Baugh, Fox, Oakley lead RHS class scholars
By Donna Gholson

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Donna Gholson is public relations director for Russellville Independent Schools.

Russellville High School’s 88th annual Commencement ceremony, held on Saturday, May 28, recognized the achievements of a very high-performing, well motivated and talented class.
The RHS band set the tone with their rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance,” played while graduating seniors processed into the Jim Young gymnasium. After the band played the National Anthem, John Myers, RHS principal, gave opening remarks and introduced Sarah Fox, senior class president. In her comments to the class, Fox mentioned that hers would not be the standard speech, since this was not the standard graduating class. She talked about each classmate’s uniqueness, mentioning the senior class project as an example. Each class member had a square of a mural to decorate in his/her own style. Fox said that the examination of each square told a unique story about the designer. Each square contributed to the class of 2011’s story and after each square was joined, the mural was complete. She concluded her speech by telling each classmate to consider who he/she wanted to be and to become that unique and special person.
After her address, Philip Clemons sang “The Prayer.” Clemons, whose voice is indicative of a strong possibility of future fame in the music business, caused many to reach for tissues to wipe teary eyes. When he finished his song, Myers mentioned how much PJ’s voice and talents would be missed at RHS.
The solemn tone was lightened by the showing of the senior video, which highlighted each class member’s growth from babyhood to high school graduate.
Perhaps one of the most significant parts of the ceremony was the announcement of student awards and scholarships. First Southern National Bank honored the top 10 graduates with $25 gift certificates with which they could open checking accounts. Pictures of these students will be displayed in the bank for a year. This year’s top ten graduates are Kimberly Baugh, John Corum, Sarah Fox, Leandra Hoosier, Matthew Oakley, William Orndorff, Shannon Pate, Naomi Sells, Miranda Webster, and Raymond VanZee.
Twenty-one students were recognized for educational excellence (GPA of 3.5 or higher) and educational achievement (GPA of 3.0-3.4). The Commonwealth Diploma was awarded to four seniors who met the rigorous set of criteria for that honor. Receiving the Commonwealth Diploma this year are Kimberly Baugh, Sarah Fox, Matthew Oakley, and Naomi Sells. Kathy Vonlehman, RHS guidance counselor, announced the winner of the prestigious deGraffenried award, presented to an outstanding senior as determined by a vote of the faculty. Philip Clemons was named the recipient of the deGraffenried Award this year.
Principal Myers announced students from the class of 2011 who received scholarships and awards to aid them in furthering their post high school education. Scholarship/award recipients are: Dylan Anderson - Sally Moody Flowers Scholarship, Buick Achievers Scholarship, KSSA Certification, Construction; Kimberly Baugh - WKU Award of Excellence Scholarship, National Wild Turkey Federation Scholarship, Logan/Todd Longbeards Chapter Scholarship, Jean Cole Girl Scout Scholarship, Lowes Scholarship, FBLA Scholarship, Drive the Dream Scholarship; Ryan Bibb - East Logan Water Scholarship, Marketing Skills Standards Certificate, Leona Carrico Scholarship; Elyse Brock - DECA National Competition Qualification, Sports and Entertainment Marketing Research, Diana Hutchings Evans Glasgow Scholarship; Rachel Brumett - Republican Women’s Scholarship, KSSA Certification, Communications; Davon-ta Bryant - Campbellsville University Scholarship; Layton Bush - Julian W. Potter Educational Scholarship, WKU College Heights Scholarship; Philip Clemons Jr. - University of Louisville Woodford R. Porter Scholarship, FCA Scholarship, Malachi Richmond Scholarship, MNA Program with CNA Certification, Oddvar Berg Scholarship; John Corum - WKU Award of Excellence Scholarship; Sarah Fox - WKU Presidential Scholarship, Kiwanis Scholarship, NHS State Scholarship, Boardwalk Pipeline Scholarship, Kentucky Farm Bureau State Scholarship, Athena Cage Music Scholarship, Third District Band Scholarship, ELKS State Scholarship, GEAR UP Scholarship, Panther Spirit Award from RHS Alumni Association, Mary Hope Henry Scholarship; Brittany Hampton - Kelly Russell Award, Alpha Kappa Alpha Scholarship; Eugene Hampton - Masonic Lodge Scholarship; Victor Hampton - DECA National Competition Qualification, Sports and Entertainment Marketing Research, State Champion, Track; Victoria Hampton - Kiwanis Scholarship; Leandra Hoosier - Consumer and Family Management Certificate; Taylor Kerr - Sally Moody Flowers Scholarship, CIC Foundation Scholarship; Matthew Oakley - WKU Governor’s Scholar Scholarship, WKU Ogden Scholarship, GEAR UP Scholarship, FBLA Scholarship, KSSA Certification, Administrative Support, FOP Scholarship, Drive the Dream Scholarship; William Orndorff - Rotary Scholarship, Pharmacy Tech Program; Shannon Pate - DAR Good Citizens Award, DECA National Competition Qualification, Hospitality and Tourism Research, Teachers of Logan County Scholarship, Murray State University Scholarship; Mallory Priddy - DECA National Competition Qualification, Hospitality and Tourism Research, Rotary Scholarship; Derrick Quarles - UK William C. Parker Minority Scholarship, Heisman Winner, School Level, Panther Spirit Award from RHS Alumni Association, Kelly Russell Award, UK Football Team;Stephanie Ramsey - MNA Program with CNA Certification, Logan Memorial Scholarship; Tameeka Rippy - Democratic Women’s Club Scholarship; Naomi Sells - University of Louisville Woodford R. Porter Scholarship, KSSA Certification, Administrative Support, DECA National Competition Qualification, Hospitality Services Team; Jessica Stuart - Sally Moody Flowers Scholarship, KSSA Certification, Communications; Adam Taylor - DECA National Competition Qualification, Internet Marketing Plan; Rontory Todd - University of Louisville William C. Parker Minority Scholarship; Raymond VanZee - WKU Ashland ARTP-POD Scholarship, Dudley H. Moseley Memorial Scholarship, Joseph Hardy Scholarship; James Williams - KSSA Certification, Communications.
Each year, trophies are presented to the top three seniors, based on their final grade point average. This year there was a tie for Salutatorian. Sharing that honor were Matthew Oakley and Sarah Fox. The Valedictorian award went to Kimberly Baugh. The top three graduating seniors will each attend Western Kentucky University, where they have already attained a total of over 100 college credit hours and will start their college careers as sophomores.
After receiving her valedictorian trophy, Baugh came to the podium to give a short valedictory address. In her address, she said that all of their lives, she and fellow classmates were told to rise to the occasion. “We were all told in one way or another, to rise,” she said. She challenged classmates to rise above everything that stands in their way. She also told classmates to remember life lessons their teachers taught them. Among those lessons, she stated, “Be kind when you are right, and be humble when you win.” She ended her speech by thanking the faculty, her classmates and their families, and then encouraged her fellow classmates to “Just rise!”
After the awards part of the ceremony concluded, Leon Smith, superintendent, presented the class of 2011 to the school board and stated that they had met all of the requirements for graduation. James Milam, board chairman, had some comments to give, and he and the other board members conferred the diplomas as senior coordinator Susannah Nelson read the names of each graduating senior. Milam stated in his comments that the people in his life that he’ll always remember are the teachers he had while he was a student at RHS. He read the graduating class a poem which reflected on the importance and the nostalgia of high school years.
After the singing of the high school alma mater, moving of tassels, and closing remarks by John Myers, the RHS 88th annual commencement came to a close, with senior graduates greeting family and friends.

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