Local high school students from Madisonville and North Zulch graduated this weekend at the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum at Sam Houston State University and the North Zulch gymnasium surrounded by loved ones.
The Madisonville graduates were played unto the floor by the Madisonville High School varsity band led by Stephanie Schmidt. The band also played their rendition of the National Anthem.
Multiple graduates would speak during the ceremony, including Senior Class Historian Bridget Morrow, Student Body Representative Evan Guderian, Salutatorian Morgan Manning, Valedictorian Gerardo Lopez and Senior Class Treasurer Matt Rudis delivered the Benediction.
“Throughout these 14 years of school, we have shown the ability to cope with deadlines, social stress and major life lessons,” said Lopez. “As we leave high school, hopefully we will remember all of the knowledge we have gained and the future will present you with opportunities as you move forward.”
MCISD officials were also on hand and spoke on behalf of the class of 2018, including Superintendent Keith Smith. Madisonville High School Principal Heath Brown took the stage and listed the classes accomplishments in athletics and other extracurricular activities as well as scholarship recipients.
“I believe that these accomplishments are an indicator of the talents and abilities of these young adults sitting here today,” said Brown. “I am truly proud to say I have watched most of you grow up before my eyes. The faculty and staff at each MCISD campus loves you and wishes the best possible future for each and every one of you.”
Brown was the one to officially confirm the graduates before diplomas were handed out by Board of Trustee members Dr. Mark Bennett, Dr. Jason Cleere, Mike Corley, Dale Hurst, Zingara Manning, Greg McBee and Dennis McWhorter.
The graduation in the main gymnasium for the North Zulch seniors was set up so that the families of the graduates would also sit floor level behind their senior. The graduates were placed in front of the stage on either side and entered through the middle of the crowd.
Multiple students and administrators spoke at the ceremony including Elijah Huffman, Cassidy Brown, Eliza Lazenby, Salutatorian Emma Baker, Valedictorian Sally Osth, Assistant Principal Johan Osth and Principal Kendall Todd. Kevin Nichols performed the National Anthem and the Benediction was given by Mary-Anna Haggard.
“My first day at North Zulch was August 26, 2010, the first day of fifth grade,” said Sally Osth to the crowd. “I remembered how new kids were treated at my old school, so my hopes were not very high. Imagine my great surprise then, when the other kids started coming over and talking to me like I belonged. I would soon find out that this is just what you do at North Zulch. For better or worse, all forty of us are a family: dysfunctional, messy and usually divided, but a family nonetheless.”
The ceremony was also used to officially recognize all scholarship recipients from the class of 2018. Multiple local businesses and organizations were on hand to present a certificate to the student that earned their donated scholarship.
Along with the stage and chairs that lined the gym floor, the graduation featured a projector so that the families could enjoy a slideshow of the seniors throughout their entire North Zulch careers.
To conclude the ceremony, the lights in the gymnasium were shut off and family members were asked to use the flashlights on their phones. Their senior then found them in the dark and offered them a rose for all of their support throughout their journeys.