BUCKHANNON — Buckhannon-Upshur High School faculty, Board of Education members, graduating seniors and their families gathered at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium on Friday, May 21 to take part in the 2021 commencement ceremony.
The Class of 2021 was finally able to put the “year of Covid” behind them and celebrate their accomplishments together as a class. This was the first time many of the classmates had been together in person for months. While trying to maintain safety, the school put together a beautiful celebration to showcase the tenacity of Upshur County’s graduates.
As the blue and white caps and gowns began to flood the stadium, the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Band led by Mr. Garrett Friend played the traditional march “Pomp and Circumstance” by Edward Elgar. Once all the students approached their seats, Elizabeth O’Neill performed the “The Star-Spangled Banner” arranged by Steve Paul. B-UHS Principal Mr. Jonathan Pollock then welcomed the Class of 2021. The cheers of parents, friends and teachers were deafening as they celebrated the students’ culmination of their high school careers.
“The Upshur County community has been most welcoming, compassionate and caring, and incredibly cohesive on the one topic that really matters—our kids,” said Pollock.
Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus expressed, “We wish you well, Class of 2021, and I can’t wait to see all the great things that you will accomplish, as you have already shown how resilient and amazing you really are.”
Three seniors were selected by their peers to speak during the ceremony. These students were Kennedy Samargo, Samuel Squires and Iris Tenney. One by one, the students addressed their class and shared special memories from their times together.
“The graduating Class of 2021 has been the textbook definition of persistence, as we have faced and overcome the adversity placed before us over the last year,” said Samargo. “When we set goals, we must do it for ourselves.” Samargo also took a moment to pay respect to a student whose life was stripped away too soon. “To the Davis family, I’m not going to stand before you and act like I know the pain you are going through today and every day,” Samargo stated. “We must trust that God only calls the young home when they have made a lasting impact that he so planned.”
“After a long four years, we finally made it to this day. We made it through all the elbow bump Fridays, two teacher strikes, and not to mention a global pandemic,” said Squires. “For many, including myself, we have not seen everyone together since our junior year.” Squires continued to thank teachers and coaches for their impact on his life as he concluded, “Once a Buccaneer, always a Buccaneer!”
“Later on, we can look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we beat the odds that may have been stacked against us,” Tenney asserted. “Mistakes will be made along the way, that’s guaranteed. We will stumble and fall, but we will surely get back up and keep trying because we will forever be B-U strong.”
Mr. Jeremiah Smallridge directed the Buckhannon-Upshur “Sound Waves” in singing “Riversong: A Celtic Celebration” by Roger Emerson accompanied by Sharon Walton, Jonathan Pollock, Garret Friend, Brandon Williams, Chelsea Humphrey and Leah Crihfield. The group also performed the Alma Mater accompanied by the B-UHS Band.
The diplomas were presented by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Stankus and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison. Board of Education President Tammy Samples and Vice President Katie Loudin assisted, along with board member Patrick Long.
The graduating class consisted of 207 students. Those students are as follows: Donovan J. Abel, Emily Elizabeth Adams, Nathan C. Allen, Jada Sky Anderson, Christopher M. Arbogast, Elijah Arbogast, Ashlynn Bailey, Benjamin Dale Ball, Zachary Barcus, Sarah Bean, Taylor M. Black, John K. Bohman II, Ryan A. Bosley, Rebel Alan Lee Bowman, Gracie Marie Boyles, Austin M. Brock, Jeremy Todd Brown, Ariah Brown, Brooklyn T. Bryant, Brier J. Burgess, James C. Burnside, James Charles Dewey Burr, Logan Cain, Bailey Nicole Carpenter, Brandi Carpenter, Cheyanna M. Carpenter, Graci Erin Carr, Phillip Carr, Patrick D. Casada Jr., Kellie Casto,
