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JCHS 2010 class graduates

High schools all across the nation look forward to that pivotal day when they graduate their seniors from the halls of their youth to the world beyond.  For Johnson County High School seniors, that long awaited day was finally here for the class of 2010.  Saturday, May 29, 2010, was that special day.
This year marked the 87th commencement exercise for Johnson County High School.   As the 196 graduating students began their procession into the gymnasium, the Johnson County High School band played the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” under the direction of Saul Garland.  The audience rose as the nation’s anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” was played, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, led by graduating senior and student school board representative, Brittany Sluder.  Along with the Johnson County High Choir, Katie Augustine, soloist, gave a beautiful performance of “Break Away.” Singing a portion of the song in Italian, Kevin Eller performed a moving “The Prayer,” with the assistance of the talented choir.
Lisa Arnold, principal of Johnson County High School, wished the students well as they are about to embark upon their life’s journey.  On stage with Arnold were assistant principals Jim Crowder and Dan Wilson, along with Morris Woodring, Director of Schools, and Howard Carlton, Chairman of the Board of Education.  Board of Education members present included Kenneth Gregg, Bill Gambill and Ann Parsons.
The theme for this year’s five valedictorians was “Words To Live By.”  Lindsey Campbell, Lindsey DeBord, Stephen Joiner, Brittany Sluder and Wade Tugman were the valedictorians for the Class of 2010.  Campbell stood before her fellow students and happily announced, “This is it.”
While the students have worked hard over the years to get them to this day, Campbell spoke words of appreciation for parents, teachers and staff.  She quoted Eleanor Roosevelt with, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  Campbell challenged the graduating seniors to be diligent and to be bold.  She asked that the students not fear the future and define themselves as individuals. “Hold your head high and be ready for life,” she said. “We are the future.”  
Lindsey DeBord recognized that “among the sea of maroon, we are all distinct.”  She added, “We are graduates embarking on the journey of our lives.” Recognizing the drama, craziness and pure enjoyment the students have experienced over the years, she said, “Together we have conquered high school and are ready to move on the next chapter of life.” She threw down the gauntlet, asking students to give 100 percent and to always work hard.  In doing so, you will find the grand prize, DeBord added.  “Never neglect God and your families.” With enthusiasm in her voice, she congratulated her fellow classmates upon their achievements. “Congratulations, Johnson County Class of 2010, said DeBord, “We did it.”
Stephen Joiner stood before his graduating class and announced in an exuberant voice, “Today is the day that marks the beginning of the rest of our lives.”  Asking if anyone knew how many days they had spent in school, Derek Dickson shouted out “2,160 days!”  Amid the applause and cheers, Joiner continued his address to the audience. “Today all of that comes to an end,” he said.  Joiner recognized that many of his fellow classmates will go on to further education, into the military and out into the working world.  “The whole world awaits us,” said Joiner, “The only thing we have to decide is to reach out and take it.”  Challenging his fellow Longhorns, “Reach out and grab opportunity by the horn,” Joiner said.  He asked the students to embrace the future and not run away from it.  Quoting Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “ The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today,” said Joiner.  He recognized that the graduating students can learn from Roosevelt.  “We can all learn something about ourselves,”said Joiner.  He added that the students show not fear tomorrow. Joiner spoke to the hearts of his classmates as he ended his speech.  “We are now and forever Longhorns,” said Joiner.
“We finally made it, “ said valedictorian Brittany Sluder as she stood before the large crowd of students, friends and family.  Recognizing that their school years had been the best years of their lives, she added, “Now you are an adult.”  Acknowledging that the graduating students had been given great advice from their parents, families and teachers, she added that there was a lot of knowledge to be obtained from the famous Dr. Seuss.  Sluder shared a quote from Dr. Seuss that she believes sums up each of their lives. “You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.  You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.  You’re the guy who’ll decide where to go.” Adding that sometimes the greatest advice comes in the simplest forms, Sluder challenged her fellow classmates to be confident, decide where they want to go in life and not to be afraid of the unknown.  “We can’t turn back,” Sluder added, “Look to the future.”  She reminisced of times in grade school, middle school and high school, Friday night football games and prom.  Sluder closed with words of wisdom as she challenged he classmates to “never forget where it all began.”
Wade Tugman opened his valedictorian speech with a quote from Arthur Ashe, “From what we get we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” Tugman reflected  “It is often said that during high school we find out who we really are.”  He gave credit to teachers who challenge the students to learn to think for themselves.  “Everyone has a special quality,” Tugman said, “Every individual can make a difference in the lives of others.” Advising his classmates to reflect on past experiences, he challenged them to take away with them what they have learned during their school years.  Wishing the class the best in the future, all five valedictorians stood together, putting on sunglasses, and together in unison said, “And the future is so bright we have to wear shades.”
At this time, Lisa Arnold presented to Mr. Woodring the Class of 2010.  Amid applause and cheers, Woodring gave words of advice to the senior class. “Education is a life-long process,” he said. “Always strive to broaden your life.”  Woodring added, “You are responsible for who you become.” As Woodring pronounced that the Class of 2010 were Johnson County High School graduates, the students and guests whooped, cheered and hollered in excitement.
Each student walked across the stage as their name and parents’ names were announced. With lots of hugs, the students were congratulated as they were handed their diploma.  Several excited students lifted Principal Arnold up in the air as they eagerly crossed the stage, ready to begin their new lives.  While all students were recognized, Matthew Miller drew a thunderous applause as he was wheeled onto the stage. Rising from his chair, Miller was assisted across the stage to receive his diploma, with the smile on his face touching the hearts of many and lighting up the room.
Senior Student Council Member Carli Smith asked her fellow classmates to rise and instructed them to turn the tassels.  With caps flying and broad smiles, the students proudly sang the Johnson County High School Alma Mater.  The students filed out of the gymnasium to “Marche Des Parachutistes Belges,” arrangement by Pierre Leemans, ready to face their future.