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Jefferson students graduate

By Staff | May 25, 2018

Toni Milbourne/Chronicle Chance Manes, class secretary, emphasizes the importance of high school memories during his speech at the commencement ceremony.

Members of Jefferson High School’s Class of 2018 closed the book on this chapter of their education as 290 students walked across the stage at Shepherd University’s Butcher Center during Sunday evening commencement exercises.

Each speaker who stood before the graduates expanded on the day’s theme, sharing memories. Each of the class officers – President Bobby Gianniny, Vice President Olivia Black, Secretary Chance Manes, Treasurer Jordan Phillips and Historian Carina Snook – spoke about memories of their high school years.

Phillips likened her high school career to a treasure chest now filled with memories.

“Remember those you have spent the last four years with, those who filled your days with sunshine,” Phillips said. She said her classmates should treasure not only the events they planned, but also the unexpected things that happened during their high school years.

Manes, in his remarks, told his classmates that, while they’ll likely never all been in the same place all together again, the memories of those who made going to school fun will remain.

Toni Milbourne/Chronicle Members of Jefferson High’s Class of 2018 wait for the presentation of diplomas at Sunday’s commencement ceremony in the Butcher Center.

“Memories are the one thing that stay with us forever,” Manes said.

Principal Sherry Fitzgerald carried on the theme, saying while she definitely didn’t remember anything the speakers at her own graduations – or even those of her children – said, what she did remember were the people.

In her speech, she evoked her own memories of those who meant so much to her along her life’s journey, encouraging the students to recognize that the friendships they’ve made along the way will hold places in their hearts and minds for years to come.

The Class of 2018 recognized one classmate, Ethan Gottlieb, by presenting him with the Class Scrapbook. Gottlieb was selected by his peers to receive the scrapbook due to his hard work and dedication throughout his high school career in serving his school, his peers and his community. He will attend the United States Naval Academy in the fall.

Additional highlights of Sunday evening’s ceremony included the singing of the National Anthem by students Trinity Gray and Madeline Pitcher. Senior members of the school’s chamber choir sang the school’s Alma Mater, ending with the words “I shall always remember my beloved Jefferson Days.”

The procession of graduates began first with the school’s National Honor Society officers, followed by the 53 additional members of the National Honor Society and then the remainder of the class.

Upon completion of the conferring of diplomas, Gianniny led the Class of 2018 in the turning of their tassels, and the former Jefferson students flung their mortarboards into the air with shouts of joy.

While the graduates look to the future, Phillips’ words during her speech emphasized the importance of taking a piece of Jefferson with them.

“Most of all, treasure yourself,” Phillips said. “Who you were, who you are and who you strive to be.”