Parents, family members, staff, and community were seated in a packed West Gym while a standing room of attendees spilled into the mezzanine to support the Class of 2018.
Superintendent Downs welcomed the guests, thanking them for the role they played to help students reach the graduation stage. “We acknowledge the shared efforts of everyone in this room. Whether a parent, teacher, principal, friend, or family member, you have played an important role in the success of these graduates.”
Senior speaker Trevor Calvert eased the ceremonial atmosphere of the afternoon by offering inspirational comic relief, recalling memories of teachers and classmates who influenced his educational journey at Hallsville. He also prided individuality and acceptance amongst his classmates, who broke the barriers of the traditional cliques. “We coexisted and intermingled and it is a wonderful thing when seeing that there really is something for everyone. Just like life has something for everyone but you just have to go out and find what it is that sparks joy for you.”
Speaker Pamela Salas took the class on a stroll down memory lane, triggering both laughter and tears for the classmates and parents who recalled the stories. Salas’s message focused on Hallsville as a family and making memories together, echoing Calvert’s words of student-involvement and support. “No matter how many years pass us by, how many wrinkles find their way onto our now-young skin, no matter who becomes the cure-er of cancer and the worker at Wal-Mart who manages to make everyone’s day, we did this together and we will graduate a family.”
The high school choir followed with an inspirational rendition of “In Meeting We Are Blessed.” Then, Board President Jon Bequette awarded the senior class as each student crossed the stage to receive a diploma. Nine graduates received cum laude honors:
Summa Cum Laude: Maya Adams, Lydia Loethen, Allison Reed, Pamela Salas
Magna Cum Laude: Kalese Jones, Tylor Phillippe, Kayla Reno
Cum Laude: Olivia Fowler, Thomas Kabrick
Other Class of 2018 accolades include:
- Four graduating seniors attained Bright Flight status for their scores on the ACT: Maya Adams, Darek Jones, Kalese Jones, Tylor Phillippe.
- 71 of the graduates are in consideration for the A+ Scholarship, which allows students to attend a designated Missouri A+ school and receive tuition reimbursement.
- At the Senior Awards Ceremony on Friday morning, seniors were gifted over $1,245,423 in scholarship monies and donned with student honors.
- Eighteen seniors applied and were honored with the Gold Scholar Award, given by HHS to students who have met the requirements of attendance, GPA, A+, EOC, ACT, and extra-curricular involvement.
The 96 graduates seated in the West Gym on Sunday outnumbered last year’s class by over a dozen. Hallsville School District enrollment continues to grow by percent each year, equally a half classroom of students.
Superintendent Downs concluded, “The Hallsville School District is in a time of transition. Our student enrollment is now in the top 25 percent of Missouri districts, and we are still growing. Our children are truly blessed to live in a community that so strongly supports its public schools. Time and again, the citizens of Hallsville demonstrate their continuing commitment to providing a first-class education for each and every student. And the best evidence of our school’s quality is sitting right in front of you.”