Jemison celebrates class of 2022

Published 1:10 pm Monday, May 23, 2022

By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Students, faculty and family packed into Panther Stadium at Jemison High School on May 21 to honor the class of 2022 with their graduation ceremony.

Senior Class President Camden Cummings welcomed guests to the ceremony.

“First, I want to thank the teachers and administrators who helped build and guide us to the men and women we are today,” Cummings said. “To my fellow classmates, we made it.”

Cummings and the senior class officers, Vice President Karley Tillery, secretary Elizabeth Franklin and historians Grace Biel and Mary Gillespie, presented their contribution to Jemison from the 2022 senior class. The 50 white chairs that the Jemison faculty were seated in during the ceremony were a donation by the senior class.

“We all take pride in being able to have events such as this in our stadium,” Cummings said. “These additional chairs purchased will allow events such as this to be possible.”

Tillery welcomed the platform guests in Chilton County Schools Superintendent Jason Griffin and Board of Education Vice President Chris Smith. Franklin welcomed Griffin to the podium as the guest speaker for the program.

“Congratulations to everyone as we honor our graduates today,” Griffin said. “We know you are prepared with whatever path lies ahead for you … What am exciting time filled with opportunity.”

Jemison recognized Emily Godbold as the salutatorian for the 2021-22 school year and gave her speech.

There were eight valedictorians for Jemison — Zechariah Bazzano, Seth Bittle, America Gutierrez, Grace Means, Juliet Contreras, Biel, Franklin and Gillespie.

Seven of the valedictorians gave speeches on what their time at Jemison was like, thanked the staff and students and issued words of encouragement for their fellow graduates moving forward.

Gillespie used a quote from author Marie Beynon Lyons Ray to sum up her speech, and her time at Jemison.

“We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hands, melting like a snowflake,” Gillespie said. “Let us use it for good, before it is too late. Thank you, good luck and God bless.”

Gutierrez and Contreras delivered their speeches in Spanish to the crowd.

Biel was the last valedictorian to issue her speech, but sent the ceremony to the presentation of diplomas with a spirited sentiment.

“Jemison High School class of 2022, thanks for the memories and congratulations,” Biel said. “Once a Panther, always a Panther.”

The Jemison 2022 Senior Class color was Maroon and their flower was a peony. The class song was “Wherever I Go” by Hannah Montana. The class quote was “Thanks for the adventure, now go have a new one,” from the movie “Up”.