White County High School graduates 110th class
By Andy Southard | May 17, 2018 12:26 pm
The Class of 2018 gathered on Dee Harris Field, on May 14, 2018, while an overflow crowd filled both the home and visiting side bleachers and the track inside Warrior Stadium. It was the 110th commencement exercise of WCHS.
Nathan Aaron, WCHS assistant principal, opened the ceremony when he welcomed everyone to the graduation.
The White County High School JROTC Color Guard would then present the colors, while everyone in the stadium recited the Pledge of Allegiance. After the Pledge, Andrew Cantrell led the invocation.
After the invocation, Madison Qualls introduced WCHS Assistant Principal Tim Mackie. Mackie stated that this class had received over $5 million in scholarship money, and over 151 students at WCHS had obtained the TN Promise Scholarship.
After Mackie was finished, the valedictorian and salutatorian presented their speeches.
The theme for graduation this year was “Building a Legacy.” Salutatorian Bryce Wilcoxson gave his speech titled “Laying a Strong Foundation.” After his speech, valedictorian Heidi Whitaker presented her speech titled by the same title. After Whitaker’s speech, Principal Grant Swallows took the stage.
Swallows talked about his four years with the senior class. He mentioned that one thing he will always remember about this class is their leadership. He stated that during the homecoming pep rally this year, the senior class did not win, but as he was watching them because he thought they were going to get mad, they did something else. They brought the whole school together in the middle of the basketball court, and they cheered louder than he has ever heard. He said that they brought everyone together that day.
Swallows closed out his speech by saying, “Be those leaders – go into the world, and be the leader I know you can be. Lead by being a good student or employee. Don’t let high school be the best years of your life.”
Director of White County Schools Kurt Dronebarger took the stage and accepted the graduating class and delivered truck driver tips that he learned from his dad that apply to life.
Dronebarger started off by saying, “Keep right, stay in the right lane of life. If you get in the wrong lane, then make sure you get in the right lane.”
His next point was, “Stay in your lane, do the right thing, and stay in your lane.”
His last point was, “Use your turn signal. Give people in your life good signals. Show up on time, give a good handshake, and where ever life takes you, give good signals.”
As each graduate walked across the stage, Gary Alspaugh read the names. Swallows presented the diploma, a photo was snapped, and they were greeted at the end of the stage by Dronebarger, school board members, high school administration, State Representative Paul Sherrell, and administration from the central office.
After each graduate received his or her diploma, Morgan Spohn, senior class president, took the stage. Spohn accepted the diplomas on behalf of the class and led them in the traditional turning of the tassels. Eli McCormack then led the closing prayer.
After the closing prayer, Swallows took the stage. After a brief fire behind him, Swallows told the graduating class that he felt like they should end graduation the way he felt explained this class the best, with the drum line. The WCHS drum line then marched in and played for the WCHS graduating class. After the drum line finished, the caps were thrown in the air. Family and friends hugged, laughed, cried, and took lots of photos.
When the night ended, another class had joined the ranks of WCHS alumni, which now consist of 110 years of former students.