ROCKSPRINGS — On Friday, May 26, Tyler Shull will graduate from Meigs High School.
On the surface, this is a story just like that of any other teenager’s: graduate high school, go to college, begin life as an adult. Just like any other teenager, Shull’s family is proud of his accomplishment and tearful that their little boy has grown up. For Susie Soulsby, Shull’s grandmother, the love and the pride are also bittersweet.
Soulsby, widow of the late Meigs County Sherriff, Jim Soulsby, will be watching her last grandchild walk across the stage of a school that she and her husband supported for over 40 years. Shull will give the invocation that evening, and when he walks across the stage to receive his diploma, it will be given to him by his cousin, Travis Abbott, who is also principal of Meigs High School. MHS has seen two generations of Soulsby grandchildren since it opened its doors. Susie Soulsby Abbott graduated in 1972, Pat Soulsby in 1976, Jimmer Soulsby in 1978, and Cindy Soulsby Shull in 1986.
In the 64 years of their marriage, Jim and Susie attended every one of Meigs’ graduations, but it wasn’t until 1996 that the first of their grandchildren was among the graduates. Travis Abbott graduated that year, and went on to teach at the high school before becoming principal. Grant Abbott graduated in 2000, Carrie Abbott Chauncey in 2002, Shannon Soulsby in 2003, Casey Richardson in 2007, Devan Soulsby Brothers and Emily Fields in 2009. Other Soulsby grandchildren that graduated locally or in Athens County include Tara Soulsby (Nelsonville Christian Academy), Amanda Soulsby (Trimble High School), and Steven Soulsby (Eastern).
“I just thank God that he’s let me live long enough to see all of my grandchildren graduate. I’m so proud of all my grand kids and kids. God has been good and blessed them,” Soulsby said, adding that the best part is that almost all of her grandchildren live in Meigs County.
As a family, they’ve been involved with the school for over 40 years, both as athletes and working with the Athletic Boosters. Jim and Susie worked with the boosters and helped to run the concession stand; Jim was known as the Voice of the Marauders.
Meigs’ graduation is set for 8 p.m. at Meigs High School this Friday, May 26.
Jessica Marcum is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel