The Pulaski County High School (PCHS) class of 2014 made the transitional walk towards the future Friday night as they walked across the stage onto greater horizons.
Families gathered in the stands of PCHS’ football stadium to watch the 331-student class mark the end of their high school careers. The ceremony started at 8 p.m. with opening remarks from Principal Joe Reed, giving way to the class of 2014’s entrance onto the field from up the hill, and marked by the PCHS marshals who stood in a special formation as the graduates entered and took their seats.
Following a performance of The Star-Spangled Banner by the PCHS Senior Ensemble, Joe Reed returned to the podium to name Erin Hamric as the Most Valuable Cougar for the class of 2014. PCHS Superintendent Tom Brewster stepped up to address the crowd shortly thereafter, recognizing members of the PCHS School Board that were present at the commencement ceremony, as well as members from the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors.
Carolyn Clary approached the podium as the ceremony’s first commencement speaker.
“There will never be a perfect speech, perfection is a misconception,” said Clary. “But I can give the best advice possible, and do my best to inspire each and every one of you.”
In her speech, Clary delivered that advice, inspiring her peers to go forth after making it to the end of their high school careers.
“As we go on to bigger and better things, I ask you to take these words to your heart, and go with your head held high, with a smile on your face, and a mindset that everything will turn out the way it is meant to,” said Clary.
Hamric came up as the ceremony’s second commencement speaker, highlighting the experiences she and the rest of the class of 2014 have gone through together over the years. In a humorous, yet insightful twist to her speech, Hamric referred back to Kindergarten ideals that can apply to the adult life the graduates are facing ahead, including remembering to share, saying sorry when hurting others, and living a balanced life.
“Learn, think, draw, paint, sing, dance, play and work some every day,” said Hamric. “Studying and working hard is great, and she be done every day, but realize as humans we all have limits. Too much of one thing can be harmful, even playing, so have the best of multiple worlds, not just the best of two worlds.”
The class of 2014 will face several different avenues for their future, as 25 percent of the graduates will attend four year colleges and universities, 60 percent will attend community and junior colleges, three percent will enter the military, and 12 percent will enter the workforce. Many of the seniors were distinguished academically, as 61 members of the class graduated with honors, and 108 members of the class of 2014 received college scholarships with a combined award total of one $1 million.
Although ominous clouds hung in the distance and heavy winds occasionally blew through, the potential threat of a thunderstorm only teased the hour-long ceremony, and never dampened the celebration. At the end of the ceremony, Brewster stepped up to the podium once more to declare the class of 2014 official graduates of Pulaski County High School, as the seniors sprayed silly string into the air to commemorate the end of their journey.