PICKENS,W.Va. — During the 87th commencement of Pickens High School, the three graduating seniors were honored for their accomplishments.
The 2016 graduating class of Pickens High School included Lars Mitchel Lehmann, Morgan Irene Rice and Brandy “Berna” Lynn Stevens.
Valedictorian Lehmann said, “As most of you know, people move to this area frequently, but they never seem to stay very long.
“When I was little, I thought those families were part of the witness protection program and their cover had been blown,” Lehmann joked. “But some students come and they stay until they graduate; both of my fellow graduates came and they stayed, several of my friends who are underclassmen so far, they have stayed; however, maybe they’re just staying because their cover hasn’t been blown yet – just kidding.”
Commencement speaker Sen. Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, encouraged the three graduates to be eager to grow.
“It has only been 18 years, but you’ve gone from not even knowing how to speak English to being proficient in a wide range of subjects. You’ve learned to face problems and solve them and stand on your own two feet in more ways than one,” Karnes said. “People tend to underestimate the amount of work that goes into simply growing up.”
Lehmann said over the years, all of the teachers at Pickens School taught valuable life lessons in and out of the classroom that will remain with him and his fellow graduates.
“You have all had a unique privilege, being able to attend a school like this school here, Pickens School, where each of your teachers is able to really get to know you and personally invest in your growth,” Karnes said.
Students were presented with scholarships and awards, including the Promise Scholarship, Pickens High School Alumni Association Award, Pickens American Legion Post 122 Award, and other senior scholarships.
On behalf of Hannah Engineering, Jim Schoonover awarded all three graduates with the Hannah Engineering Advanced Education Scholarship Award for excellence in business, medical science and nursing. The students were recognized for their commitment to continuing their education and serving their communities.
“Throughout my 13 years at Pickens School, I have learned my reading, writing and arithmetic, but I’ve always learned several lessons that were not in my textbook,” Lehmann said. “I have made and lost friends and I’ve grown up into the man that I am today.”
“You’ve reached up and grabbed ahold of that first limb,” Karnes said. “Now, we’re going to sit back and see how high you can climb.”