Williamstown High’s Class of 2013 may not be the school’s largest, but the graduating class of 89 seniors has a lot to be proud of, according to WHS principal Pat Peters during the institution’s 104th commencement exercises Saturday.
“You came in as seventh-graders and have stayed the course,” he told the graduates. “Now you’re leaving Williamstown High as young adults who are already giving back to the community.”
Peters noted seven members of the graduating class are serving with the Williamstown and Waverly volunteer fire departments, and seven more are headed for active military service upon graduation.
“Out of 89 graduating seniors, 33 have been recognized with honors cords for grade point averages of 3.6 or higher, and 30 are members of the National Honor Society.”
In addition Peters said the class had obtained approximately $1.1 million in grants and scholarships for post-graduate education.
He urged the graduating class to stay in touch and know that they’re part of a much larger community of WHS grads
“Remember, you’ll always be a Yellowjacket, and yellowjackets tend to swarm together,” Peters said.
Graduate Carley Ellison gave math teacher, Ron Lathey a big hug prior to Saturday’s ceremonies.
“I have mixed emotions about graduation,” she said. “I’m kind of excited to be starting a new chapter in life, but I’ll probably miss high school.”
Ellison will be attending Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va., this fall on a volleyball scholarship, along with her best friend, Jessica Kerns.
Fellow graduate Anna Gibbs, who’s attending Ohio University in the fall as a journalism major, agreed with Ellison.
“Graduation Day is bittersweet,” she said. “But I think we all have a feeling of accomplishment.”
Alec McIntosh also used the term “bittersweet” to describe his feelings Saturday.
“It’s so surreal,” he said. “I’ve been with this class since we were in kindergarten. So I’m going to miss my friends. But I’ll be going to Marshall University in Huntington this fall to study graphic design and new media.”
Amanda Minear plans to attend West Virginia University at Parkersburg next fall, studying art and music.
“I’m fine with graduation,” she said. “I feel like my life really begins after this. And I’ll be getting an apartment with my friend-although we’ll probably be eating a lot of ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese.”
Another senior headed for WVU-Parkersburg is Zech Suprano.
“I’m pretty excited about going on to college to study criminal justice,” he said. “I’d like to eventually work my way up the ranks to become a detective.”
Class valedictorian Megan Steele will begin studies in petroleum engineering at Marietta College next fall.
“It seemed to be a logical choice for me,” she said. “I’ve become really interested in that field.”
Steele, too, had mixed feelings about leaving WHS.
“It’s a relief to be done with high school, but I know I’ll miss it,” she said.
Steele later gave her valedictorian address to the graduating class.
“Our class has been extremely close. but our future is here-it’s been a long time coming, and now we’re ready to take hold of it,” she said. “And I believe wherever we end up we will all leave our mark.”
Salutatorian Kathleen Cornell said the Class of 2013 “is one of the brightest to walk the halls of Williamstown High School.”
She noted the academic and athletic accomplishments of the class.
“But this is only the beginning of the rest of our lives,” Cornell said. “And remember, as Eleanor Roosevelt has said, ‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.'”