MHS students honored during commencement ceremony

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Marshall High School graduates toss their caps at the conclusion of their commencement ceremony Sunday, May 13.
Sarah Reed/Democrat-News

In the afternoon sun on the track at Marshall High School, Superintendent Carol Maher asked the 2018 graduating class to take out a balloon and hold it up.

“It’s your very last test,” she said. “(It’s our) launch into adventure.”

Graduating seniors stood up and released their balloons to the applause of the crowd. Sunday, May 13, their commencement ceremony marked their achievement of earning high school diplomas.

Valedictorian Taylor Petzoldt speaks to the Class of 2018 during commencement on Sunday, May 13.
Sarah Reed/Democrat-News

Rather than listening to a guest speaker, the class heard from three of their peers: Valedictorian Taylor Petzoldt, Class President T-Love William and Student Body President Katherine Miles.

“Stay true to your principles and know what you’re about,” Petzoldt said from the podium.

Rather than offering quotes from historic and famous figures, Petzoldt chose to quote those “well within our reach.”

Led by Senior Class President T-Love William (back, at podium), graduating seniors thanked their moms in unison during the Marshall High School graduation ceremony this past Sunday, Mother's Day.
Sarah Reed/Democrat-News

“This group is changing the world one student at a time, one piece of knowledge at a time. The group is our teachers and administrators, and this group believes in us,” she stated.

She urged her classmates to remember their words upon leaving MHS.

William also mentioned learning from people around him, leaning on advice he absorbed from his family to encourage the class.

Student Body President Katherine Miles speaks to the Class of 2018 during their commencement ceremony at Marshall High School on Sunday, May 13.
Sarah Reed/Democrat-News

“I believe in every single one of us — we have what it takes to become better humans in this society, or in any community we (settle down in),” he said. “Though the real world can be ugly, with all the wisdom we have gained over the years, I believe that we have what it takes to come out on top … This I learned from my mother — that no matter what problems come my way, I have to have faith in the Lord and myself to keep pushing for better things to come.”

William took a moment to acknowledge the mothers in the bleachers since the commencement ceremony fell on Mother’s Day. He led the senior class to stand and yell, in unison, “Thank you, Mom!”

For many families, it was no doubt a bittersweet afternoon. Parents and siblings yelled encouraging words when their graduate walked the stage.

Marshall High School's graduating seniors release balloon this past Sunday, May 13, during their commencement ceremony.
Sarah Reed/Democrat-News

Miles drew upon her experience running cross country during her speech, urging her classmates to stand tall, make sure every action they take has a purpose, and to have mental endurance. She said her friends have pushed her to become a better student, teammate and friend.

“Risks are scary and hard to take, but some of the scariest risks pay off the most,” she said. “Success depends on work and focus. You have to have a desire to be better. … The best we can do is find the starting line of our new race.”

For now, students could set aside their ambitions and uncertainties about the future to celebrate their current success. MHS had 163 graduating seniors earning their diplomas this past Sunday. Twenty-four of those were recipients of College Preparatory Certificates. Other students were recognized for being the top 10 academic students, being recognized on the Academic Wall of Honor, members of the National Honor Society, and part of the Freshman Mentoring Program and the DECA Leadership Team.

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