McLean County High School graduated 102 students Thursday during its commencement at the high school in Calhoun.
One of the major challenges the class of 2023 faced was the COVID-19 pandemic, which greatly impacted its first two years of high school.
“They had two years, or a year and a half, that they were at the house, so this group has really come back, and I’m so proud of them for what they’ve done,” said John Howard, school board chair.
Graduates said they were able to grow from the experience and had a unique educational experience, seeing the beginning and end of a pandemic.
“I think that during high school, being COVID’s kids, we learned to overcome adversity, and we’ve gone through a lot and have grown together,” salutatorian Maria Blades said.
Despite the hardships of the pandemic, students said they made the best out of the situation.
“Our first three years were kinda crazy, but senior year has turned it all around, and it’s been a great year.” said Kyndal Daughtery, class president.
“This is the first normal year they’ve had,” superintendent Tommy Burrough said. “We came in last year without masks at the end of the year, so they had that type of normalcy, but at the end of the year, it just carried over to this year.”
More from this section
The graduates are looking forward to their academic and business futures.
“In the fall I will be attending Western Kentucky University, where I’m going to double major in fashion merchandising and marketing,” Blades said. “In the future I plan to go into being an entrepreneur; I want a business, possibly a boutique, possibly to give back to the community.”
Many of the seniors are looking forward to making contributions within McLean County.
“I’ll be going to (the University of Kentucky) in the fall to major in kinesiology, hopefully to get into the physical therapy program,” valedictorian Hannah Bolton said. “My goal would probably be to become a physical therapist and come back here and help the people where there may not be local physical therapy and bring something close to where it may be needed.”
Some students looked to give back not just to the community, but to the school system.
“I’ll be moving to Lexington and going to Midway University to play soccer; I’ll be majoring in secondary education, mathematics, general mathematics and graphic design,” Daughtery said. “I want to be a high school math teacher and coach soccer, and I want to be a professor and coach at the collegiate level, and my end goal is to get back into the district school system and work my way up to be a superintendent.”
Howard credited the work teachers put in to get the class off to a strong start academically, despite the obstacles.
“(Teachers) worked twice as hard as they would if they just had them in the classroom trying to work,” he said. “Teachers have really done a super job.”
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.