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La Harpe Junior High graduated 27 students at Eighth Grade Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 17. The 6th and 7th grade Concert Band performed the processional "Pomp and Circumstance" under the direction of Mrs. Mencel.
The American Legion Post 301 presented the Colors, followed by the recitation of the "Pledge of Allegiance by the graduates and audience members. Chloe Ravenscraft delivered the invocation to open the evening's ceremony.
Dr. Jo Campbell welcomed the graduates and their families, faculty, staff and friends of the graduates in his "final graduation speech", as Dr. Campbell is retiring at the end of this school year. In his speech, Dr. Campbell asked the graduates to think about this statement: The Way You Do One Thing Is The Way You Do Everything. The old Chinese proverb struck a chord with Dr. Campbell one night as he was watching a television show. This proverb was referenced when a scientist made an error in the lab, thus ruining an important evidence specimen. The technician explained to his boss that it wouldn't happen again. The boss replied, "The Way You Do One Thing Is The Way You Do Everything" The underlying meaning was, perhaps now is the time to break old patterns and set new standards for yourself. Perhaps now is the time to start to realize that every action you take, every word you speak, or every decision you make contributes to the life you choose to live. Dr. Campbell conceded that it would be overwhelming to think of all the areas one might have to change in order for that Chinese proverb to hold true. Quoting characters in the movie City Slickers, when Mitch asks Curly what the secret of life is, Curly responds with one finger held high and replies, "One Thing. Just One Thing. ... You stick to that, and the rest doesn't matter" When asked what that one thing was, Curly replied, "The One Thing is what you have to find out" Many of the graduates will search for that One Thing for quite some time. Many have found that One Thing in their life that is most important. They should hold on to it and cherish it. For those who have not found that One Thing, in the words of former NC State basketball coach Jimmy Valvano, "never give up, don't ever give up" the search. Persevere, be strong, and one day, you will all have that One Thing that means Everything to you.
The Junior High Chorus then sang the Bruno Mars song, "Count on Me" which was followed to the presentation of academic awards. The first award for top grade point average based on all three years of junior high was awarded to Maddie Finch, daughter of Jason and Carrie Finch. The next highest GPA Award went to Katlyn Pollock, daughter of Mike and Angela Pollock.
The President's Award for Academic Excellence is awarded to the top students who maintain a GPA of between 3.5 and 4.0 in grades 6 through 8. The following 12 students received certificates for the President's Award:
Brady Adkisson, Joe Adkisson, Jonah Burt, Colby Claassen, Maddie Finch,, Jagar Finley, , Caitlyn Loving, Kevin Oliver, Katlyn Pollock, Keanna Steward, Aden Trout, and Julissa Willdrick. The next award was the American Legion Award presented by Legion member Darrell Kraft. This award is presented to the top male and female students picked by teachers, based on the following qualities:
Honor: Strength and stability of character, high standards of conduct, keen sense of what is right, adherence to truth and conscience, and devotion to duty and practice of clean speech.
Courage: Bravery in the face of opposition and danger, and grit to stand up what is right.
Scholarship: Scholastic attainment, evidence of industry, and application to studies.
Leadership: Ability to lead and accomplish through group action.
Service: Kindness, unselfishness, fellowship, protection of the weak, and promotion of interests and welfare of associates without hope of personal reward. This year's recipients of the American Legion Award were Maddie Finch and Brady Adkisson, son of Lance and Shawna Adkisson.
The Masonic Lodge Award of Excellence was presented by Mason member, Dr. Jo Campbell. The Masonic Lodge 195 award was given to the class member selected by faculty who met excellence with high moral standard, intelligence, compassion, perseverance and courtesy. This year's recipient was Kevin Oliver, son of Barbie Oliver, and grandson of Judy Oliver. .
Principal Lila McKeown presented the Class of 2017, and proceeded with the presentation of diplomas with board members, Bobi James and Dustin Detherage, The Colors were retired by American Legion Post 301. Kevin Oliver delivered the benediction, and the Recessional "Acclaim March" was played by the band, as the graduates left the gymnasium and retired to the receiving line in front of the school.
Graduation marshals were Hailey Blythe, Annie Sholl, Austin Torrence, and Jackson Porter
Because of emergency days used this winter, days were added to the calendar, so the students will continue to attend classes until school is dismissed on May 30. School will not be in session on Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day, . The eighth grade class will take their class trip to St. Louis on Tuesday, May 28 , but this will be a regular attendance day for all other students. Wednesday, May 29 will be teacher's institute, and Thursday, May 30 will be the final day for student attendance, with dismissal at 12:30.