The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Big Sandy High School 2018 Graduation


May 23, 2018

Graduation is a great celebration of individual senior success. Along the two end walls of the gym each senior set up booths with memories of student's past. Most dressed up for the occasion but some wore clothes expressing their own unique approach for example Weston Allderdice wore a kilt.

Family and friends starting show up 45 minutes early to make sure they got a seat. There was 30 minutes to go and some moms were already crying.

As Pomp and Circumstance was played by the Pioneer Band, the US flag was brought in with double honor guards of lower classmates followed by the seniors dressed in purple and gray graduation gowns walking single file. Everyone in the gym rose to their feet in honor of the flag and the accomplishments of the graduation class of 2018. Mr. Moore welcome the community and congratulated the senior class for his last time before his retirement. Five of the seven senior girls sang Follow Your dreams. "Everybody needs a star to wish on: With things you won't see far, far away. But, you must always try to keep your dream alive: 'Cause what you long for can be yours someday. If you follow your dreams, though the road seems lonely. Follow your dreams, no matter how far. Give it your best, you'll find success if you just keep your eye on that star."

Mr. Moore presented Dakota Terry's parents with the Salutatorian Award and Dakota during her speech, thanked those who had a vital role in her life. She thanked her parents and family for unconditional love, the positive upbringing giving her the opportunity to look forward and see her life with a positive outlook and for teaching her to drink coffee while reading a book. She said there wasn't enough time to say thank you to everyone who needed it. "This life as I know it is over. We are at a stage in life not unlike spring. Time to grow. Nothing will hold us back except ourselves." She turned to her senior class and addressed each one by name. Training colts owns her heart and she loves the sense of community in our tiny town but, "I am ready to take it (life) on. Go, but always knows the road leads back home too."

Following Dakota Terry's speech, Mr. Moore presented Andrea Rutledge's parents with the Valedictorian Award. Andrea said her speech would be a non-life changing speech. Most likely not inspirational as she smiles. She said she is used to giving speeches about cattle price flux and how the farmers feed the world. She's confident about giving speeches on agriculture issues. "Life can be a lot like working cows. There are always a couple of cows that put you on the fence. There will always be a cow that will charge at you." Not unlike what we will face in real life. "The gate keepers are the key. There is no way not to make mistakes in this life." She went on to say that they needed to be careful to choose the right gate keepers during their life. "Without fail there will be a little bull in our life and that will be difficult. Just keep persevering." One thing she knows, "We aren't the cow boss." They're knowledgeable and have experience. "Make sure you know who your cow boss is!" She indicated she wanted everyone to become the cow boss for themselves as they continued their lives.

The class of 2018 asked Sherri Heppner to be their guest speaker. Sherri is also retiring after 34 years of working at Big Sandy High School. "It is all about you," she said. "I'm so proud of you." Her speech was directed to the students but

to also acknowledge what an incredible class they were. "I believe school pride starts in the class room with academics and carries over to the courts and other extracurricular activities. At it would seem that goal should always be to raise the bar higher. Don't lower it. Set it higher and higher. Expect more not less".

"(School) Pride also deals with discipline. Discipline in your faith, in your studies. Discipline in your daily decisions. Discipline to put your cell phone down when someone's talking. Disciplines to make those decisions that are difficult, but you know they are right."

"So, with that, that is what impresses me most about this class. They get it." She went on to talk about how this class has raised the bar giving numerous example how this class as lead the way of setting the bar high.

Sherri went on to talk about the value of laughter. "Laughter is good. Laughter is healing." The class motto seems to agree. It was never take life too seriously, no one gets out alive anyway.

She said, "Memories are precious and cherished. I heard a sermon last year where pastor said three simple words I've never forgotten. "Never stop starting'. This is true for everyone. Whether you are a senior in high school ready to start your journey to the next adventure of your life or a secretary that's been here for 34 years. We can all learn and accept the we never need to stop starting. I've been blessed by each and every one of you in some way. You are a special class and I wish you the very best as you spread your wings. May God bless you and continue to bless Big Sandy Schools."

After the speeches, there was a power point slide show with pictures of all the seniors from baby to senior pictures. At the end of each senior's pictures there was a short written thank you. The class chose the yellow rose as their class flower and at this Big Sandy graduation there was the giving of yellow roses. The seniors left the stage, pick up their yellow roses and present them to anyone they felt needed a special thank you for being a part of their lives. It's a tender tradition and incredible powerful.

After receiving their diplomas, they threw their hats into the hair, laughing while celebrating and then they were showered with balloons.

After the ceremony while shopping at The Grocery Store, the discussion about the graduation continued. "Sherri Heppner received a standing ovation." "Did you cry?" "Of Course, I cry every time." "All I can say is Big Sandy always puts on great graduation."


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