GRADUATION 2011: The final rite of a new era

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Dual commencements honor trailblazing class

By Todd Martin

Words such as ecstatic, happy, proud and excited were tossed around, with quotes from Dr. Seuss, Christopher Robin and Nemo that focused on grasping the future ahead.


On Saturday, Shelby County’s first double graduation day in more than 30 years went off without a hitch.

There may have been two classes graduating, but the excitement came from Simpsonville, Shelbyville, Bagdad, Pleasureville and Waddy, with several of the same faces turning up at both commencements — including both parents and students.

With smaller senior classes, Shelby County High School and Collins High School were able to move the ceremonies back to their campuses, and the gyms at both schools were filled to the rafters. Every ticket was handed out, and an overflow crowd watched on closed-circuit broadcasts in the theaters at both schools.

And for the first time the graduations could be seen live online through the district’s Web site. More than 250 viewed the show, marking Shelby County as one of the first districts in Kentucky to broadcast it’s graduations live on the web — McCracken County Public Schools also broadcasted graduations this year.

Valedictorians Michaela Manley (SCHS) and Lindsay Tripp (Collins) thanked their parents, teachers and classmates but took different paths in their speeches.

Tripp discussed the changes Collins’ seniors have gone through.

“Last year came with big changes,” she said. “We were once united but split again for our senior year. We set a legacy for years to come.

“We’ve had four principals, three schedule changes and two schools. Change is inevitable, but we took it like champs.”

Manley talked about the fun times the seniors have shared, laughing ‘til they cried.

“And one of those times was yesterday [Friday],” she said. “When a certain somebody sat in a chair and it broke into pieces.

“Everyone tells us these past 12 years are the best of our life. But with cafeteria food, CATS tests and dress codes, I think there’ something seriously wrong with them…

“There’s a whole world outside those walls, and I encourage you to go get it.”


Graduates with honors

Cum Laude


Austen Anderson

Rachelle Ashcraft

Sarah Bailey

Samuel Bowersox

Krystal Carroll

Dustin Casey

Marissa Chamblee

Samuel Cleary

Kathryn Cunningham

Kayla Desurne

Brian Floyd

Anastasia Goodwin

Justin Hamilton

Alyssa Hickey

Kacey Hulker

Mercedes Jeffries

Bria Lawson

Alexis Mitchell

Serria Moore

Amanda Myers

Mitchell Nehez

Loraina O’Nan

Dora Padilla-Carias

Mackenzi Poehlein

Crystal Riley

Christopher Roley

Amanda Saylor

Sarah Spurlock

Bethany Stacy

Brent Tingle

Nicholas Toloczko

Kyle Washburn

Matthew Waurio

Adam White

Megan Williford

Ashley Young

John Zehnder


Ben Axline

Shayla Bolin

Branden Cresap

Austin Crowe

Briana Esposito

Cristell Flores

Cesar Vieyra

Bryce Gartman

Taylor Hammond

Jessica Hembree

Matthew Huff

Colleen Hughes

Christian Lentini

Lindsey Miller

Samantha Morgan

William Morris

Hannah Murphy

Olivia Myatt

Ashley Newton

Ashley Riley

Megan Russell

Tiffany Sharber

Brandon Shuck

Hannah Starner

Rachel Stewart

Tyler Tipton


Magna Cum Laude


Hannah Abbott

Alissa Beasley

Taylor Best

Tyler Bitzer

Kayla Brown

Greylyn Burk

Kristian Campbell

Sarah Carmickle

Dustin Casey

Patricia Dempsey

Evan Devers

Ryan Downs

Seth England

Logan Forrest

Ashley Frank

Adrienne Fow

Grant Kees

Laura Kelley

Elizabeth Lowden

Corey Lysher

Samantha Marston

Zachary McCarthy

Lindsey Merchant

Phillip Milburn

Jessica Morgan

Jordan Morris

Alexis Mosley

Kayla Nash

Nicollette Payne

Allison Phillips

Tyler Phillips

Anne Prather

Carol Robey

Caitlynn Rogers

Kyla Selby

Breanna Smith

Rachel Sparks

Shaina Sturgeon

Matthew Sweasy

Lane Taylor

Kayla Temple

Brandon Thompson

Brooke Whitaker


Dylan Ashcraft

Joshua Dennison

Emily Downs

Joshua Griffin

Courtney Hall

Kristyn Hickey

Christian Lacer

Taylor Leonard

Keira Lopez

Kaitlin Mullins

John Oakey

Leland Ratcliffe

Felix Romero

Carson Troutman

Aaron Wiggen


Summa Cum Laude


Kelcey Allen

Alyssa Anderson

Angel Ballew

Brittany Biram

Micah Broughton

Clayton Brown

Ivana Eiler

Kyle Frinak

Katherine Goebel

Stella Hundley

Akia Jones

James Karas

Abigail Lewis

Brittney Mahan

*Michaela Manley

Katelyn McNew

#Amanda Munsterman

Daniel Murphy

Stacey Neat

John Ruble

Courtney Rupert

Kristen Sexton

Machala Wells


Kylie Adams

Duane Clinton

Heather Luce

Elizabeth Sames

Kendyl Siebart

#Tanner Smith

Chelsea Stewart

Hillaree Tinsley

*Lindsey Tripp

Ellie Watts