POMEROY — Nicholas McConnell, Meigs High School Class of 2021 Valedictorian, gave his peers advice on Friday evening during the graduation ceremony — be humble, prepared to make sacrifices and do not be afraid to fail.
McConnell suggested his classmates view this day as a step in the journey of life. “As you start this journey, I have three pieces of advice to give to the class of 2021.
“Be humble. … Nobody in life likes someone who tries to make their words speak louder than their actions.
“Be prepared to make sacrifices. … Be willing and ready to choose your sacrifices in life and any goal is achievable to each and every one of you.
“Finally, do not be afraid to fail. All too often, we are afraid of rejection, defeat, and inadequacy. However, true failure comes when we reject our ambitions out of fear. We are truly defeated when we allow our fear to control us. True inadequacy is when we refuse to stand up to our fear of failure. True failure comes when we fail to try.”
McConnell began his speech by recognizing those who graduated in 2020, toward the beginning of the pandemic, who were not able to have a graduation ceremony. McConnell thanked the board of education, administration and staff for their work in giving the class of 2021 a senior year.
In her salutatorian address, Tresiliana Smith encouraged her classmates to follow their dreams.
“The last message I want to leave with you all is that you should follow your own path and create your own dreams,” Smith said. “Forge your own path — the one you desire the most. The one that makes your heart flow. Any dream, any path you want to follow is obtainable. You need to only let go of all the expectations others have for your life.”
Smith told her peers she hopes to see them at the class reunion and hear that they chose to follow their dreams.
“Your true happiness isn’t going to come from someone else’s dream, but from the dream that you have in your heart,” Smith said. “Class of 2021, we will make it to our dreams.”
During her address, Smith mentioned how the pandemic made their junior and senior years unique. Smith said some students attended school in-person for a few days or chose to do virtual learning at home all year.
“This school year was different than any we have ever experienced and we had to give up a lot of things this year, but you guys, we made it,” Smith said.
“We have sat through countless amounts of lessons in our high school careers,” Smith said. “But maybe throughout this time, we have learned the lessons of appreciating the simple, day-to-day things — to not take the time you have with your family and friends for granted, to appreciate seeing all the smiling faces and getting random hugs from the people you love, having face-to-face conversations, just going out for dinner or coffee, to value all of the small things we are able to do.”
Wyatt Hoover led the Pledge of Allegiance, with Audrey Tracy giving the invocation. Smith gave the welcome, followed by introductions by Sydney Jones.
Olivia Goble completed the roll call as each graduate entered to receive his or her diploma. Olivia Haggy led the turning of the tassels, followed by the benediction by Valerie Darnell.
The graduation ceremony was moved indoors to the Meigs High School gymnasium, from the planned location at Farmers Bank Stadium, due to inclement weather.
Honors Diploma recipients were Marissa Allen, Breanna Cundiff, Rebecca Cundiff, Jocelyn Cunningham, Hannah Durst, Olivia Goble, Annika McKinney, Alexa Russell, and Tresiliana Smith.
Class of 2021 Honorarians were Marissa Allen, Jocelyn Cunningham, Hannah Durst, Olivia Goble, Nicholas McConnell, Annika McKinney, Emma Powell, Alexa Russell, Tresiliana Smith and Baylee Tracy.
A total of 115 diplomas were presented to the class of 2021.
The Meigs High School Class of 2021 includes:
Andrew Seth Abel, Sean Cole Ackley, Levi James Adams, Marissa Nicole Allen, Carson Ryan Barrett, Nicholas Alexander Bolin II, Payton Alan Brown, Griffin Lee Buck, Jacob Tyson Buckley, Bethany Marie Burden, Faith Lynn Burns, Dominique Clarice Butcher, Jakota Charles Butcher, Logan Michael Caldwell, Austin James Caruthers, Marjorie Elizabeth Chapman, Tyson Nathaniel Clark
Jewels Cherylann Conley, Caitlin Elizabeth Cotterill, Dylan Tyler Cremeans, Breanna Irene Cundiff, Rebecca Lynn Cundiff, Jocelyn Alexandra Nicole Cunningham, Jacob Daniel Dalton, Valerie Nicole Darnell, Hannah Noel Durst, Kaitlyn Michelle Eakins, Alex Kenneth Eblin, Hailey Maris Edwards, Devon Ryland Erwin, Madison Michelle Eskew, Elizabeth Rose Fackler, Dominick Gage Farley,
Emmy Louise Gard, Zara Ray Gilland, Jenna Lynn Gilmore, Olivia Elizabeth Abigail Goble, Conner James Grady, Desera Rose Grimm, Olivia Dawn Haggy, Zachary Allen Haley, Breanna Mae Hart, Kaitlin Jo Hawkins, Brody Bryant Hawley, Daniel Leroy Henry Jr., Lucas Von Herdman, Morgan Melanie Hook, Wyatt Olen Hoover,
Hailey Dawn Hysell, Bailey Preston Jones, Sydney Ashten Jones, Courtney Nichole Kelley, Brett Edward Keith Kimes, Noah Bradley Kimes, Kara Nicole Klein, Sylvia Rae Klein, Jarod Corbin Koenig, Alyssa Marie Leib, Breanna Elizabeth Lilly, Zakky Wylde Lowe, Nicholas Stephen McConnell, Annika Nicole McKinney, Janey Louise McKinney, Noah Christopher-Rylan Metzger, Kylee Amaya Mitch,
Alexandria Ann Ogdin, Mary Ann Owensby, Trenton Skylar Peacock, Alex Andrew Pierce, Justin Stanley Pierce, Blake Aaron Pitchford, Eden Alissa Pooler, Nathan Allen Pooler, Joseph Mason Porter, Emma Nicole Powell, Julia Ann Pritt, Emily Elaine Pullins,
Destiny Dawn Racer, Tamika Lynn Ramage, Ethan Bradley Reitmire, Emily Sue Reynolds, Maylynn Marie Reynolds, Kylee Jarene Robinson, Samantha Renea Rogers, Cassidy LeeAnn Runyon, MacKenzie Danielle Runyon, Shelby Ray Lynn Runyon, Alexa Ann Russell, Will Riley Sargent, Hunter Raine Schafrath, Zachary Thomas Searles,
Marissa Dawn Searls, Madeline Danyel Shope, Brycen Conner Smith, Jerrica Ashleigh Smith, Joshua Ryan Smith, Katlyn Rachael Smith, Tresiliana Rochelle Smith, Anthony James Spencer, Savannah Morgan Stone, Kaleb Douglas Thompson, Tyler Lee Tillis, Evan Michael Tolliver, Audrey Bliss Tracy,
Baylee Rae Tracy, Ashley Renea Walker, Layla Marie Walter, Nova Laine Watson, Kenneth Charles Welsh, Shelby Lynn Whaley, Jasina Emily Will, Hunter Lee Wood, Lexi Melia-Peyton Writesel, Brian Christopher Young Jr., Emily Patsy Zeiner.
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Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.