Rector High School Graduates

Thursday, May 24, 2012
Emilea Vanglider walks across the stage to get her diploma. (Photo by Candy Williams)

The Rector High School gymnasium bustled with excitement Sunday afternoon, May 13, as a large crowd of proud parents, grandparents and special friends gathered to recognize the class of 2011-2012 and its accomplishments.

Principal Wade Williams welcomed the crowd and wished a "Happy Mother's Day" to all of the mothers and grandmothers in attendance.

Wearing royal blue caps and gowns, the soon-to-be graduates entered the gymnasium as the RHS Concert Band, under the direction of Daniel Van Aalsburg, played the processional.

Chosen by the class to serve as ushers were Kelly Fowler, Mitchell Weber, Sydney Simmons and Jake Scott.

Honor students Kelsey Wynn, Heather Myres, Jessica Scott, Melissa Weaver, Ben Petty and Amanda Bradford were given special seats in the front row.

Eathan Pruett gave the invocation just before the RHS Choir, under the direction of Judy Hargarve, sang, "Thankful," by Rollo Dilworth.

The valedictory address was given by Kelsey Wynn.

"People always say that high school days are the best days of your life," she said. "These days have been great, but I hope the best days of our lives are yet to come."

Heather Myres followed with the Salutatory address and took the opportunity to wish classmate, Morgan Hampton, "Happy Birthday."

"Some of us are planners and some of us are not," noted Myres. "The possibilities are endless and you can do whatever you wish with your future."

Principal Williams announced the departmental and special awards, which were presented by Superintendent Johnny Fowler.

Ryan LaRue and Kelsey Wynn were chosen by the faculty as the "Best All Around Students."

Other awards went to:

Jessica Scott, Art; Zach Gilbee, Agriculture; Jessica Scott and Dustin Sparks, Senior Athletes; Kelsey Wynn and Ryan LaRue, Business Education; Heather Myres and Kelsey Wynn, English; Heather Myres, Family and Consumer Science; Kelsey Wynn, Foreign Language; Kelsey Wynn, Math; Kelsey Wynn, Science, and Jessica Scott, Social Studies.

Gifted and Talented Awards were given to longtime participants in the GT Program including Allison Harmon-Duncan, Ryan LaRue, Heather Myres, Ben Petty, Jessica Scott, Melissa Weaver and Kelsey Wynn.

"I am so proud of these students. They have worked hard and are an impressive group," stated Williams. "I am pleased to announce that they have earned a combined total of $347, 858 in scholarships."

Scholarship recipients are:

Kelsey Wynn -- Bill Carter Honorary Scholarship, $2,000; ASTATE Leadership Scholarship, $32,880; Ralph Simmons Memorial Scholarship, $1,500; Arkansas Governor's Scholarship, $16,000, and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, $18,000 for a combined total of $70,380.

Heather Myres -- Johnny Cash Memorial Scholarship through the Helping Hands Foundation, $5,000; ASTATE Leadership Scholarship, $32,880, and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, $18,000 for a combined total of $55,880.

Jessica Scott -- Robert and Pauline Crocket Scholarship to Arkansas State University through the Helping Hands Foundation, $20,000; Arkansas Promise Scholarship, $10,000; Shelton Sanitation Scholarship, $500, and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, $18,000 for a combined total of $48,500.

Justin Beck -- Rector Chamber of Commerce Scholarship, $500; James W. Graves Memorial Scholarship through the Helping Hands Foundation, $20,000; Paul Schwager Scholarship, $1,000; Ralph Simmons Memorial Scholarship, $1,500; Rector Lions Club Scholarship, $250, and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, $18,000 for a combined total of $41,250.

Ryan LaRue -- Johnny Cash Memorial Scholarship through the Helping Hands Foundation, $5,000; Clay County Arts Council, $500; Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, $18,000, and the Arkansas Promise Scholarship, $10,000 for a combined total of $33,500.

Ashley Cavaness -- Bill Carter Honorary Scholarship from the Helping Hands Foundation, $4,000; Doma McCluney Memorial Scholarship, $500; Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, $18,000, and the W.I. and Viva Phillips Scholarship, $750 for a combined total of $23,250.

Kailee Carter -- John Melvin Crockett Scholarship from the Helping Hands Foundation, $5,000, and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, $18,000 for a combined total of $23,000.

Melissa Weaver -- Black River Technical College President's Scholarship, $3,348; Iberia Bank Scholarship to Black River Technical College, $500; Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, $18,000, and the W.I. and Viva Phillips Scholarship,$750 for a combined total of $22,598.

Ben Petty -- GEOROBINA Farms Scholarship though the Helping Hands Foundation, $5,000, and a Henderson State University Red and Gray Success Scholarship, $8,000 for a combined total of $13,000.

Emilea Vangilder -- Hamilton Farms Scholarship, $5,000; Doma McCluney Memorial Scholarship, $500, and the Crowley's Ridge College "B" Average Scholarship, $4,000 for a combined total of $9,500.

Allison Harmon-Duncan -- Bill Carter Honorary Scholarship through the Helping Hands Foundation, $4,000.

Amanda Bradford -- Liberty Bank of Arkansas Scholarship, $1,000.

Kerbi Hatcher -- Kayley Bell Memorial Scholarship, $1,000.

Zach Gilbee -- Clay County Conservation District Agriculture Scholarship, $1,000.

Rector School Board president Jim Speer presented diplomas to 36 deserving students including: Justin Tyme Beck, Amanda Diann Bradford, Christopher Michael Burke Jr., Kailee Lorene Carter, Ashley Nicole Cavaness, Steven Ray Cowgill, Ariel Nicole Dooley, Dylan Ray Eubanks, Zachary Dillon Fitzgerald Gilbee, Colton Lane Groves, Morgan Lynn Hampton, Allison Taylor Harmon-Duncan, Kerbi Ashton Hatcher, Breana Alexis LaCaze, Karie Lynn Lamar, Phillip Ryan LaRue, Tyler Blake Lucas, Sabrina LeAnn Morrisett, Heather Faye Myres, Steven Lee Pennington, Benjamin Joseph Petty, Read Chance Phillips, Eathan Dale Pruett, Hali Marie Rackley, Alexandria Taylor Ray, Heather Gail Scott, Jessica Linnae Scott, Logan Daniel Shavalia, Dustin Michael Sparks, Brandon Alexander Stevens, Beverly Donielle Stone, Emilea Rachelle Vangilder, Melissa Renee Weaver, Tanner Elliott Wheat, Tyler Wayne Wheat and Kelsey Inies Wynn.

One of the most memorable and awe-inspiring parts of the ceremony took place when Emilea Vangilder left her wheelchair behind to attempt to receive her diploma and walk across the stage using only her crutches and support from trusted friend, Kelsey Wynn. In recognition of Emilea's zest and determination, the crowd rose to its feet with thunderous applause.

Melissa Weaver joined Williams to lead the singing of the Alma Mater before class members celebrated their milestone by tossing their hard-earned graduation caps in the air.

A poignant benediction was given by Ryan LaRue just before the class marched out of the gym as a group for the final time as the RHS Concert Band played the recessional in the background.

A red rose was chosen as the class flower with the class colors being black and lime green. The class song was, "Tattoos on This Town." The class motto is "Life is whatever we make it; always has been, always will be." --Grandma Moses

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