RHS Holds Graduation

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Members of the Rector High School class of 2017 celebrate with the traditional toss of their mortarboard caps at the conclusion of commencement
TD photo/Jane Gatewood

Prior to the Rector High School Concert Band striking the first notes of the traditional march Pomp and Circumstance, high school principal Wade Williams greeted the audience at Sunday’s Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2017.

He wished all the mothers a Happy Mother’s Day and thanked the Class of 2017’s sponsors Joel Boyd, Belinda Matheney, Dawn Sims and Sara Wright.

Junior class ushers Haleigh Ellis, Sam Simmons, Caine Walker and Sydney Wofford, led the class into the Rector gymnasium for the graduation ceremony. These four had earlier greeted guests and handed out programs. The candidates for graduation marched in their traditional Cougar blue caps and gowns and took their seats in special Rector Cougar chairs aligned facing the stage. Decorated with trellis and giant blue 2017, the stage looked ready for a ceremony with ferns and hydrangeas banking the area in front of the podium.

From that podium, class valedictorian Avery Bucy remarked, “Seated before me are all my classmates who have been seated beside me all these years.” She continued by acknowledging the uncertainty of the future that the graduates face, saying, “That might be scary, but it’s also empowering because it is ours…while success will be different for each of us, I wish you the faith that will take you however far you can go.”

Matison Dean, class salutatorian, began her remarks by saying, “Thank you, Moms, for sharing your day with us.” With a smile she concluded her remarks with a thank you to all who influenced the class and then shared, “We won’t miss all the homework, but we will miss the teachers who assigned it.”

Williams announced the departmental awards which recognize the graduate who maintained the highest grade point average (GPA) in the department and completed all the course requirements of the department.

Agriculture: Hunter Ellis; Art: Bailey Hoots. Hoots also received the FACS award. Business Education: Dominique Coln; English: Avery Bucy. Bucy also received the Science and Social Studies Department awards. Foreign Language: Sabrina Johnson; Math: Shelby Ward.

Gifted and Talented awards were presented to students who have been part of the program throughout their high school years: Amber Beck, Avery Bucy, Dominique Coln, Bailey Hoots, Sarah Isom, Blake LaRue, Natalie Varner and Shelby Ward.

Honor graduates have met all the course requirements for college admission as defined by the State of Arkansas Dept. of Higher Education and have maintained a GPA of 3.5 and above: Avery Bucy, Matison Dean, Sarah Beth Isom, Shelby Ward, Blake LaRue, Amber Beck, Dominique Coln, Bailey Hoots and Dalton Murray.

A faculty-presented award goes to a male student and to a female student who represent the Best All-Around students. These students, Blake LaRue and Sarah Beth Isom, represent ideals in scholarship, citizenship, extra-curricular activities and school service.

Avery Bucy and Matison Dean were officially announced as Valedictorian and Salutatorian of the Class of 2017. Bucy’s eight semesters work resulted in a cumulative 4.19 GPA, with Dean at 4.09 GPA.

Thereafter, Williams presented the class members who earned scholarships in the total of $520,490.

Cody Ails, A-State Promise, Arkansas Academic Challenge, Waldorf (Iowa) University Athletic Scholarship; Amber Beck, Math Club Scholarship, Rector Future Teachers of America Scholarship, A-State Pride, Arkansas Academic Challenge.

Cobi Buck: Helping Hands Scholarship; Avery Bucy, Centennial Bank Scholarship, A-State Communication Studies Scholarship, Glen Sain Scholarship, Arkansas Academic Challenge, A-State Leadership; Dominique Coln, Rector Hall of Fame Book Scholarship, Robertson Family Scholarship, Rector First Baptist Church John Melvin Crockett Memorial Scholarship, Melvin Crockett Memorial Scholarship (HH), Williams Baptist Golf Scholarship; Emily Crouch, Arkansas Academic Challenge; Matison Dean, Rector Chamber of Commerce Scholarship, Helping Hands Scholarship, Arkansas Academic Challenge, A-State Leadership; Renae Edwards: Georbina Farms Scholarship; Jagger Ellis: Ralph Simmons Memorial Scholarship; Nickkota Gunn, Helping Hands Scholarship; Emma Hobbs, Alpha Delta Kappa Scholarship, Rector Sports Hall of Fame Book Scholarship; Ralph Simmons Memorial Scholarship, Helping Hands Scholarship, Crowley’s Ridge College Athletic Scholarship; Bailey Hoots: Rector Chamber of Commerce Scholarship, Helping Hands Scholarship, Arkansas Academic Challenge; Sarah Beth Isom: Centennial Bank Scholarship, Rector Chamber of Commerce Scholarship, Ryan Rogers Memorial Scholarship, Dr. Bryan Blackshare-Paul Schwager Scholarship, Ralph Simmons Memorial Scholarship, Bill Carter (HH) Scholarship, Helping Hands Scholarship, Arkansas Academic Challenge.

