ROCKSPRINGS — “In the face of the void, or any challenge, you can choose joy and meaning,” said Meigs High School Class of 2020 Valedictorian Austin Wesley Mahr.
Mahr and Salutatorian Jacob Thomas McConnell addressed the Meigs High School Class of 2020 during the graduation ceremony broadcast online Friday evening during the originally scheduled graduation time.
“Today is a turning point in all of our lives. As you walked across the stage, there was to be a full crowd clapping for you and your fellow classmates were not present. Do not let that take away from your accomplishments. Do not let that stifle your Meigs Pride. Every person in this area, Ohio, and the entire nation feels for you and is proud of you,” said Mahr.
Mahr spoke of the memories made with his classmates over the past four years at Meigs High School, noting that the class will share a bond unlike any other as they move on to the future.
“Today is not just a day of reminiscing on the moments of the past; it is a day that will propel us forward into our adult lives. … We have come to the end of a chapter, and now, we must turn the page. Find the beauty of life and appreciate it,” said Mahr.
Mahr thanked all of those at Meigs Local who have helped the Class of 2020 along the way.
“You do not receive much recognition for your hard work, but you all continuously do your best to make Meigs Local a safe and positive place for kids to begin their educational careers,” said Mahr of the administration.
“As we go our own ways, we will make new friends and learn new things. We will be faced with decisions that shape our future and challenges that will test our wills. The Meigs High School Class of 2020 will go on to be engineers, mechanics, doctors, nurses, scientists, politicians, veterans, and many more. I know that each member of this class will follow their dreams in order to contribute to the fabric of society and be successful. Class of 2020, find your passion and embrace it,” said the Valedictorian.
Mahr concluded with the quote for his fellow classmates. “‘In the face of the void, or any challenge, you can choose joy and meaning.’ Choose joy wherever life takes you. Love one another as if there is no tomorrow. Find happiness in whatever you do because life is too short to not enjoy it. Don’t look back and regret, my friends; look forward and smile,” said Mahr.
In his address, Salutatorian McConnell spoke about how graduation is a turning point in the lives of the Class of 2020.
“Today marks a turning point in all of our lives. We will be leaving the old and will be given the opportunity to venture into the new and unexpected. Upon this turning point I urge all of you to try something new and push yourselves to accomplish more and be better,” said McConnell. “Regardless of if we are going to college, joining the work force, or joining the military, we all have the potential for greatness. Push yourself to the limit and strive for greatness. Everyone has the ability to do this. You choose who you want to be and who you will be. Unlocking your full potential depends on the choices you make.”
McConnell said that when looking for a senior quote his father assisted with coming up with one.
“He said, ‘Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from getting in the ring,’” said McConnell. “I believe in this and I hope that each and every one of you live by this. Everyone here has potential to be great, to forever be remembered as an outstanding person,” said McConnell.
When faced with a choice or decision, McConnell said he often asks himself “what is the worst that will happen if I try?”
“No one likes failing, but failure is the only way that we learn. When Thomas Edison made the light bulb, it took him over 10,000 attempts, and when asked about those 10,000 attempts, he merely said, ‘I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that won’t work’,” said McConnell.
McConnell’s final piece of advice to his fellow graduates was that they do not have to go into the future alone.
“While I hope that each and every one of you go on to live out your dreams and achieve greatness, you don’t have to go it alone. It will be hard to unlock and utilize your full potential and that’s where others come in and help. Don’t be afraid to seek help from your friends and family. Most everyone will be very willing to help you and will be glad to see you trying to be better,” said McConnell.
The video, filmed and put together by Bartee Photography, included the addresses by Mahr and McConnell; Pledge of Allegiance by Augustus Kennedy; Invocation by Cory Cox; a welcome by Mahr; and Benediction by Kassandra Coleman.
The video began with a walk through the halls of Meigs High School following Mahr and McConnell as they made one final walk through as MHS students. Members of the Board of Education then gave a brief introduction explaining the reason for the virtual ceremony to honor the class of 2020.
Augustus Kennedy, class treasurer, introduced the members of the board of education, administrators and the Class of 2020 honorarians.
