Fox brothers, Gill, Herndon top RHS award winners
By Jim Turner

Posted on June 1, 2014 8:57 PM

Brothers Jeffrey and Jason Fox won top scholastic honors at Russellville’s High School’s Commencement May 24 with Emilie Gill placing third.

Jeffrey was named valedictorian. He will attend the University of Louisville and pursue a double major in composition and biology. Jason was salutatorian. He will attend the WKU Honors College pursuing a double major in composition and geography. They are the sons of Brian and Susan Fox.

Emilie is the daughter of Sylvia and Judge Tyler Gill. She also will be part of the WKU Honors College, majoring in Fine Arts.

Councilman Jimmy Davenport presented the deGraffenried Award, which is given to the outstanding senior in each graduating class, as determined by a vote of the faculty. Thomas P. de Graffenreid was born, reared, and received his early education in Russellville. Upon his death in 1961, he bequeathed to the City of Russellville a large portion of his estate ‘to be used for the education of the people at large therein.’”

The deGraffenried Award winner was Sydney Herndon, daughter of Kevin and Bonnie Herndon.

In addition to those four, Principal Kim McDaniel announced that Kaitlynn Sarah Cisney, Trey Farlee, Kelsey Lynn Harris, Laura Grace Marksberry, Ethan Mullen and Malis Vanna finished in the top 10 academically.

McDaniel noted, “This year one of our Top 10 students was set apart from her classmates as the only Russellville High School senior also considered a full time college student.  Laura Grace Marksberry was enrolled in 12 or more hours each semester at WKU and made the President’s List both semesters.” She is the daughter of Alan and Christy Marksberry.

The featured speaker was the school’s media specialist, Susannah Nelson. In introducing her, Principal Kim McDaniel said, “Mrs. Nelson began her teaching career in our district 27 years ago. She taught seventh and eighth grade science and social studies before becoming the school media specialist—a position she has held for the past 24 years. As our current senior sponsor, she works diligently at the beginning of each year to ensure that each of you has memorable senior experience. This year was no exception. Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Nelson to the podium one last time.

Assistant Principal Brandon Blake recognized senior Ambassadors. Mallory Bush, Brittney Lyne and Herndon have served in that role three years, Jeffrey Fox two years and Esmeralda Vargas and Christian Naylor one year each.

McDaniel announced that five students have successfully completed the Upward Bound Program at Western Kentucky University and are enrolled in post-secondary education. They are Khalia Hampton, Lindsie Hutchison, Jayla Townsend, Ameeshia Taylor and DeVonna Sydnor.

McDaniel also mentioned that a former class member no longer living was been memorialized: “You may have noticed an empty seat in the 7th row.  This is the chair in which classmate Cameron Wayne Simpson would have sat had he not been taken from us on Dec. 4, 2008.  At this time Rycki’ Faith Morris will present Ms. Billie Simpson with Cameron’s cap, gown & diploma cover.”

As Mrs. Nelson read the names of the students, they were presented diplomas by Superintendent Leon Smith and Board Chair James Milam.


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