GRC graduates senior class of 2024

Published 12:45 pm Monday, May 20, 2024

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Though the decision of whether to move forward with Friday night’s anticipated graduation at George Rogers Clark High School remained uncertain for some time, not even some rain could curtail what was undoubtedly a memorable event. 

On Friday, May 17th, the Class of 2024 was celebrated at Cardinal Stadium as a new class said goodbye after four years of well-earned studies and accomplishments. 

“Today, we gather together to celebrate [their] accomplishments,” said George Rogers Clark High School Principal Luke Toy. 

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As per usual, the event started with a presentation of colors by GRC’s award-winning JROTC squad. 

Immediately afterward, both faculty and students entered to the tune of GRC’s band and orchestra playing Sir Edward Elgar’s well-known “Pomp and Circumstance” piece. 

Students then sat in multiple rows of what is typically the playing field inside the stadium, with a podium in front for others to read and speak by. 

Following an invocation by Emmie Rose and opening words from Principal Toy, salutatorian Lauren Clem spoke. 

She spoke of gratitude toward family, friends, as well as fellow faculty members who she considered difference makers, including social studies teacher Matthew Cunningham. 

Clem also expressed her faith through her speech, and gave a message to her fellow graduates. 

“Utilize what you’ve been given to serve others and do your part…in making this world a better place,” she said. “Let’s give our all to ensure this small-town senior cast leaves a lasting legacy for years to come!.” 

Following Clem, valedictorian Kylie Hensley also spoke. 

As is common, she acknowledged that adolescence at times provided challenges. 

However, she also expressed much gratitude toward those who have made a difference, including biology teacher Stephanie Jefferson and Spanish teacher Megan Snellen. 

“To my friends, I want to thank you for showing me how amazing and fulfilling companionship can be and for showing me what platonic love should feel like,” she said. 

Hensley also expressed hope that fellow students would remain optimistic. 

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will,” she said. “I want to encourage you all to be confident in yourself and enjoy life.” 

Following Hensley’s words, the awarding of diplomas were granted. 

Beforehand, time had been taken to recognize Ryan Phelps, a would-be graduate who unfortunately passed away following a tragic accident in December. 

As each graduate was named, many were recognized with audible cheers from the crowd made up of family, friends, and other supporters. 

A number of them wore cords with colors denoting them as members of different organizations, such as Beta Club or the National Honor Society. 

Those whose academic status allowed them to be named as Cardinal Scholars also were recognized as diplomas were handed out. 

Finally, following words from Toy – who referenced the book of Luke in the New Testament – the Class of 2024 were officially recognized as graduates, with many throwing their graduation hat into the air in what is typically a celebration. 

“As you embark on this next chapter, we challenge you to take the lead,” Toy said.