our lives are before us; our pasts are behind us. But our memories are forever.”
This was the motto of the River Valley High School Class of 2019. On Friday evening, 127 seniors became high school graduates during the annual commencement ceremony.
Seniors entered the football field to “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the River Valley Band Ensemble, with the school’s Phoenix Show Choir, singing the National Anthem.
Welcoming remarks were delivered by Co-Salutatorian, Destiny Dotson, who plans on attending Ohio University to major in nursing in the fall and further her education to become a nurse practitioner. Dotson welcomed those in attendance on behalf of herself and her classmates. Dotson spoke about the Class of 2019 overcoming obstacles.
“High school is finally over….it’s all just memories now,” Dotson said. “A very wise man named Dr. Seuss once said, ‘you don’t know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’”
Next, Dr. Timothy Edwards, principal of RVHS, introduced honored guests and Gallia Local Schools Superintendent Jude Meyers who gave remarks.
“Just from my perspective, as superintendent, I would like to first congratulate you, wish you the best, its been a privilege and an honor to follow all of your successes, from the classroom, to the field, to all the activities you’ve been involved in…you’ve represented River Valley High School very well. …We wish you the best as you enter the next phase of your life which will begin, in probably, about an hour from now.”
Co-Valedictorian Julia Nutter then addressed her classmates and those gathered. Nutter plans on attending The Ohio State University to study biomedical engineering in the fall.
“Well we never thought this day would come…now we are finally here,” Nutter said. “What a bittersweet occasion it is. I’m happy and excited to graduate but not because…,” she paused, overcome with emotion. “I’ve got allergies or something,” she joked but continued to explain, though she was excited to graduate, she wasn’t excited to leave behind friendships and memories.
Nutter said she asked her classmates what they will miss about River Valley. Making the list were cheering at Friday night football games, musicals, show choir, dancing at Homecoming and Prom, winning the spirit stick, teachers, friends and more. Some of the things her classmates will not miss – school lunches, waking up early, being counted tardy, having to ask to go to the bathroom, calculus tests, speed bumps in the parking lot, testing and more.
“I challenge each one of the members of the Class of 2019 to continue to set goals, to work hard and to say yes to new adventures,” Nutter said.
She closed her remarks with Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Next, members of the Phoenix Show Choir performed “Seize the Day.”
The Honorable Judge Eric Mulford, a graduate himself of River Valley High School, then spoke.
“I hope I’m proof for you that your diploma from River Valley can take you anywhere you want to go, whether it’s law school or anywhere else” he said.
Mulford continued, “I think it’s important to recognize that Raider Nation is not just this stadium and not just that building over there, it’s this entire community. So, thinking back to the time that the doors to River Valley first opened and coming forward all the way to tonight, the conclusion I draw is that community is built on relationships. So if you remember nothing else I tell you tonight, remember that meaningful relationships with one another are the key to life.”
Co-Valedictorian Alyssa Sheets, next addressed those gathered for commencement. Sheets plans on attending Ohio University to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering.
“I feel nothing but appreciation for my peers…,” Sheets said. “It has been a wild ride through these years. Some of us may not like each other but we cannot deny the fact that as a class we grew more to be like a family.”
Sheets then delivered a quote from author James Joyce, “Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”
She said she felt this quote defined the class as a whole.
“We as a class will always go boldly wherever we go,” Sheets said. “We will not just let time take control and wither us away. We are the future and the future starts now.”
Members of Phoenix Show Choir then performed “From Now On.”
Co-Salutatorian Josie Jones then gave closing remarks. Jones plans on attending Marshall University to study communication disorders. Like the student speakers before her, Jones thanked those who had a hand in getting the graduates to this moment in time. She also congratulated and addressed her classmates.
“To the Class of 2019, we have come so far, it feels like yesterday we started our first day of school, now the future lies before us, open with endless possibilities,” Jones said. “I hope that you all achieve your dreams.”
Edwards then addressed the seniors, saying he felt, as a whole, the Class of 2019 had “chosen to be joyful” and encouraged them to continue this habit and see the joy in life.
Also during commencement, Edwards recognized the following honor students as follows:
Top 10 percent of the Class of 2019
Bailey Bennett, Destiny Dotson, Jordan Garrison, Chloe Gee, Rachel Horner, Josie Jones, Melinda Long, Isabella Moore, Julia Nutter, Adrianna Powell, Jayla Sargent, Cory Shaw, Alyssa Sheets, Mya Trout.
National Honor Society
Bailey Bennett, Jenna Brammer, Destiny Dotson, Ian Eblin, Jordan Garrison, Chloe Gee, Josie Jones, Rachel Horner, Melinda Long, Isabella Moore, Julia Nutter, Adrianna Powell, Jayla Sargent.
BHCC National Technical Honor Society
Emily Barker, Seth McDonald, Ciara Sexton.
BHCC National Honor Society
Leah Higginbotham, Seth McDonald, Nathan Michael.
Bailey Bennett, Jenna Brammer, Madisyn Burd, Mattison Comer, Aaliyah Davison, Destiny Dotson, Bradyn Eblin, Cierra Franklin, Jordan Garrison, Chloe Gee, Rachel Horner, Logan Hunt, Josie Jones, Dylan Lemley, Melinda Long, Isabella Moore, Emilee Neekamp, Julia Nutter, Emily Perry, Adrianna Powell, Cierra Roberts, Jayla Sargent, Alyssa Sheets, Mya Trout.
STEM Honors Diploma
Julia Nutter, Social Studies. Isabella Moore, Science. Josie Jones, English. Jordan Garrison, Mathematics. Britani Hash, Visual Arts. Adrianna Powell, Foreign Language. Alyssa Sheets, Performing Arts.
