This Friday and Saturday, Randolph County high school seniors will have something to celebrate. After years of books, papers and tests, students at three of the county's high schools will be awarded their diplomas during graduation ceremonies Friday evening. Only one school's commencement will remain for Saturday.
Elkins High School will host its graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. on Friday with guest speaker and 2002 graduate Nick Patella. The recent grad was in the top 10 percent of his class and was all state in golf, basketball and baseball.
He graduated from West Virginia University in 2007 and was a part of the Mountaineer basketball team from 2002 to 2005. Patella was inducted into the Randolph County Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. He received his master of business administration from West Virginia Wesleyan in 2009 and is currently the manager at MegaCorp Logistics in Wilmington, North Carolina.
The 2010 EHS co-valedictorians Aasir Khan and Morgan Johnson, along with salutatorian Becky Cain, will address those in attendance.
Randolph County Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares will present diplomas to the graduates.
The GFWC Junior Woman's Club of Elkins will host an after-graduation party for EHS grads at the National Guard Armory from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. EHS alumni are welcome to bring one guest ages 15 to 20.
South of Elkins, in Mill Creek, Tygarts Valley High School's commencement will also begin at 7 p.m. Friday with musical selections from the school's band and choir.
For the third year, TVHS will welcome an alumni guest speaker when class of 1947 graduate Brigadier Gen. John P. Russell takes the lectern during the ceremony. In the Air Force, Russell served as a command pilot, assistant deputy chief of staff of operations, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces; inspector general for Tactical Air Command; deputy director of operations, J-3, and assistant deputy director for deployment operations, Joint Deployment Agency, Headquarters U.S. Readiness Command, MacDill Air Force Basle, Florida.
He has received the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster and Air Force Commendation Medal.
Those in attendance will also hear from valedictorian Brooke Hannah and co-salutatorians Lillian Hill and Allison Licwov.
The three top graduates and 69 of their classmates will receive their diplomas from Principal Steve Wamsley.
After the diplomas have been handed out and the caps tossed, graduates of TVHS may celebrate their accomplishment at the Elkins-Randolph Family YMCA during a party hosted by the Tygart Valley Lions Club.
Harman School will host its graduation at 7 p.m. Friday.
Out of 15 graduates, Ethan Roy will be valedictorian and Amanda McFarlan will be salutatorian.
Students entering Davis & Elkins College will receive the Highlands Scholarship and one student, to be announced during the ceremony, will receive the PROMISE Scholarship.
In Pickens, five graduates will be presented diplomas during a ceremony at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The guest speaker is Vice President for Student Services and Student Affairs Michael C. Belmear from Fairmont State University. The superintendent will also be in attendance, according to a school official.
This year's valedictorian, Phylicia Hudok, and salutatorian, Katrina Kelley will also address the attendees. A reception will follow the presentation of diplomas and senior awards.