Graduation 2018: Colleton County High School
by The Press and Standard | June 14, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: June 12, 2018 at 6:54 pm
The Class of 2018 nearly doubles
previous scholarship awards with
By CINDY CROSBY
Colleton County High School held the Class of 2018 Commencement Ceremony on Friday June 8, 2018 at Cougar Stadium — the first evening ceremony in the history of Colleton County High School with 384 graduate candidates presented by Dr. Melissa Crosby.
The Class of 2018 boasts impressive statistics, nearly doubling previous scholarship awards with a historic $9,373,125 total — including $717,500 in South Carolina Education Lottery Scholarships and $8,655,625 in other scholarships including military, local and national awards.
The Class of 2018 had 183 senior Career and Technology Completers (30 juniors), 22 double completers and three triple completers with 15 National Technical Honor Society members and 71 students with National Certification.
Academically, 65 members of the Class of 2018 had a 4.0 or greater, while 171 of 347 students were ranked with a 3.0 or higher.
Following the processional of graduates through Cougar Field House, the Presentation of Colors was given by the Colleton County High School NJROTC, along with the National Anthem. Third Honor Graduate Keeley Marshall Murdaugh gave the invocation.
Autumn Lee Green, salutatorian, welcomed the standing-room-only crowd to Cougar Stadium, opening with the following: “Good evening fellow classmates, friends, family, faculty, and staff. It is an honor and a pleasure to be the Class of 2018’s salutatorian. There are many people who have helped us make it this far in our lives, and I would like to offer a few of them a well-deserved thank you. First and foremost, I would like to give the honor and the glory to God, for He has helped many others and I make this journey through life. I would also like to say thank you to the Superintendent (Dr. Foster), the Board of Trustees, the Principal (Dr. Crosby), the incoming Principal (Mr. Cannon) other administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, and staff members. These people helped to shape our education and to push us to do the best that we could to be capable of graduating from this high school. I would also like to thank the parents and our peers for giving us the motivation and the skills to graduate high school and enter the world as the adults we will become.”
Senior Class President Riley Bailey Phillips presented the Class of 2018’s gift, a large white tent, to Dr. Melissa Crosby for future use.
First Honor Graduate Tejas Anil Patel gave his valedictory address, citing an old proverb that compares life to roads traveled. “Life is like roads, with twists, turns, bumps, forks, and potholes,” said Patel. “These things tend to slow us down from getting to our destination; however, there are pit stops along the way to give us motivation. In our case, these pit stops were our parents, friends, family members, and most importantly, teachers who have pushed us to this moment. That is why I recommend to you, graduates, to always remember to appreciate these people, for without them, being here would be impossible. Mom, Dad, again, thank you for making me the person I am today and supporting me along the way.”
He went on to say, “Graduates, as we move on from high school, I want to take the time to remind you all of the fact that our high school moments now are like old clothes we loved to wear. No matter how hard we try to squeeze into them, they just never seem to fit. Therefore, I urge you guys to be open to new experiences, while keeping our high school moments in our memories.”
The presentation of the 2018 graduation candidates was given by Principal Dr. Melissa Crosby, followed by the presentation of diplomas and certificates by Dr. Crosby; Dr. Franklin Foster, superintendent of schools; and Charles Murdaugh, chairman of the Colleton County School Board; Anna Bright and Shon Johnson. They were assisted by the CCHS counselors and the Class of 2018 advisors.
Following the Turning of the Tassels, led by Riley Phillips, the Class of 2018 followed tradition, tossing their flowers, along with a few water bottles, into the air. Following the singing of the Alma Mater, Garrett Joseph Tyler, student body president, held the benediction.
The Class of 2018 recessional “Pomp and Circumstance” closed the ceremony. Graduates, enjoying the cooler temperatures of the evening ceremony, converged upon the grounds with family and friends for photo opportunities as alumni of Colleton County High School – Class of 2018.
Honorary diplomas were presented to five families in memory of Class of 2018 students during the graduation ceremony: James Thomas Waters, Imajea Diamond Holmes, Auston Joseph Ray Holland, Martin Rashad Capers and Erica Kiana Caldwell. Five empty chairs held their diplomas and a ceremonial balloon release honored their memory.
The following members of the Class of 2018 were recognized as a Palmetto Fellows: Cassidy Carter, Lauren Chewning, Rachel Dandridge, David Fanchette, Autumn Green, Daryn Hooker, Keeley Murdaugh, Tejas Patel, Hunter Polk, Campbell Pryor, Alicia Roberson, Garrett Tyler, Sydney Wolfe and Miriam Yale.
Head marshals from the Class of 2019 were Lance Calcutt and Thomas Warren. Marshals were James Bunton, William Collins, Kensley Dantzler, Cameron Coursen, Hermosa Sanders, Dyneira Brown, Dalton Moore and Elizabeth McLaughlin. Ushers included Shornden McCloud, Wyatt O’Quinn, Laura Lucas, Abigail Branch, Jimeque Brown, Alexandria Eaddy, Terrence Brown, Rylee Chandler, Lacey Stanley and Caroline Duffie.
“The Class of 2018 was a class of firsts: first to graduate at night in Cougar Stadium, first to surpass the $9 million threshold in scholarships, and first to have 183 CATE completers,” said Dr. Melissa Crosby. “The county has much to be proud of and it was my distinct pleasure to be part of this set of ‘firsts.’ I wish the graduates much success as they enter the next chapter of their lives.”