Freshman Foundation Mentors
Bailey Bennett, Jenna Brammer, Destiny Dotson, Ian Eblin, Chloe Gee, Morgan Johnson, Josie Jones, Skylar Jones, Dylan Lemley, Caleb McKnight, Julia Nutter, Emily Perry, Mckayla Phoenix, Cierra Roberts.
Honored Seniors joining the United States Armed Forces
Alex Williams, United States Army. Kristopher Kennard, United States Marines.
National Beta Club
Bailey Bennett, Jenna Brammer, Kelsey Brown, Ethan Browning, Destiny Dotson, Ian Eblin, Cole Franklin, Jordan Garrison, Chloe Gee, Britani Hash, Josie Jones, Dylan Lemley, Melinda Long, Caleb McKnight, Andrew Mershon, Isabella Moore, Ashley Morris, Emilee Neekamp, Julia Nutter, Emily Perry, Adrianna Powell, Jade Roush, Allivia Runyon, Jayla Sargent, Abigail Stout, Alexis Stout, Rory Twyman, Alex Williams.
Those receiving diplomas in the River Valley Class of 2019 are:
Cheyanne Marie Allman, Avery Elizabeth Barcus, Emily Rose Barker, Christopher Allen Bays, II, Jonathan Wyatt Bays, Austin Scott James Beaver, Bailey Elizabeth Bennett, George Block, Alexander Wray Bluhm, Trinity Ali Boggess, Jenna Kay Brammer, Brantley Thomas Brown, Kelsey Amanda Brown, Baylee Jordan Ryann Browning, Ethan Joseph Browning, Madisyn Paige Burd, Joseph Douglas Burns, Jason Raymond Cain, Lindsey Lynn Call, Andrew Taishon Carpenter, Mattison Paige Comer, Andrew Michael Compston, Adrianna Lynn Cox, Justin Tyme Crom, Tristen Scott Crouse, Brittney Nicole Davis, Aaliyah Marie Davison, Katelynn Diana Dement, Dakota Vandeline Doss, Destiny Nicole Dotson, Bradyn Michael Eblin, Ian Grey Eblin, Jacob Wyatt Edwards, Hannah May Estep, Layne Christopher Fitch, Adrianna Christian Renee Fox-Day, Cierra A. J. Franklin, Cole Mitchell Franklin, Shyann Storm Marie Franklin, Jordan Alexis Garrison, Chloe Grace Gee, Dakota Jared Gilbert, Elizabeth Anne Gillman, Gabral Evan Gilmore, Wyatt Halfhill, Madison Claire Harrison, Britani Sierra Hash, Daniel Wallace Hatfield, Leah Marie Higginbotham, Baylee Nicole Hollanbaugh, Sarah Bernice Holcomb, Rachel Elizabeth Homer, Sierra Dawn Huffman, Dakota Bryce Hunt, Logan McKenzie Hunt, Derek T. Johnson, Gabrielle Nichole Johnson, Morgan Sidney Johnson, Josie Madelyn Jones, Skylar Danielle Jones, Zachary Dalton Jones.
Chase Kemper, Kristopher James Kennard, Shali Ann Kiser, Jack Charles Knox, Leigh Paige Larson, Destiny Renee Dawn Lemley, Dylan Michael Lemley, Julianna Alexis Lemley, Darian Paige Litchfield, Allison Ilene Long, Brooke Aubrey Long, Melinda Sue Long, Mary Frances Lyons, McKenzie Laine Martin, Madison Bailey McClure, Billy E. McCombs, Seth Thomas McDonald, Caleb Andrew McKnight, Andrew Rayn Mershon, Nathan Dennis Michael. Isabella Maria Moore, Ashley Marie Morris, Myles Jaquan Morrison, Emilee Nicole Kneekamp, Julia Paige Nutter, Rakia Dalilah Penick, Cherika Cheyanne Pennington, Emily Dawn Perry, Hallie Ray Lynn Perry, Bailey Alexis Petrie, Mckayla Ivabeth Phoenix, Kabria Mae Pleasant, Adrianna Hope Powell, Rachel Danielle Reynolds, Cierra Alexis Roberts, Jade A. Roush, Allivia Renee Runyon, Chassidy Michelle Rupe, Rikki Jayla Sargent, Ciara Nichole Sexton. Corey Xavier Shaw, Alyssa Gayle Sheets, Eric Chase Shriver, Joshua Riley Shriver, Bryce Thomas Simpson, Trevor Shane Simpson, Alex Benjamin Slone, Kiara Rene Smallwood, Andrea Jade Snyder, James Matthew Allen Spaulding, Abigail Dawn Stout, Alexis Jade Stout, Seth Matthew Swords, Alana Marie Taylor, Alyssa Thomas, Reece Dalton Thomas, Mya Korin Trout, Andrew Michael Tucker, Rory Lee Twyman, Ty Vincent VanSickle, Eric Michael Weber, Alex Eduardo Williams, Tyler Anthony Wilson Woodrow, Susanna Rose Workman, Bethany Danielle Wray, Breanna Michelle Yates.
After the presentation of diplomas, Class President and Co-Valedictorian Julia Nutter then gave the class presentation followed by the “Alma Mater” performed by the Phoenix Show Choir.
Also in attendance, members from the Gallia County Local Schools Board of Education, Gallia-Vinton Education Service Center, Buckeye Hills Career Center, faculty and staff from RVHS.
More photos from graduation appear online at www.mydailytribune.com.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.