U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly was this year's guest speaker at the Austin High School graduation on Friday evening, May 27.
He complimented the Class of 2016's 80 seniors and their families on accomplishing the task of obtaining a high school education and urged all students to continue their efforts by going on to college or technical schools.
“I am extremely proud of these students and their hard work and dedication. This is an exciting time for the graduates, their families who supported them and for the teachers and administrators who helped them reach this point. These students are the future of their community and of our state, and I'm honored to join them in marking this special milestone in their lifetimes,” stated Senator Donnelly.
Seniors dressed in the traditional white and black gowns began the program by marching into the Lady Eagles Gym in pairs as the high school band performed processional music. Opening remarks were offered by class treasurer Matthew Shane Terry.
The choir sang “Do I Make You Proud?” under the direction of instructor Kathy Sego. The song featured soloists Jordan Hanner and Courtney Rachelle White, a senior.
Three student speakers addressed the gathering. Emily Ann Keller's topic was “Buckle Up!” “Dare to Mount the High Wire” was offered by Meagan Michelle Hollan, class secretary, and Elizabeth Elaine Lee completed the trio of talks by speaking on “Who We Are.”
Under the direction of instructor Jason Hougland, the AHS Band performed selections from “The Lion King,” the musical seen by seniors last fall in New York City during their senior trip.
Senior Arin Dakota Hupp introduced Senator Donnelly, who provided words of encouragement to the graduates and their families, and congratulated the class on its accomplishments and preparations for the future.
AHS Principal Ryan Herald introduced the Class of 2016. Superintendent Robert Anderson awarded each his diploma assisted by Dr. Joseph E. Wayne of Ivy Tech Community College. Nineteen of Austin's seniors earned associate degrees from Ivy Tech while finishing their high school credits this year.
Class president Kenton Eugene Embrey led classmates in the traditional ring and tassel ceremonies.
Closing remarks were made by Whitney Nichole Kendall.
The happy night was capped by seniors throwing their hats in the air, followed by congratulatory hugs from family members and friends.
Seniors had selected the class motto of “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” Their colors are royal blue and silver and their class flower is the gerbera daisy. “Seven Years” by Lucas Graham is the class song.
Class officers include Embrey as president; Stollings as vice president; Hollan as secretary; and Terry as treasurer. Class sponsors are Kelly Goodin and Tammy Rice.
Those seniors graduating with highest distinction for having maintained a 3.9 or higher grade point average (GPA) alphabetically included Kenton Eugene Embrey, Meagan Michelle Hollan, Whitney Nichole Kendall and Elizabeth Elaine Lee.
Those graduating with high distinction for maintaining GPAs of 3.7 to 3.899 were Larry Kenneth Couch, Riley Elizabeth Stollings and Shyanne Millicent Ellen Turner.
Seniors maintaining GPAs of 3.5 to 3.699 and thus graduating with distinction were Kayla Marie Blaylock, Kelsey M. Fortner, Joshua Marcus Allen Helton, Arin Dakota Hupp, Emily Ann Keller, Erika Nicole Nugent and Matthew Shane Terry.
Ivy Tech High School Academy graduates this spring were Mark Conner Wilson Adams, Mary Jane Campbell, Matthew Case Carter, Larry Kenneth Couch, Mary Elizabeth Derringer, Kenton Eugene Embrey, Kelsey M. Fortner, Joshua Marcus Allen Helton, Brittany Rheanna Henderson, Meagan Michelle Hollan, Cecile E. Hughes, Arin Dakota Hupp, Emily Ann Keller, Whitney Nichole Kendall, Elizabeth Elaine Lee, Jacob M. Newton, Riley Elizabeth Stollings, Sydney Lynn Surber and Matthew Shane Terry.
Ivy Tech Honors Diplomas were earned by Kyeshia M. Adams and Kayla Marie Blaylock.
Academic Honors Diplomas were awarded to Mary Jane Campbell, Matthew Case Carter, Larry Kenneth Couch, Mary Elizabeth Derringer, Kenton Eugene Embrey, Kelsey M. Fortner, Anthony Lee Hall, Bethanie Harbold, Joshua Marcus Allen Helton, Brittany Rheanna Henderson, Meagan Michelle Hollan, Arin Dakota Hupp, Emily Ann Keller, Whitney Nichole Kendall, Elizabeth Elaine Lee, Hailey Amanda Gail Misamore, Erika Nicole Nugent, Riley Elizabeth Stollings, Sydney Lynn Surber, Matthew Shane Terry and Shyanne Millicent Ellen Turner.
Students were also recognized for earning Core 40 diplomas, Work Ethic Certification, being members of the AHS Student Council, the National Tech Honors Society and AHS National Honor Society chapter.
The complete alphabetical listing of the 80 graduates is:
Kyeshia M. Adams, Mark Conner Wilson Adams, Brianna Marie Amos, Rachel AnnMarie Amos, Courtney Anderson, Jared Barger, Megan Nicole Baxter, Kayla Marie Blaylock, Lacey Jordan Bowling, Steven Anthony Bowling.
Austin Ray Brough, Kaitey Allison Brown, Kacie Lou Campbell, Mary Jane Campbell, Matthew Case Carter, Nathaniel Lewis Chew, Dalton Wayne Church, Jade Alexis Clay, Jason Scott Cole II, Patrick W. Combs.
Adam Kendall Cornette, Larry Kenneth Couch, Sean Christopher Cullen, Mary Elizabeth Derringer, Kenton Eugene Embrey, Devon Emerson, Kelsey M. Fortner, Kala Ann Goodman, Anthony Lee Hall, James Matthew Hall.
Jared D. Hanner, Bethanie Harbold, Destiny Nicole Helton, Joshua Marcus Allen Helton, Brittany Rheanna Henderson, Stephen William Scott Hill, Meagan Michelle Hollan, Cecile E. Hughes, Arin Dakota Hupp, Logan Tyler Hutchens.
Quincy B. Jeffries, Kendra Michele Jenkins, Jacob Thomas Jennings, David T. Jessup, Matthew G. Johnson, Cheyenne Danielle Jordan, Dylan Micheal Keith, Emily Ann Keller, Whitney Nichole Kendall, Mika Lee Scott Killey.
Elizabeth Elaine Lee, Veronica Michelle McCall, Hailey Amanda Gail Misamore, Lexie Morris, Isaac Dwayne Mullins, Melissa Marie Mullins, Ethan R. Napier, Jacob M. Newton, Robert Noble, Erika Nicole Nugent.
Abigail Lynn Pinnick, Adryane M. Richie, Dakota Bradley Riley, Lauren Rachelle Salyers, Tim Lynn Sandlin, Jaylee Marie Smith, Joseph Foster Stanbary, Brooke Kristina Stanley, Riley Elizabeth Stollings, Sydney Lynn Surber.
Matthew Shane Terry, Angeliquca Eline Tompkins, Emily Nicole Turner, Shyanne Millicent Ellen Turner, Perry Vincent, Andrew Todd Weddle, Jessica Leslie Renae Wells, Brady D. White, Courtney Rachelle White and Matthew Ryan Young.
The televised version of the evening was provided by staff of Scottcounty.tv.