Atayllia Chapman, Brooklynn Paige Chidester, Savannah L. Chipps, Jackson F. Clark, Damien Claypool, Kaleigh Clickman, David A. Coe, Lexus Sierra Coffman, Alexis M. Cogar, Hunter L. Cohen, Michael Paul Coleman, Abigail “Daniel” J. Colthart, Elizabeth Cool, Dylan Cornett, William T. Courtney, Leah Crihfield, Alexis Makiah Crowell, Kameron Tyler Currence, Carter Chase Curry, Kali Grace Curry, Kessa Lee Curtis, Autumn Cutright, Rocky Cutright, Vincent Paul Dahman, Ashleigh E. Damon, Brendan Robert Daughtery, Gavin Daughtery, Lillian Davis, Alexandria A. Dean, Patricia Sue Dean, Troy C. Delaney, Olivia C. Douty, Emily H. Dowell, Frank Davisson Ellis, Cody Dale Farrar, Lane Jacob Fennell, Mary Danielle Fisher, Jadynce Reann Fultineer, Taylor Paige George, Hunter James Given, Tate B. Glover, Ashtyn Leann Goodman, Jordyn Leslie Goss, Aaron Grubb, Aneysia T. Halseth, Alisa Faith Harris, Harley Brook Harvey, Morgan Heatherly, Seth Paul Hensil, Hailey Hinchman, Tyler S. Hinkle, Layla Hite, Julius Hobbs, Angel Hoover, Waylon R. Hoover, Albert Howard, Atlee Howes, Garrett Paul Howes, Shelby Howes, Heather N. Humphrey, Braiden M. Hurst, Ryan Michael Hurst, Noah Parker Jordan, Irelynn Keigley, Noam G. Keith, Taylor Daisy Kelley, Byer Luke Ketterman, Jacob Nathaniel Kincaid, Brandon E. Landis, Brittany Landis, Kiley Landis, Ethan Lawrence, Tasha LeAnn Lahman, Laikelyn Jaide Leggett, Ethan Everett Linger, Sarah Elizabeth Linger, Kimberly Linville, Jadon Hugh Littler, Joshua Loudin, Zoe A. Loudin, Zachary T. MacMaster, Abagail Nicole McCartney, William L. McCauley, Alyssa S. McGee, Dakota McIe, Zakary Michael Lee Merriman, Kaleb Sean Messenger, Austin J. Metz, Leah Jo Moore, Kiley R. Mueller, Brianna Nicole Myers, Alayna Nicole Nesbitt, Alexis Anna Marie Noel, Kathryn L. Nolan, Margaret Elizabeth Nolte, Joshua Parker O’Keefe, Kaya M. Oldaker, Elizabeth G. O’Neill, Patrick D. O’Neill, Cody Orth, Breagan Warren Vincent Pearson, Breanna M. Perry, Timothy Jamin Perry II, Hayden Peters, Alexzander G. Peterson, Garavin Posey, Hunter Andrew Posey, Shaelyn-Elizabeth C. Posey, Ashton C. Post, Larissa Potts, Maggie Queen, Madison Grace Reed, Lyndon G. Reiking, McKenzie Coy Reynolds, Taylor Nikole Rice, Blade Michael Riffle, Landon Riffle, Autumn Riley, Zachary Roberts, Lindsay Grace Robinson, Trevor Robinson, Maya Rowan, Joshua Gabriel Roylance, Emileigh Paige Ryan, Eulgoio Salazar, Yukaika Savanna Salazar, Kennedy Paige Samargo, Christopher Joe Samples, Jr., Isaiah T. Samples, Ivie Mae Shakespeare, Kiera Meghan Jean Shively, Madisyn Elizabeth Shores, Lilyanna Marie Shutler, Caleb Grant Sikarskie, Cameron Simmons, Kurtis Small, Benjamin J. Smith, Lucas Dakota Smith, Lucas Wesley Smith, Cameron Snider, Tailynn Jade Snider, Jimmie R. Sothen III, Olivia Grace Spencer, Samuel Crockett Squires, Brooke Streets, Garrett Kirk Summers, Elizabeth Louise Swift, Alisha Tenney, Georgina Fay Tenney, Iris Tenney, Lane Tenney, Audra Thacker, Zoe R. Thomas, Clinton Lee Thompson, Tyler N. Trayer, Ryder W. Tyson, Tanisha Michelle Vaughn, Robert S. Vaught, Kayla E. Wagner, Madison T. Wamsley, Jaiden Machell Watkins, Dalton Alan-Joseph Waugaman, Bradley Wade Weatherholtz, Ashley B. Westfall, Brittany D. Westfall, Zachary Dale White, Kaitlyn Haylee Williams, Richard Williams, Deven Wescott Wilson, Teagan W. Winemiller, James Paul Winters IV, Leon Allen Wyatt, Spencer Logan Wykoff, Sahsha L. Zickefoose and Sheldon Zirkle.
Senior Class President Margaret Nolte presented the closing remarks and left the class with one final quote. “You’re off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way,” by Dr. Suess. The graduates then moved their tassels from right to left and the ceremony concluded with the band playing “Fanfare and Recessional” by James D. Ployhar.
Congratulations to the B-UHS Class of 2021 on their resilience and perseverance through everything that has been thrown at them this year. Whatever the path, great things will come from all.