The next step: South Gallia Class of 2019

By Dean Wright -

South Gallia’s Class of 2019 takes some last moments to listen to teachers and administrators.

South Gallia’s Class of 2019 takes some last moments to listen to teachers and administrators.

Dean Wright | OVP

Dr. Danielle Merry-Sperry addresses graduating seniors as a South Gallia alumna.

Dean Wright | OVP

MERCERVILLE — As another school year closes, South Gallia High School students said goodbye Saturday to their alma mater as they took their last steps as seniors before entering the world as graduates and adults.

The South Gallia High School Band played the traditional Pomp and Circumstance song. SGHS Principal Bray Shamblin welcomed the assembled and VFW 4464 Honor Guard presented the colors. The SGHS Band led the Star-Spangled Banner and Tristan Fox led the Pledge of Allegiance. Chad Bostic gave the day’s invocation.

“We’re delighted that you’re here to honor and celebrate the commitment and fruition of our students’ achievements,” said Shamblin to the crowd. “I’d also be remiss if I didn’t recognize you as parents and guardians, family members and community members for your tireless support and dedication to ensure the success of our students throughout the last years of high school…Today is a day of celebration of all the students, our teachers, our staff and our school. It is wonderful to look and observe among you that positive energy that comes with graduation day. I’m excited for what the future holds for each and every one of you and what you’re going to do from this day forward because you have the potential to be all that you want to be.”

Shamblin welcomed honored guests and gave remarks before inviting Gallia County Local Schools Superintendent Jude Meyers to speak.

“We would like to congratulate the Class of 2019,” said Meyers to graduating seniors. “We’ve watched you grow up. Whether it be in Beta Club, in History Club, on the field or in the classroom, you have excelled and are exceptional. Within the next hour this will probably be the last time you meet like this. So enjoy this day. Thank those people who helped bring you to this point in time, and on behalf of everyone on this stage, staff, community and friends, we wish you the best going forward and congratulations, Class of 2019.”

The salutatorian and co-valedictorians were next invited to speak.

“My last two years of high school brought difficult times. I dealt with several close deaths and being overworked at my job,” said Salutatorian Autumn Cook. “The point is I am standing here today speaking to you because my family, friends and teachers have helped me overcome setbacks for the past four years so that I could reach success. All that each of us has went through during our high school years has shaped us into the young, distinguished graduates we are today. If doubt ever seeks you in your future, I hope you remember this day, the day we walked across this stage despite the doubts, roadblocks and tough decisions that were thrown at you.”

“Even though this graduation is all about the Class of 2019,” said Valedictorian Jessica Luther,” and all of our great achievements that we should take pride in, we didn’t make it this far on our own. Even at our lowest parts thus far in life, we always had one person standing in our corner cheering us on. This speech is for them. This speech is for the parents, grandparents, guardians, family, friends and silent supporters of the Class of 2019. Without all of you and the gracious abilities God has given us, we would not be be sitting in the seats we are today.”

“We all have something that we’re passionate about and put effort in,” said Valedictorian Nickole Beaver. “So, Class of 2019, dedicate yourself to something that will make a positive influence on your path through life. Let the path you lead be steered by your own thoughts, opinions and actions, not by others. Stay on your path because the journey never ends. Travel the path by making decisions that leave a legacy you wish to see. Leave a legacy in your family, community and world that you believe in.”

Dafney Davis invited South Gallia Alumna and keynote speaker Dr. Danielle Merry-Sperry to speak. She currently serves as a pediatric resident at Charleston’s Women and Children’s Hospital.

Merry-Sperry said that despite ongoing health issues, she was able to earn her residency position as she continues in her medical career.

“Class of 2019, I tell you this because in our caps and gowns we all look the same,” said Merry-Sperry, “but we are much more alike than we are different. Each of you deep down have a dream. Some of you may be unusual like me and know from the time that you can speak. Others will take a longer road and that’s okay. There is only one life and it is up to you what you choose to do from this day forward. No one is going to point you in the right direction. For some of you, your dream might require a college education like me. Others will need time exploring after high school to really figure out where your true passion lies. Maybe you’re living your dream right now. The true definition of success is whether or not you choose to follow that dream or if you let life decide the path for you. It would be so simple to become complacent or to accept your current circumstances, but a rewarding life is one that you love.”

Scholarship awards were read by Michelle Riffe and followed by the presentation of diplomas.

Chad Bostic led the changing of the tassels and Tristan Janey led the benediction.

Following are the graduating seniors of South Gallia High School’s Class of 2019:

Adam James Addis, Nickole Alexis Beaver, Gavin Andru Lee Bevan, Chad Michael Bostic, Jessica Lynn Boyd, Amanda Louise Bryant, Jeena Dawn Caldwell, Maria Leeann Calhoun, Shaylee Marie Callicoat, Raymond Nathaniel, Frances Cochran, Timothy Jay Cochran, Rachal Elizabeth Colburn, Allie Jane Cook, Autumn Rain Cook, Samuel Austin Cudd, Tanner O’dell Dennison, Merrill Richard Eli Ellis, Bryceton Lee Folden, Cameron Joseph Fortner, Tristan Cole Fox, Michael Todd Alan Grover, Braxton Alexander Hardy, James Michael Harrison, Nicholas Ryan Hicks, Tristan Lee Janey, Jasper Ryan Johnson, Natasha Marie Little, Jessica Brooke Luther, Zachary Tyler Meade, Bryce Nathaniel Nolan, Ryan Jeffrey Randolph, Wyatt Lee Rapp, Nicholas Chase Ratcliff, Austin Cody Rodgers, Jayden Nicole Rogers, Garrett Bradley Saunders, Isabella Rose Shafer, Courtney Rana Shaw, Cody Williams Shorts, Ethan Trey Smith, Jacob Tyler Stanley, David Matthew Taylor, Bailey Hope Walter, Tierra Nichole Waugh, Christopher Scott Williams, Aaron Jacob Woodall.

South Gallia’s Class of 2019 takes some last moments to listen to teachers and administrators. Gallia’s Class of 2019 takes some last moments to listen to teachers and administrators. Dean Wright | OVP

Dr. Danielle Merry-Sperry addresses graduating seniors as a South Gallia alumna. Danielle Merry-Sperry addresses graduating seniors as a South Gallia alumna. Dean Wright | OVP

By Dean Wright