Adair County High School recognized almost 200 of this year’s graduates last Friday night at the school’s commencement ceremony.
In front of a mostly packed John Burr Memorial Gym, speaker after speaker lauded the class for its accomplishments and resilience in the face of new challenges, particularly the Covid pandemic that made the past three school years anything but ordinary.
After graduates were seated, the ACHS Cadet Corps presented the colors and the ACHS concert band, led by Jordan Humphress, played the Star Spangled Banner. Class of ’22 grad Mackenzie Bennett then offered the invocation.
ACHS Principal Chad Parnell offered the welcoming speech, praising the class for success in the face of adversity.
“These students have persevered through a unique time,” Parnell said. “During March of their sophomore year, they were sent home from school. Their junior year was unusual as we were learning in-person and at home at the same time. While their senior year has been more normal, it was still rocky at times, but you know what? Despite the craziness of these past few years, these students have overcome obstacles, pursued their dreams, and proven that they’re ready to tackle the real world.”
Following Parnell, senior Kiara Collins spoke to her fellow classmates, providing words of encouragement to her peers in the Class of ’22.
“There are moments that define the type of person you are and the person you will become,” Collins said. “These moments are memories we all share – memories of school dances, field days, and pep rallies flood my mind, along with memories of tests, homework, and lessons taught to us.” She went on to explain how these lessons pushed the class forward both as students as well as young adults ready to go their own path.
After a trio of songs, Class President Noah Newell took the stage, challenging his classmates to live up to the lofty goals they and others have set for them. He quoted two of this era’s greatest poets, Drizzy Drake (“Started from the bottom now we here, started from the bottom now the whole team here”) and Tyler Childers (“Keep your nose to the grindstone”).
“We became a family when we joined together our fourth grade year at ACES,” Newell said. “Along the way, we have gained new friends, and some have moved away, but we will forever be family. Senior week has had me reflecting back on our time.”
He went on to describe the Senior Walk through campus and a young student looking up to him and saying, “That’s going to be me someday.”
“Think about that,” he said. “They looked at us and couldn’t wait to be in our shoes.”
After Newell’s speech, Mattie Willis introduced the night’s keynote speaker, Traci Pooler, Dean of Admissions at Lindsey Wilson College and mother of the Class of ‘22’s Lucas Pooler.
Pooler’s speech both recognized the class’s already impressive accomplishments and urged the students to continue striving for success in whatever field they choose going forward.
“Life, even at your young age, has already started teaching you lessons,” Pooler said. “Many of you have already experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, whether it’s in sports, band, FBLA, HOSA, or FFA, just to name a few. Some of you have fallen in love, had your heart broken, perhaps both. Some of you likely felt misunderstood, left out, or just unsure, while some of you juggled working, going to school, and at times helping family members.”
Following Pooler’s speech, Parnell presented this year’s graduates, Supt. Dr. Pam Stephens handed out diplomas, and Taylor Smith offered closing remarks.
The event ended with the annual Project Graduation, which continued early into Saturday morning. More photos from the commencement ceremony are below:
The County Line’s Education page is sponsored by Campbellsville University.