HOWARD CITY — One-hundred-thirty-three Tri County seniors said their goodbyes to the school that for the last four years has been their home away from home. Some were glad to be leaving, others mourned the passing of friendships that have endured since grade school.
As in past years, the school maintained its tradition of naming several valedictorians and salutatorians. From this group, three were chosen to address the parent-packed gymnasium audience — Khyllian Lowry, Landon Daley and Cassandra Dexter.
Lowry welcomed the gathering to the event, noting that their time at Tri County High School had passed all too quickly, but that the memories formed there would last a lifetime.
“We will all remember this, our graduation, and our last year of high school with lots of fondness,” Lowry said.
Tri County Superintendent Allen Cumings made note of the fact that 2014 had been a banner year for the school, remarking on honors gleaned by the marching band, athletic department and cheerleading squad. Cumings also noted that this year’s class of graduating seniors has been awarded more than $1 million in scholarships.
However, the best thing about this year’s crop of grads, he said, is the way they took the “Cool to be Kind” program to heart, boosting overall student morale and working to make the school an all-inclusive environment.
“It’s about treating people with respect and kindness,” Cumings said. “I hope you’ll remember how treating people in a positive manner has effected the people around you. Be the class that continues to show that you value people and relationships.”
Valedictorian Landon Dailey presented the class history, recalling events from elementary, middle and high school.
“As seniors we were finally at the peak of high school life,” he said. “We faced many controversies but in the end, we chose the right path. Tonight we are at the last page in this chapter of our lives, but our history will continue for years to come.”
Dailey also used his time at the podium to comment on new Tri County Principal Timothy Goheen’s Canadian accent. Goheen noted, jokingly, that it was probably a good thing for Dailey that he was graduating and wouldn’t be coming back to school the next day.
Former Tri County Principal Kurt Mabie delivered the commencement address, sharing a laundry list of important life lessons he has picked up during his tenure at the school. He advised the graduates to “shoot high” and go for the careers that they most loved, rather than settling for the first thing that came along.
“You should set goals for yourself,” Mabie said. “You should love what you do. I did. While others had to get up and go to a job every day, I got to do what I loved. Though I do admit,” he added, “there were times I prayed for a snow day.”
Finally, Valedictorian Cassandra Dexter bade farewell to the class of 2014, commenting on how difficult it is to say goodbye to “the people who have meant so much” to you.
“We’re done with the single thing that has taken up most of our time for the last 18 years,” she said. “It’s bittersweet, because we’re done. When we went to school today, went to our lockers, it was for the last time.
“But the thing to remember is there are so many opportunities opening up out there for us; each and every one of us has so much untaped potential. Each of us the opportunity to make a change … to leave our mark on the world, to change the world forever. We’ve had a good run, but now it’s on to bigger and better things.”