The honorarians for the Meigs High School Class of 2020 are Valedictorian Austin Mahr, Salutatorian Jacob McConnell, Robert Musser, Augustus Kennedy, Easter Swain, Adam Cole Arnott, Cameron Burnem, Cory Cox, Dawson McClure and Breanna Zirkle.
Supt. Scot Gheen and Principal Travis Abbott also addressed the graduating class before diplomas were presented.
Class Secretary Brian Ray Ackley Jr. read the names of the graduates as each walked across the stage to receive his or her diploma.
Meigs High School Class of 2020 graduates include:
Brian Ray Ackley Jr., Landon Kristopher Acree, Adam Cole Arnott, Kyle Allen Ashburn, Weston Christopher Baer, Halley Kay Barnette, Taylor Christine Bass, Dakota Lee Bender, Justice Nathaniel Bennett, Bethany Rachelle Bickford, Adam Lee Billingsley, Ashley Lynn Billingsley, Karington Kay Brinker, Katilyn Kay Brinker, Corbyn Depaul Broderick, Lauren Nicole Buckley, Cameron Leevi Burnem, Cody Byron Burns, Charles Scott Burton Jr., Roseanna Lesley Butcher, Kassandra Luann Coleman, Tyler Alan Collins, Warren Mark Hannah Combs, Bradley Lowens Corriveau, Rebecca Lynn Council, Cory Lee Cox,
Zachary Earl Dailey, Landon Andrew Davis, Melody Sue Dixon, Shayne Anthony Worren Dixon, Alex Leland Douglas, Matthew Walter Keith Dowell, Brayden Riley Ervin, Matthew Douglas Fisher, Jeffrey Loran Fitzwater Jr., Christopher Scott Gilkey II, Matthew Earl Gilkey, Brittany Danielle Gilmore, Sky Marie Green, James Edison Grueser, Drake Jarrett Hall, John Robert Hamilton Jr., Valerie Marie Hamm, Daniel Walker Harris, Maci Nichole Hood, Aleya Nicole Huffman, Damion Scott Hysell,
Deven Lee James, Autumn Alexa Jones, Dawson Matthew Justice, Augustus Wyatt Kennedy, Michael Allen Kesterson, Christian Andrew Klein, Madison Rose Klein, Bryson Lee Lane, Saelym Isalena Klaire Larsen, Justin Ray Laudermilt, Teddy Lee Laudermilt, Trinity Nichole Laudermilt, Dalton Timothy Lawrence, Hunter Bryce Lawrence, Morgan Dawn Lee, Elijah James Tyler Leigh, Austin Wesley Mahr, Madison Paige Mankin, Brenna Elise McClintock, Dawson Wesley McClure, Jacob Thomas McConnell, Jason Magnus McDaniel, Annie Florence McGrath, Kristi Nicole McKnight, Stuart James McMunn III, Robert Patrick Musser, Emily Jo Myers,
Nickmkey Marie June Nye, Andrew Michael Kenneth Ogle, Gracie Lynn Parker, Alyssa Anne Parsons, Alexandria Nichole Pierce, Joseph Michael Pullins, Kalyn Lashae Qualls, Sophie Olivia Quillen, Mikayla Jo Radcliffe, Josephine Lee Ryder, Kira Breanna-Nicole Schuler, Zachary James Shiflet, Amy Michelle Simpson, Haley-Beth Noel Smith, Tucker Ryan Smith, Chonslyn Raye Spaun, David Anthony Staats, Easter Ruth Swain, Bailey June Swatzel, Tierra Daune Tillis, Matthew Edward Timmons, Steven Vance II,
Christopher Scott Ward, Ethan Tyler Watson, Zachary Lee Williams, Tamara Astar Willis, Danielle Nicole Wilson, Jacob Briar Wolfe, Michael Todd Wolfe, Rochell Renee Wolfe, Tyler Lee Wolfe, Caleb Riley Workman, Olivia Paige Wyatt, James Taylor Barton Young, Breanna Loree Zirkle.
The video concluded with a slide show of the graduates with their baby photos and senior photos.
View the entire video at the following link on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ed6a6aH32E
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.