Sabrina Johnson: Helping Hands Scholarship; Blake LaRue: Rector Lions Club Book Scholarship, Clay County Arts Council Scholarship, Joey Pruett Music Scholarship, Hamilton Farms Scholarship, A-State Promise, A-State Band Scholarship, Arkansas Academic Challenge; Mackenzie McCluskey: Helping Hands Scholarship, Arkansas Academic Challenge; Dalton Murray: David Shelton Memorial Scholarship, Black River Technical College Foundation Scholarship, Kaylee Bell Memorial Scholarship, Helping Hands Scholarship, A-State Promise, Arkansas Academic Challenge.

Morgan Parrish: Arkansas Academic Challenge; Natalie Varner: BRTC Foundation Scholarship, Helping Hands Scholarship, Arkansas Academic Challenge; Shelby Ward: Math Club Scholarship, Centennial Bank Scholarship, Arkansas Academic Challenge, Robert and Pauline Crockett Scholarship, A-State Pride.

Many of the scholarships are on-going awards for a total four-year sum, dependent on the student maintaining the requirements of the scholarship. Some are one-time awards which help the student with the initial expense of transition to the first year of college. Helping Hands Foundation has many levels of awards that assist students in reaching their goals of attending college, furthering their education beyond high school. With the cost of post-secondary education soaring, the amounts of these scholarships have risen over the years, signifying the outstanding work of the granting agencies.

Williams directed the graduates to the stage to receive their diplomas. They were assisted to and from the stage by the junior class ushers. Superintendent Johnny Fowler and school board president Jody Simmons presented each diploma as Nate Henderson photographed each student with Simmons.

After all diplomas were awarded, Williams instructed the graduates to “move your tassel,” a tradition among high school graduates. No tradition is more exciting, though, than the “tossing of the cap.” With that ceremonial toss concluded, the Rector Concert Band struck the note and the audience applauded as the graduates made their exit into the next chapter of their lives.

Honors and Awards

Rector’s student body and parents responded with applause as teachers presented awards for excellence in academic performance, effort and attitude toward learning to a large number of students in grades seven through 12. On Thursday, May 11, Rector Jr. and Sr. High School held its annual honors program.

To set the tone for the program, the audience shared in a review of the 2017 graduating class through a slide show produced by Amber Bucy. Principal Wade Williams welcomed guests and students to the yearly event and Blake LaRue offered the invocation. Other presentations to the students were in the form of special recognition through 4H leadership awarded by Debbie Baker and Bibles given by Gideon representatives.

Principal Williams presented the 2017 honor graduates, the honor roll awards, perfect attendance awards and the junior high best all-around awards. The Class of 2017 Honor Graduates are Avery Bucy, Valedictorian, Matison Dean, Salutatorian, Amber Beck, Dominique Coln, Bailey Hoots, Sarah Beth Isom, Blake LaRue, Dalton Murray and Shelby Ward.

Students achieving placement on the A Honor Roll all year: 12th grade -- Danielle Ballew, Avery Bucy, Matison Dean, Sarah Beth Isom, Shelby Ward. 11th grade -- Eternitei Lindsey, Hunter McNeely, Sydney Wofford. 10th grade -- Gabby Clark, Sawyer Hendrix, Colton Lindsey, Conly Lockhart, Sarah Robinson. Ninth grade -- Parker Bucy, Max Ford, Kaylee Pence. Eighth grade -- Jacob Holmes, Makena Parrish. Seventh grade -- Maddox Trail.

