Graduation Day Comes to Piggott High

Thursday, May 21, 2015
Members of the PHS class of 2015 celebrate with a toss of the mortarboard cap at the conclusion of commencement exercises Friday evening.(TD photo/Tim Blair)

A standing-room-only crowd packed the Piggott High School gym the evening of Friday, May 15, as the members of the class of 2015 took part in commencement exercises. This spring, a total of 61 seniors took part in graduation ceremonies to the delight of the large crowd, which included family, friends, staff and administrators.

Members of the PHS band performed Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" as this year's class entered the gymnasium and took their seats. The first speaker of the evening was 2015 valedictorian, Micah Hobbs.

Following the valedictorian's address, senior members of the Piggott High School band joined their fellow musicians one final time in performing a special selection under the direction of Jeremy Wortham.

Valedictorian Micah Hobbs delivers her traditional address.

Up next was the salutatorian's address from Bailey Pollard.

In keeping with tradition, scholarships and awards were then distributed to the class members, with the first two presented by former school board president Shawn Parker, of Piggott State Bank. Parker was on hand to present the two annual Gaylon Lawrence Memorial Scholarships, which this year went to McKenzie Hopkins and Joseph Lambert.

PHS counselor Amber Harrell, assisted by Faith Conley, then proceeded to hand out the remainder of the scholarships to the class members. The scholarship recipients, and their awards, were as follows--

This year's salutatorian at PHS is Bailey Pollard.

McKenzie Hopkins was recognized as an honor graduate, was recipient of one of two Gaylon Lawrence Memorial Scholarships and received a $6,000 per year Williams Baptist College Athletic and Academic Scholarship.

Bradley Stephens was recognized as an honor graduate and received a $12,000 per year athletic scholarship to Lyon College, a $2,000 per year Arkansas Lottery Scholarship and a $250 "Alumni Gives Back" scholarship given by Frank Staples, class of 1967, and Adam Staples, class of 1997.

Abigail Holcomb was recognized as an honor graduate and was recipient of a $250 Beta Club scholarship, a Top 10 award and a $500 "Alumni Gives Back" scholarship given by Kathy Bellers Fauber and Kim Bellers Rouse in memory of Delores Bellers.

J.P. Vavak was recipient of the Piggott High School Class of 1970 $500 scholarship.

Micah Hobbs was recognized as valedictorian, honor graduate and with a Top 10 award. She was recipient of a $26,880/four year AState Pride Scholarship, a $250 Beta Club scholarship, a $100 FBLA Service scholarship and she received the Social Studies award.

Joseph Lambert was recipient of one of the two Gaylon Lawrence Memorial Scholarships, he also received a $28,880/four year AState Pride Scholarship, an Arkansas Lottery Scholarship and was recognized as an honor student.

Elisia Morris was recipient of the Spanish Award, received a $2,000 a year Arkansas Promise Scholarship, was recognized as an honor graduate and with a Top 10 award and received a $250 "Alumni Gives Back" scholarship in memory of Jim Metz, given by Frank Staples and Michael Bare.

Sadie Sawyers was recipient of a Williams Baptist College Dean's Scholarship, a $1,000 Arkansas Gas Association Scholarship, was recognized as an honor graduate and with a Top 10 award and received the $300 Leland Sells Memorial Scholarship.

Alivia Cloninger was recipient of the Art Award and a $100 Art Club scholarship.

Josh Cook received a $100 Art Club scholarship and was recipient of the Eastern Star Lodge Scholarship.

Jacob Wellman was recognized as an honor graduate and with a Top 10 award. He was also recipient of a $50 Art Club scholarship, the J.B. Swift Memorial Scholarship and a $64,200 Army College Fund and Montgomery GI Bill scholarship.

Caleb Benbrook was recipient of a Top 10 award and was recognized as an honor graduate. He also received a $28,880/four years AState Pride scholarship and a $500 "Alumni Gives Back" scholarship given in memory of Dervis and Freeda Knight.

Tristan Lowrie received Federal Tuition Assistance, the Montgomery GI Bill and Guard tuition incentive program valued at $56,412.

Ryan Crawford was recipient of a Piggott Elementary Faculty Scholarship, the educational award, the Ryan Pounds Memorial Scholarship and $3,200 a year for up to four years of study through the Nucor Corporation Certificate of Educational Award.

Brady McPherson is receiving Federal Tuition Assistance by the Montgomery GI Bill and Guard tuition program valued at $56,412. He was also recipient of the Matthew Brown Memorial Scholarship and a $1,200 "Alumni Gives Back" scholarship from the PHS class of 1979 and a $100 club scholarship.

Bailey Pollard was recognized as salutatorian, an honor graduate and with a Top 10 award. She also received the Family and Consumer Science award, a Piggott Elementary School Faculty Scholarship, the Math Award and English Award and a $500 scholarship given by Joe and Tracy Cole, and the Clifford F. Cole Family, in memory of Marshall and Barbara Wheeler and Clifford Cole.

Brandon Hoggard received a $1,000 Clay Conservation District Scholarship, a Piggott Elementary School Faculty Scholarship and the Robert Wade "Bobby" Shanklin memorial scholarship, an "Alumni Gives Back" scholarship given in memory of their loving husband and father by his wife, Nancy James Shanklin and daughter, Allison Shanklin McBride.

Alexa DeHart was recognized as an honor graduate and was recipient of a $100 FBLA Service Scholarship, the Joann Barlow Memorial Scholarship, a $500 NEA Wounded Warrior scholarship and the Dr. B.B. Layl Memorial Scholarship.

Shelby Pruett-Chavez was recipient of a $100 Art Club scholarship, and was the first recipient of a $1,000 scholarship given in memory of Piggott Mayor Gerald Morris, who passed away while in office in June of 2014.

Logan Massy received a $2,000 MFA scholarship, was recognized as an honor graduate and with a Top 10 award, was recipient of the business award and received the Kent Green Memorial Scholarship and a $400 FBLA Leadership scholarship.

Sierra Pollard was recognized as an honor graduate and is recipient of $14,000 over four years by way of an Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship. She also received a $1,000 "Alumni Gives Back" scholarship given by Terry and Debbie Pollard and Pollard Farms.

Halee Arnold was recognized as an honor graduate, and was recipient of an $8,500 Presidential Scholars Award.

Jessica Mallard was recognized with a Top 10 award and as an honor graduate. She was also recipient of a $10,000 per year Governor's Distinguished Scholarship, renewable for four years, and a $5,000 per year University of Arkansas Chancellor's Community Scholarship, also renewable for four years. She also received a $250 "Alumni Gives Back" scholarship given by James Magee.

And, Connor Boyster was recognized as an honor graduate, and with a Top 10 award. He was also recipient of the Science Award, the $1,000 June Morris Memorial Scholarship, along with both the $500 Joey Pruett Scholarship and a $750 Arts Scholarship from the Clay County Arts Council.

Afterward, members of the PHS school choir performed a special selection under the direction of Ellen Meadows.

Next, the diplomas were handed out to the graduating class as they were announced by PHS Principal Barry DeHart. Distributing the diplomas were school board president Neil Morgan and board secretary Hope Burns.

After the diplomas were distributed Superintendent Charlie Powell presented the class.

Afterward, the classmates joined together in singing the PHS Alma Mater, then took part in the tradition of throwing their mortar board hats into the air in celebration. The assembled class of fresh graduates then exited the gym as the band played the recessional.

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