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Seniors say goodbye

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

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A Sikeston senior holds back her emotions.
SIKESTON - It was their time. Their moment to shine, revel in their accomplishments over the past 13 years, savor memories and reflect on relationships they had formed.

Last night, over 210 Sikeston Senior High School seniors moved their tassels from right to left at the school's 105th annual commencement program, preparing to continue on their journey through life.

Graduating and moving on started with goodbye. The students, at a crossroad in their lives, were ending a time of comfort and certainty. They were taking different paths than their best friends, moving to new towns and attending new schools, unsure of what the future may hold.

Those were the messages given in Molly Brinkmeyer's senior poem, "Starts with Good-bye," and the four speakers.

In his speech "Hello Starts with Good-bye," Trey Stone spoke of the events he and his classmates had to look forward to. "Tonight we close one chapter in the books of our life and another one opens," he said. But before setting out on their separate paths, the students all had to say goodbye to one another and the life to which they were accustomed.

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Two Sikeston seniors adjust their caps.
Traci Johnson begged to differ with the traditional sayings that graduation is either the beginning or end in her speech "A Pause on a Continuous Journey." "It is a roadmap for the journey through life," she said. She warned classmates of some barriers they would face on their paths, but assured them that everything happens for a reason.

Johnathan Eftink spoke of the uncertainty of the class at this pivotal point in their lives in "The Crossroads." "We don't know where our final destination lies," he said.

Rounding out the speakers, Lauren Teachout also said graduation ended a time of comfort and certainty. "However, that allows us to turn over a new leaf and experience something new." One guarantee for the future, she said, was that students had been given all the tools and responsibility they needed to succeed in life.

Terri Johnson and Traci Jackson were valedictorians, and Nathan Turner was the salutatorian of the class of 2006.

Spencer Griffin was the presiding class president at last night's ceremony. Honors and awards were announced by Principal Tom Williams, who was introduced by Terri Johnson and Tyler Wallace introduced Superintendent Steve Borgsmiller, who presented the class. Diplomas were awarded by Julie Dolan, president of the Board of Education, who was introduced by Jordan Phenicie.

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The crowd watches as the seniors file in.
John Berry, senior class counselor at SHS, said that the total amount of scholarships awarded was over $1 million. About 60 percent of the students declared their intent to continue their education in some way, and a few plan on going into the military service.

Southeast Missouri State University, Arkansas State University, The University of Missouri-Columbia, Ole Miss and Missouri State University are among the top schools the 2006 graduates will be attending, Berry said.

Beth Ziegenhorn, one of the graduates planning to attend Ole Miss, summed up graduation by saying: "it's exciting - it's a milestone." With her name being the last in the alphabet, she said she was thrilled to be the last to graduate.

This year's class was very close knit, Ziegenhorn said. "Our class has been together for everything from sports to district music contests," she said. "We've all grown up together."

Berry, too, has formed close relationships with and grown very attached to the group he has worked with for three years. He has high hopes for their futures. "They're a group that are very conscientious and good workers," he said. "With the work ethic they've got, they're all going to be very successful."