Students earning A-B Honor Roll all year: 12th grade -- Cody Ails, Amber Beck, Doriann Burdin, Dominique Coln, Blake LaRue, Mackenzie McCluskey, Dalton Murray, Easton Tracy, Natalie Varner, Case Watson, Lonnie Yancey. 11th grade -- Kirk Beshears, Garret Groves, Bradley McMillin. 10th grade -- Connor Austin, Evan Dooley, Drake Lindsey, Ashlyn Mills, Makenna Speer, Shianne Rients. Ninth grade -- Paige Butler, Zane McNeely, Michaela Rients, Adam Romine. Eighth grade -- Faith Fry, Alexis Herrera, Baily Hill, Zane Holloway, Alexis McKnight, Sophie Simmons, Emily Stirnaman, Sadey Underwood. Seventh grade -- Jerron Bucy, Ellie Ford, Morgan Garner, Lexie Green, John Ford Hendrix, Hayley Naney, Cierra Rients, Carly Robinson, Olivia Sutherland, Libertei Walker.

Students who received the Jr. High Best All-Around are Jacob Holmes and Sophie Simmons.

Prior to the Classroom and Organization Award presentations awarded by the faculty, the Rector High School Band under the direction of Daniel Van Aalsburg entertained the audience with “Pixar Movie Favorites” arranged by Michael Brown. The band’s performance concluded with an appreciative ovation for their talent and performance.

Language Arts awards were presented to students completing coursework in English, Oral Communication, Journalism, and Spanish. In Spanish language learning: Best Overall Learner-Jacob McMillin, Best Critical Thinker-Kaylee McDaniel, Most Engaged-Haleigh Ellis, Reading Comprehension-Jaydin Wilson, Creative Characters in Story-telling-Bayleigh Oliver, Staying in the Target Language-Sabrina Johnson, Creative Writing-Steven Hopson, Writing- Zephyer Tinsley, Improving Proficiency-Grason Robinson, Asking questions in Target Language-Connor Austin, Most Enthusiastic-Sarah Robinson, Friday Dance Superstar-Ashlyn Mills, Risk Taker in Language Learning-Andrew Garron. Journalism awards: Sabrina Johnson. Oral Communication: Kaylee Pence and Michaela Rients. AP English 12:Avery Bucy and Shelby Ward. English 12: Nickkota Gunn and Lonnie Yancey. AP English 11:Sydney Wofford. English 11:Andrew Garron. Pre-AP English 10: Sarah Robinson. English 8 Most Improved- Lexis Conner. English 8 Highest Average: Jacob Holmes. English 7: Cierra Rients and Olivia Sutherland.

Awards in Mathematics went to the following students: Transitional Math-Hunter Ellis, Blake Boyd, Alec Smith. Math 12: Mackenzie McCluskey. Most Improved: Brandon Shelton, Kyler Parrish. AP Calculus: Hunter McNeely, Sydney Wofford. Bridge Math: Haleigh Ellis, Brandon Shelton. Geometry: Sawyer Hendrix, Parker Bucy. Algebra 3:Shelby Ward , Danielle Ballew. Algebra 2: Gabby Clark, Conly Lockhart. Algebra 1: Jacob Holmes, Makena Parrish. Math 8: Alexis McKnight. Math 7: Morgan Garner, Maddox Trail.

Science Awards were presented to these students: Chemistry: Sydney Wofford. Environmental Science: Bradley McMillin. Pre-AP Biology: Conly Lockhart. Biology: Sawyer Hendrix, Vanessa Rose. Physical Science: Kaylee Pence. Science 8: Jacob Holmes. Science 7: Maddox Trail, Devin Brown.

In Psychology/Sociology: Amber Beck. Concurrent World Civilization: Avery Bucy, Sarah Isom, Matison Dean. AP US History: Sydney Wofford. American History since 1890: Shelby Ward. World History: Sawyer Hendrix, Conly Lockhart. Civics/Economics-Michaela Rients. History 8/Arkansas History: Jacob Holmes, Sadey Underwood. Geography 7: Cierra Rients.

The Fine Arts Department presented these awards: In Choir: Best Alto-Dani Nelson, Best Soprano-Lexis Conner, and Best Overall-Jessica Nelson. Music 7 award: Ellie Ford and Maddox Trail. The High School Top Artists include Cecily Baker, Shayna McCluskey, Vanessa Rose, Julie Walker, McKenzie Baker, Sabrina Haneline, Bailey Hoots, and Shelby Ward. Art 8: Alexis McKnight, Cheyenne Akes. Art 7: Jazlyn Estes, Alyse Gant.

