What do you get when you have 20 Miller Grove High School seniors, 300 of their family and friends, three guest speakers and two foreign exchange students, all in one gymnasium? Give up? Answer: It’s the longest high school graduation Miller Grove has ever seen! And I don’t say that in a negative way. Some have said it was the most special and touching graduation in years. I would have to say it was a very appropriate way to end a special year for the school.
The night started with a mishap or two and the commencement exercises were 15 minutes late starting, but I don’t think anyone was complaining. The graduates were ushered in by juniors Neida Resendiz, Colten Baylus, Holly Miller and Dylan Sims. Alex Craze opened the ceremony by giving an invocation and then Cayle Watson give the Salutatory Address.
Jena Burns announced the first speaker of the night, Mrs. Kim Irby. Now, would you believe that Mrs. Irby busted into song again this year? Referring to the seniors she sang “I like ‘em, I love ‘em, I want some more of ‘em”. Then she explained how this particular class was very special to her, especially at the time in her life when her husband passed away. She shared a few examples of this class’ compassion and a few special memories that they had made with Mrs. Irby over the years.
Mareyna Gallegos stepped up to the podium and introduced the audience to the boys’ basketball coach, Gary Billingsley, who was slated second in the line up of school faculty to give an address. Mr. Billingsley also shared some of his favorite memories of the students and showed a short, but inspiring, film of a man who has no arms or legs but that didn’t stop him from living life.
Cayle Watson had the privilege of introducing his grandfather, Richard Watson, as the final speaker of the night. Mr. Watson gave the audience a glimpse into his every day life at school with the seniors by telling a few funny facts about each of them. You have time to develop several stories about the kids after you are in contact with most of them on a daily basis for all four years of their high school career, especially the ones that have more than one of Mr. Watson’s agriculture classes a day. Mr. Watson ended his speech by telling everyone that the old saying, “Beauty and Brains skip a generation,” was proven without a shadow of a doubt in his family. He said that his grandson, Cayle, got his brains from him and his good looks from his grandmother, and Cayle’s dad (Shane Watson) was left out in the cold.
Mrs. Irby presented scholarships to several deserving students. Lewis Russell of the Cumby Telephone Board was lucky enough to get to hand out scholarships to all four Miller Grove students that applied for the scholarship this year. Tim Heijligers was the recipient of the Masonic scholarship, presented by Davy Moseley. Andrew Steele, Tim and Kaitlynn George were all recipients of scholarships from the Miller Grove School Scholarship Fund. Cayle Watson and Alex Craze each received funds from Miller Grove PTO. Brooke Bailey was brought to tears when it was announced that Mary Bonham committed to pay for Brooke’s full 4 years of education as a student at Texas A&M University in Commerce. Other scholarships were awarded by Professional Land and Title in Sulphur Springs, Paris Junior College, Miller Grove Volunteer Fire Department, U.T. Tyler, and Texas A&M-Commerce. Alex Craze was also presented with a plaque for never missing a single day of school through all 13 years of being a student at Miller Grove.
After receiving his medal, Andrew Steele gave his valedictory address and presented Coach Gary Billingsley with a scrapbook of information compiled over the last four years of Steele’s high school career.
Diplomas were handed to the graduates by our superintendent, Steve Johnson, and school board trustee Jim Potts. Foreign exchange students, Hege Melby and Rafaella Ramalho, were also recognized for the great addition their personalities added to this year’s graduating class.
The night was continued with Brooke Bailey giving Mr. Slatter a special retirement gift from the senior class and the students passing out roses to their family members while a slideshow of pictures taken over the last several years played in the background. Brooke gave the benediction and then the graduates threw their caps in the air to signify that they were finished with high school. All in all, this graduation seemed to be a huge success for this special group of graduates.
Eighth grade graduation was nice this year. The eighth graders asked Mr. Larry Slatter to speak at their graduation. He did a very nice job telling the students and parents how important the next four years of their life would be. Diplomas were handed out by Mr. Johnson and Blake Smith. Blake’s son, Aaron Smith, was the class salutatorian. Logan Miller was the class valedictorian. The junior high graduation was held in the new gym on Thursday, June 2.
I was so sorry to hear about the death of Tony Clem last Thursday. In fact, I had talked to Tommy Lynn Clem, his father, just that morning. Tony was in a motorcycle accident in Edgewood on June 2. His services were held today at 2 p.m. at Murray-Orwosky Funeral Home. Graveside services followed at Greenview Cemetery. He was born Tony Lee Clem on Aug. 17, 1963, in Greenville. Tony is survived by his parents, Tommy and Peggy Clem; brothers, Tracy and Tim Clem; three daughters; one son; and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one brother, Tommy Clem Jr. in 2008.
Happy birthday to Tracy Clem on June 3, Randy Ragan on June 5, Halston Potts on June 6, Austin Tipps and Lisa Oler on June 8, Freddie Stotts on June 10, and Joyce (May) Cox on June 11.
Happy 57th anniversary this week to Don and Jerri Petty. Their anniversary was on Sunday, June 5. Leslie and Mike Frobish will celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary on June 8.
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