Beautiful summer weather highlights graduation for the class of 2010

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Graduation Day for the 97 members of the Switzerland County High School graduating class of 2010 was nearly picture perfect on Sunday, with sunny skies and warm weather greeting class members and family and friends who turned out for the graduation ceremony.

After the Switzerland County High School band played “The National Anthem”; the processional of administrators, faculty, and graduates began into the gym.

Shayla Smith, class secretary, led the class and audience in the “Pledge of Allegiance”; and valedictorian Laura Findley welcomed everyone to the commencement program. Valedictorian Kayla Keith then introduced honored guests in attendance, and Angela Swanson, class vice president, introduced this year’s Baccalaureate speaker, Patrick Lanman, pastor of Olive Branch Baptist Church.

His remarks were followed by a prayer of invocation, led by class treasurer Maggie Armstrong.

Director of Guidance Marla Edwards then presented recognition of academic honors, and she also introduced the Southeastern Career Center Honor Society. Librarian Virginia Reeves, who is retiring this year, recognized the members of the National Honor Society; and Bradley Street of the Southeastern Career Center presented Technical Honors recognition to graduates of his programs.

Retiring teacher Kathy Williams then introduced the Top 10 Seniors, and each was presented with a medallion by retiring teacher Ann Roller.

Jamie Phipps was this year’s Salutatorian; while there were six Valedictorians: Danielle Ballard, Ariel Clark, Laura Findley, Caitlin Hale, Kayla Keith, Carrie Truax.

Student addresses then followed, with speaker Carrie Truax being introduced by teacher Erin Gerth. Carrie used music in her speech to amplify the message of seizing life’s moments to her classmates.

Valedictorian Danielle Ballard was then introduced by math teacher Pam Jones. She spoke of the influence that her mother had in her life and in her education; creating a “circle of life” with her words, speaking about her first day of school and then moving forward to her graduation day.

With student speeches concluded, Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Jones then certified the class. Diplomas were presented by Superintendent Jones and Jim Phipps, President of the Switzerland County School Board of Trustees.

Following the presentation of diplomas, class salutatorian Jamie Phipps presented a tribute to deceased classmates Ashley Lynn Walden and Dillon Wayne Henry. Superintendent Jones then placed their diplomas on ceremonial empty chairs in front of the graduating class.

That was followed by a “Song of Tribute” performed by class member Chaithy Compton, accompanied by her father, Doug Compton. Making the song more poignant was that Chaithy Compton had unexpectedly lost her grandfather, Huey Martin, earlier on graduation day.

The benediction was given by valedictorian Caitlin Hale; and Ariel Clark, class president and valedictorian, led her class in the turning of tassels.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, celebratory graduates tossed cereal into the air and gave hugs to their classmates before leaving the gymnasium.

Graduates then met family members and friends in front of the school.