Career and Technical awards are presented in the area of CBA, Keyboarding, Computer Accounting, Personal Finance, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Family Consumer Science, Food Service, Food and Nutrition. In CBA: Highest average-Brianna Glasco, Sydney Woffard. Overall excellence: Parker Bucy, Jaydin Bullinger, Sawyer Hendrix, Blake Larue, Colton Lindsey, Conly Lockhart, Sarah Robinson, Samantha Urbanski. Keyboarding highest average: Ellie Ford. Excellence awards: Greydon Boyster, Morgan Garner, Lexie Greeen, Hayley Naney, Cierra Rients, Maddox Trail, Libertei Walker. Computer Accounting-Dominique Coln, Personal Finance-Cody Ails, Brianna Glasco, Sydney Wofford. Industry Certification in Microsoft Word-Shianne Rients. PowerPoint Certification: Jada Brcken, Gabby Clark, Frank Herrera, Kyleight Huckabay, Colton Lindsey, Conly Lockhart, Ashlyn Mills, Kyler Parrish, Vanessa Rose, Caine Walker.

Microsoft Industry Certification in Word and Powerpoint: Parker Bucy, Jaydin Bullinger, Morgan Denton, Evan Dooley, Renae Edwards, Mylesa Gant,Brianna Glasco, Sabrina Haneline, Sawyer Hendrix, Kacey Johnson, Adria Kemper, Blake Larue, Colbie Robinson, Sarah Robinson, Kodey Rodriguez, Samantha Urbanski, Sydney Wofford.

Microsoft Industry Certification in Acces, PowerPoint, Word, and Word Expert: Sam Stahl. Mid-Level District FBLA Job Interview-4th Place and Proofreading 2nd Place: Max Ford. Mid-Level District FBLA Business Math 3rd place and Mr. Future Business leader 2nd Place: Jacob Holmes. Mid-Level District FBLA Principles and Procedures 1st place, Ms Future Business Leader 1st Place, and elected District II Treasurer: Sophie Simmons. Mid-Level District FBLA Intro to Business Communication 2nd place, State Intro to Business Communication 5th place, Proofreading 1st place: Zane McNeely.

Top Ten finishers at FBLA District II Competition: Dominique Coln, Dustin Owens, Renae Edwards, Ashlyn Mills, Kirk Beshears, Natalie Varner, Kyleigh Huckabay, Sarah Robinson. State FBLA Qualifiers: Morgan Parrish, Sawyer Hendrix, Sydney Wofford, Amber Beck, Brianna Glasco, Sydney Wofford, Amber Beck, Brianna Glasco, Colton Lindsey.

Family and Consumer Science: Paige Butler, Nathan Weatherspoon. Chef of the Year: Bailey Hoots. Food and Nutrition: Cody Ails. Parenting /Child Development: Andrew Garron. Child Care: Avery Bucy. Business Completers: Cody Ails, Dominique Coln, Morgan Parrish.

Family and Consumer Science Completers: Danielle Ballew, Avery Bucy, Doriann Burdin, Dominique Coln, Renae Edwards, James Fannin, Bailey Hoots, Erika Edwards, Sabrina Johnson, Blake LaRue, Mackenzie McCluskey, Easton Tracy, Natalie Varner, Shelby Ward.

Agriculture Completers: Doriann Burdin, Emily Crouch, Jagger Ellis, James Fannin, Erika Howe, Michael Loveless, McKenzie McKluskey, Tyler Tinnin, Emma Hobbs, Blake Boyd, Dalton Murray, Alec Smith, Hunter Ellis, Chance Scott.

After the classroom awards were announced by the faculty, officers of classes and organizations came forward. The president of each group announced their officers who stood to be recognized to appreciative applause.

A highlight of the program was the announcement of a new group of students invited into membership of the National Honor Society. Faculty adviser Rachael McNamee recognized the current NHS membership and reminded the audience that this group must maintain a 3.25 grade point average. They were selected not only for their academic excellence but for an ongoing dedication to the highest standards in scholarship, leadership, character, and service. NHS Inductees for Spring 2017: Helena Andrews, McKenzie Baker, Jada Bracken, Jerron Bucy, Paige Butler, Haily Davis, Elizabeth Ford, Morgan Garner, John Ford Hendrix, Zoe McNabb, Ashlyn Mills, Erika Murrell, Hayley Naney, Cierra Rients, Carly Robinson, Colbie Robinson, Lane Stucks, Olivia Sutherland, Maddox Trail, Lacey Underwood, and Jaydin Wilson.

Prior to the dismissal of the students, Dominique Coln gave the benediction asking the blessings of courage and safety on all present. Seniors and award winners remained, gathering in small groups for pictures.

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