Toward the Future
Shepherd University’s Butcher Center was the venue of the final walk for nearly 350 seniors at Jefferson High School. The students gathered at 10 a.m. on May 20 for commencement ceremonies where they were recognized for academic honors as they received their diplomas.
Principal Sherri McCall Ross commended the class for their hard work over the past four years, especially with the many changes at Jefferson during their tenure. The students, during those four years, were led by three different full-time principals as well as two interim principals, which led to many policy changes depending upon who was in the leadership role. Ross congratulated the group for their perseverance despite the many changes.
Of the 347 graduates, 75 percent of those have enrolled at an institute of higher education, with 76 percent of those students moving forward in their education at West Virginia schools to study everything from music education to law. Several students will move on to serve in the United States Armed Forces in a variety of branches.
The tradition of offering a gift to the school saw the Class of 2017 providing parking direction signage for the front of the school as well as new cafeteria tables to accommodate future students.
Class colors were Jefferson’s maroon and gold while the class flower selection was the Gerbera daisy. The class chose as their song, “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. The school’s concert choir performed the song along with members of the senior class.
As proud family members prepared to cheer on their particular graduate, officers of the Class of 2017 shared memories of the four years, including earlier memories from elementary school with their peers. Sharing laughter and a few tears, the student speakers commended several staffers by name, particularly senior class advisor Linda Jones. The class scrapbook was presented to senior Sam Craig, who received a long round of applause from his classmates.
As the procession began to receive diplomas, shouts from the bleachers of Butcher stadium were heard as each student made the walk across to shake the hand of Principal Ross to receive their diplomas. As the last student came back to his seat, the class rose to perform the ceremonial turning of the tassel. As the first notes of the recessional began to play, caps were tossed into the air and quickly gathered to exit the building.
On the lawn, tears and laughter were common as friends – many for more than the four high school years – said their official goodbyes to Jefferson County schools and to each other. Their dreams are limitless and their plans are many.
The class chose as their class quote words from the late Robin Williams, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
The Jefferson High School Class of 2017 are now on their way to making those changes.