Receiving their diplomas: Callaway graduates leave with over $1 million in scholarships

Published 11:07 pm Thursday, May 23, 2019

Callaway High School held its graduation ceremony Thursday night at Callaway Stadium as hundreds of local students officially finished the high school chapter of their lives.

Callaway principal Jonathan Laney said the students had more than $1 million in scholarships, not counting Hope Scholarship funding. At least five students in the class were expected to join the military.

Laney took over as principal four years ago, so the 2019 class was the first group of students he got to lead completely through Callaway High School.

“As my first freshmen class, you hold a special place in my heart,” Laney said. “Together, we have come so far and tonight I want to express how grateful I am for the time we spent together.”

Laney encouraged the class to change the world through small acts of kindness, reminding them that even helping a perfect stranger with a simple task may make a huge difference.

“Acts as simple as saying please and thank you or offering help to a perfect stranger with the smallest of tasks … small kindnesses such as these have the power to change our world,” Laney said.

Salutatorian Kelsey Wessinger began her speech with a little humor.

“I am honored to receive the title of salutatorian,” Wessinger said. “I cannot think of a better way to spend my last days of high school doing anything other than an additional writing assignment.”

Valedictorian Juliette Stone told her classmates to let faith drive them through difficult times and to lean on their family — their Callaway family.

“When the going gets tough, lean on your family,” Stone said “Not just those in the stands, but those sitting right next to you. We are all a family and will always be supportive of one another.”

Stone also told students that she believed all of them would overcome any hardships and become whatever they set their minds to.

“I fully believe we are all going to be what we aspire to be. In fact, the moment of moving forward and reaching toward ultimate goals has never been closer,” Stone said. “We have just taken the first step. Right here and now we are beginning the rest of our lives.”

There were a total of 201 students in the class and all received their diplomas from Laney and shook hands with Interim Superintendent Dr. Roy Nichols. Thursday’s graduation was the first to utilize the new jumbotron at Callaway Stadium, allowing parents to see their students receive their diplomas on the video board.  At the end of the ceremony, students flipped their tassels to officially become Callaway graduates.

“This morning we were high schoolers,” Wessinger said. “Tonight, we are graduates.”