By Rhonda Smyth, CV&T News Editor
With the sun burning down and beach balls floating among the blue-gowned students, the Estill County High School Class of 2009 graduated Sunday.
As the Estill County High School Band directed byJason Bowles played “Pomp and Circumstance,” the 157 seniors nearly danced as they entered the football field and made their way to their seats. Tears weren’t evident as they each appeared to enjoy the ceremony that ended their high school careers.
Class Vice-President Kayla Kirby gave the opening remarks and led the class in prayer.
The band played “Appalachian Morning” followed by a senior choral ensemble singing “I Hope You Dance.”
Director of Pupil Personnel Skip Johnson presented perfect attendance awards to Ben Benedict, son of Les and Joy Benedict for 12 years; Briton Estes, son of Willis Estes and Tammy Fox for 13 years and Neysa Kelly, daughter of Wayne and Tina Kelly for 13 years.
Assistant Principal Arthur Ballard introduced the salutatorian, Kristina Belcher.
“As we go our separate ways we should all try to make a difference and make decisions that are good for ourselves and that make us happy,” she said.
Kristina, who had perfect attendance for 11 years, is the daughter of Tony and Linda Belcher. She has been awarded an Eastern Kentucky Regents Scholarship for full tuition for four years. She also received the Olivia Jo Freeman Memorial Scholarship for $250; 4-H scholarship for $500; the H.T. and Doris Hardy 4-H scholarship and the Joe Ohr Kiwanis Community Service Award.
Principal Blain Click presented the three co-valedictorians. They are Sarah Hall, daughter of Jerry and Kim Hall, Kelsey Meade, daughter of Perry and Penny Meade and Shelby Rader, daughter of Gerald and Susan Rader.
He explained that none of them had every made a B in all their years of schooling and had taken every honors classes the high school offered.
Sarah spoke first and told her classmates that they were now graduating into the real world.
She is the recipient of an Eastern Kentucky University Beacons Full Scholarship, D&J True Value Hardware Scholarship, Estill County Soil Conservation Scholarship, and a Fox 56/National College/ Hardee’s Making the Grade Award.
Kelsey said that she was honored to have shared her four years at Estill High with her classmates.
“When we were freshmen, the high school seemed so big and there were so many unknowns,” she said. “Now we have grown and gained some independence.”
Kelsey received the Transylvania University William T. Young Scholarship; Bellarmine University Monsignor Horrigan Scholarship; the University of Kentucky Presidential Scholarship and the U. S. Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award.
Shelby finished her last two years of high school at the Gatton Academy at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.
Click said she was an honor gradaute of the Gatton Academy and maintatined a grade point average of 4.55 while amassing 75 hours of college credit with a grade point average of 3.9 at that level. She also performed 60 hours of community service. She will enter Western in the fall as a second semester junior.
“We’ve all been through a lot and have all done a lot of memorable things in high school,” she said. “It taught us a lot about ourselves. Now we must find out place in the world.”
Shelby’s Western Kentucky University Scholarship is for full tuition, housing, books and meal plan. She also received the U. S. Army Reserve National Scholar/Athlete Award; the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Research School, full tuition, room and board; Vanderbilt University Admittance Scholarship; Duke University Admittance Scholarship; WKU CST Research scholarship ($3,000) and the Gatton Academy Community Service Award.
After Superintendant Bert Hensley presented the class their diplomas, Class President Charles Young gave the charge to the class saying,” Don’t worry” and “I love you everyone.”
Closing remarks were made by Class Secretary Lezley Cole after which Click presented the class. They then changed their tassles to the graduate side of their caps and tossed them in the air.