The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner
Seventy-eight eighth graders strolled down the aisles to the familiar Pomp & Circumstances played by Mrs. Barbara Gray, inside a packed gymnasium Thursday, May 20. The happy occasion was the promotion ceremony for the Class of 2014 at the West Central Middle School.
A warm welcome was given by Middle School Principal Mr Jeff Nichols, who also reminded cell phone users, to mute or turn them off.
Three members of the Boy Scouts of America, Tyler Cox, Dylan Eldridge, and Michael Jacobs, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States.
Twin sons of Mr. and Mrs. Kirk Lewis of Gladstone, Thomas and Andrew Lewis gave the 8th grade welcome from their classmates, adding some humor.
Mr. Nichols awarded the Good Citizenship Awards to Sydney Bigger, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Barry (Jodi) Bigger of Media, and to Caleb Paulus, son of Mr. and Mrs. John (Debbie) Paulus of Biggsville.
Sydney Bigger then addressed the audience as Student Council President.
"Wow, time flies by fast when you are having fun." she said, after reminding classmates that they were two-thirds done with their education.
"We have attended one thousand five hundred forty-eight days of class, but only have 528 days left."
Sydney was going to talk about the uniqueness of classmates or some of the many talents they possess, but "you already know that," she said.
"We sometimes forget to thank the people that helped to make all of this possible," she concluded, "our teachers, coaches, parents, and all of the adults who influence us and set examples for us to follow."
Sydney said, "But we aren't here to list all of the people who make a difference in our lives, or to educate everyone on the uniqueness of everyone of my peers or to tell you how committed they are to their academics and athletics, as well as organizations inside and outside of school, or to inform you of the records that they have set in all activities that they participate in.
"We aren't here to walk down memory lane, or to look back at the mistakes we have made."
Sydney concluded tonight was to congratulate everyone on their promotion to high school, "only 528 days left" until their 2014 graduation, "our year to shine and to stand on top of the world!"
"When we leave here:we will no longer be boys and girls:but suggests, "soon to be leaders in our high school and our communities."
Sydney wished "congratulations to the class of 2014" and "success down the road, along with academic excellence, athletic dedication, and the ability to triumph over all of your challenges in your future."
The ABCs of class memories were given by Catlyn Nichols and Caleb Paulus.
Students heard about everything from Braces, Drama, and Energetic teachers and Floods, to Two sets of twins, Unusual-Unique, X-rays, and Zoo, saying teachers probably "wished we had cages."
Members of the 8th grade chorus sang "Like An Eagle" directed by Mrs. Joanne Hilligoss, accompanied by Mrs. Barb Gray.
Perfect attendance was announced by Supt. Ralph Grimm: Catlyn Nichols who had nine consecutive years of perfect attendance, Austin Schneider with two consecutive years, and one year: Emma Alexander, Monica Brooks, Andrew Lewis, Thomas Lewis, Joshua Mynatt, and Sierra Smith.
Straight A recognition was made by Mr. Nichols to:
Emma Alexander, Brad Bavery, Sydney Bigger, Andrew Lewis, Thomas Lewis, Alexi Licata, Catlyn Nichols, Katie Robertson, Jenna Schaley, Anna Stevenson, Angelica Strack, and Haley Willits.
Before the presentation of certificates, Mr. Nichols addressed the class of which his daughter Catlyn is a member.
"This is a class of high achieving, highly motivated students who possess a great deal of potential," he said.
"They have demonstrated their abilities through their achievements in scholastics, fine arts, athletics, and how they have represented the Middle School." Away or at home, Nichols said he has had many positive comments about them and their behavior.
Nichols told the class that they have occasionally heard, "It's not about you," but he said, the next four years is All About You! He encouraged them to zero in on their dreams, then he said, it is all about YOU making good decisions and choices to shape their own futures.
Nichols challenged them to not be afraid to refuse to go along with the crowd or the status quo if it doesn't help you reach your goals.
"Every decision you make should be based on what will help You."
Nichols told them when they hit a crossroad, pick the road that will help them achieve. And, he said, "Do the right thing:even when nobody is looking.
"We have had some students accomplish some remarkable things during their years at West Central High School and beyond. Follow their lead...as a guide to your success."