Archive for Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Class of 2006

Tonganoxie bids farewell to 105 seniors during ceremonies

May 17, 2006

This year's Tonganoxie High School valedictorian hasn't been a Chieftain as long as most of his classmates, but Micah Titterington said THS had something his previous school did not -- a sense of community.

Titterington gave a valedictory address during Saturday's graduation at Beatty Field.

The senior became a Tonganoxie student as a sophomore, coming from a large Ohio high school with an enrollment of roughly 2,000.

Titterington was one of 105 Tonganoxie High seniors who received a diploma in front of another overflow crowd at the school's football stadium.

Titterington spoke about his classmates, from Kent Fleming being named Mr. THS, to Garrett Kelly's "special talent" for singing.

The valedictorian also spoke about Tonganoxie's tallest senior, Rhett Clark, who stands at 6-foot-10.

"And who can forget about Rhett," Titterington said. "I know I can't, considering he is one of the few people who is taller than me."

Titterington also recalled Clark wearing an old "and perhaps undersized" soccer uniform for spirit week during homecoming festivities last fall.

"I'm still fairly sure that those shorts did not meet the dress code," Titterington joked.

During his address, Titterington urged classmates to take four things from high school as the seniors go their separate ways: mistakes, successes, relationships and memories.

"It doesn't matter how many A's you got or how smart you are. If you don't take these experiences and build up character and learn to relate with others, then you have failed," Titterington said.

The senior also borrowed words from Mohandas Gandhi to explain his thoughts: "the things that will destroy us is ... knowledge without character."

Titterington said "your character, values and personality are just as important as your intellect."

In closing, Titterington wished his classmates the best.

"Whether you're going away to Washington, D.C., or staying as close to home as Lawrence or Tonganoxie, from me to you, good luck, and God bless," Titterington said.

Four salutatorians also were recognized -- Garrett Kelly, Zack Pistora, Spencer Seman and Austin Young.

At the beginning of graduation, as seniors filed into the stadium, the THS band played "Pomp and Circumstance."

Senior Mollie Osborne gave the welcome.

She spoke about the countdown to graduation day. Whether it was a school day in September or last week, the question remained the same.

"We still have that many days left?" Osborne said.

While Titterington quoted Ghandi, Osborne borrowed comedian Larry the Cable Guy's catch-phrase.

"Let's get 'er done," Osborne said.

A senior ensemble sang "Please Remember," as Paula Prosser sang and played the guitar, with Joey Glenn singing by her side.

During her high school career, Prosser sang on the CBS show "Star Search" and performed the national anthem at many THS basketball games. Glenn, meanwhile, signed with a Nashville recording studio during her high school days.

Other THS students joined the seniors as part of the Chieftain Singers and performed "Maybe Someday."

As is tradition, local scholarships were presented and outside scholarships announced.

Foreign exchange students from three countries spent the 2005-2006 school year at THS. Erman Gultekin, from Turkey, and Gabriela Barboza-Montiel and Jose Julio Orozco-Mestrel, both from Mexico, were recognized during graduation. Sophie Herzog, from Germany, headed home before Saturday.

Principal Tatia Shelton said the Class of 2006 accumulated more than $591,000 in college scholarships and scholarships from other organizations.

Although the area experienced overcast skies last week, Saturday's weather proved to be perfect for the outdoor ceremony. School officials planned to move the ceremony to Kansas City Kansas Community College if it rained, but skies cleared and graduation once again was held at the stadium. Because the THS gymnasium is being renovated, officials had selected the KCKCC fieldhouse as the alternate site for graduation ceremonies.

That, however, was a moot point, as the Class of 2006 members officially became alumni when they received their diplomas at Beatty Field.

After the awarding of the diplomas, the seniors threw their caps into the air and let silly string fly.

When all the post-graduation pictures were shot and hugs exchanged, the seniors went to IncrediBOWL in Overland Park for Project Grad activities.

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