Students graduate from local high schools (with photo gallery)

Published 11:09 pm Thursday, May 21, 2015

Julie Turner (right) helps her daughter, Emily Thetford, prepare for her commencement ceremony at Maplesville High School on Thursday.

Julie Turner (right) helps her daughter, Emily Thetford, prepare for her commencement ceremony at Maplesville High School on Thursday.

About 490 students from high schools in Chilton County received their diplomas on Thursday night.

Graduation ceremonies were held at Chilton County High School, Verbena High School, Isabella High School, Maplesville High School, Thorsby High School and Jemison High School.

The number of students graduating was slightly above the 470 students who graduated in 2014.

At Jemison High School, Class President Mikala Thornton gave her classmates inspiration and also some school spirit.

“Keep your head held high and always remember your roots…Go Panthers,” Thornton said.

Marissa Stough looked forward to graduating alongside her fellow classmates from Maplesville High School.

“I am looking forward to it,” Stough said. “It will be nice to move to the next step of my life.”

Stough, who was one of the valedictorians for MHS, encouraged her classmates to pursue their hopes and dreams after graduation.

“We can achieve anything we put our mind to,” Stough said. “We all have hopes and dreams and we can achieve those if we work hard.”

Valedictorian Matthew Price thanked everyone for coming to the graduation, and recognized his friends, family and teachers who helped him along the way.

“Whatever life throws at you, roll with the punches,” Price said.

Valedictorian Donovan Cleckley spoke to Isabella High School seniors about dreams being the beginning of their success.

“Your dreams will never tarnish or rust,” Cleckley said.

IHS assistant principal Scott Ingram said the senior class had a lot of “character.”

“Congratulations to the Class of 2015,” Ingram said. “Never forget your roots.”

Verbena salutatorian Ricky Fulmer said graduates can’t be afraid to try new things, and encouraged them to keep a positive attitude about change.

At Chilton County High School’s ceremony, which was held at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center, Principal Cynthia Stewart welcomed those in attendance and encouraged graduates to remember to, “Think before you speak: Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary?”

Stewart said CCHS grads had already racked up more than $1.9 million in scholarships and awards.

School valedictorian Blake Hudson asked his classmates to “take nothing for granted, take the hard road, take a leap of faith, never be afraid to chase your dreams, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and don’t think your past defines what your future will be.”

“The future is ours,” Hudson said. “The paths we take today will be followed tomorrow.”