Seniors at Elkins High School said tearful good-byes to their classmates and teachers Friday as they prepare to embark on their future careers.
As 182 students got ready to enter the Elkins High School gymnasium prior to receiving their diplomas, many said they were excited to finally cross the stage.
"I am so happy to be here tonight," said Colleen Webley. "But it feels like this is still practice."
Blustery winds and cold temperatures do not dampen the spirits of the Elkins High School graduation Friday evening, when 182 students, along with their families, friends and teachers, packed the Elkins High School gymnasium to celebrate commencement for the Elkins High School Class of 2013.
Classmate Jillian Amos agreed.
"This just doesn't seem real," Amos said.
Tyson Currence and Delaney Johnson, co-valedictorians, inspired others with their comments.
Currence said standing at the school Friday evening seemed surreal.
"All the time waiting for graduation made it appear like it would never happen, but we are finally here," Currence said. "We got here with two important words - team effort. The diplomas we will receive tonight will have our names written on them, but in a more true sense, diplomas should have many names on them: the names of everyone who inspired, supported and believed in us - everyone who wanted something better for us and those who made our journey possible.
"This graduation is not an end but a new beginning," Currence continued. "We have practiced for so long and now we are entering the world as young adults. Again, I cannot thank everyone enough, and we, the class of 2013, look forwarding to doing all we can for others as you have done for us."
Johnson took fellow students back on a trip to kindergarten, stopping throughout milestones to their senior year. She also had advice for the future.
"Don't doubt or limit yourself," Johnson said. "Hear what others are saying, but make your own decisions. This class is your class, even though we did not all begin together. Love one another and make a difference, and remember to thank those around you for everything they have done for you and for being in your life."
Salutatorian Natalie Green reminded classmates that they will no longer be members of the EHS student body.
"After tonight, we will enter into the ever-expanding group of EHS alumni," Green said. "Each of us will move on and follow different paths. If you take nothing else away from your high school experience, I urge you to hold on to what I am about to say. There will always be those who tell you that you are nothing special, that you are just another average human being trying to find your way in life just like the rest of the world, but you all have the potential to prove those naysayers wrong. You have the rest of your life to do something, to become someone special."
Members of the 2013 Elkins High School graduating class include Jillian Celeste Amos, Jacob Michael Antoline, Celina Jolynn Arbogast, Leah Michelle Armstrong, Nathan Winn Badgett, Alexander Ryan Baird, Megan Amelia Bennett, Samantha Dawn Bennett, Natasha Hope Binegar, Whitley Megan Bodkin, Abagail Kate Bodkins, Alexis LeAnn Bodkins, Audrey Michelle Boyles, Gregory S. Broseker, Maurice Gene Brown III, Rebecca Dawn Burke, Mercedes Marie Butcher, Sean Patrick Cain, Thomas Charles Cain Jr., Justin Dallas Carr, Kayla Anne Carr, Kelli Dawn Carr, Chelsea Lynn Channell, Shauntay Nicole Channell, Corbin Dale Chewning, Christopher Douglas Clarkson, Clayton Isaac Collett, Devan Alexander Collins, Sarah Dawn Cooper, Alexandria N. Corcoran, Jessica Lynne Cowger, Makayla Jean Crites, Emily Taylor Cross, Sarah Denise Crossman, Clay T. Crosston, Colleen Renea Cunningham, Tyson Jennings Currence, Mariah Faith Curtis, Matthew John Curtis, Patience Alexandria Dadisman, Naby Hadha Damarputra, Jennifer Paige Daniels, Tennyson Ann Keiser DeMarco, Ashley Taylor Demer, Emily Marie DeMotto, Gary Michael Dunn Jr., Ethan Clifford Kohl Edinger, Zackary Ray Elmore, Taylor Leigh Epperson, Shawn Taylor Farnsworth, Lea Michelle Propst Fedder, Alesa G. Foster, Julia Claire Fregonara, Sabrina Eileen George, Silas P. Gibson, Dustin S. Goodwin, Natalie Mae Green, Cody Wayne Greene, Robert Thompson Hall, Trevor Warren Hamrick, Holly Brooke Harper, Courtney Paige Harris, Katelyn Marie Harris, Nicklaus Aaron Hart, Paul Michael Hartel, Brandon Wayne Herron, Mary Elizabeth Herron, Joshua T. Higgins, Caleb Wade Himes, Jacob Ryan Hinchman, Derek Matthew Hinkle, Jordan Lane Holt, Earnest Ray Howell, Morgan Brooke Howell, Contrara Lea Huffman;
Kristina Marie Jack, Clayton Laramie Johns, Delaney Kathryn Johnson, Kendra Shanelle Johnson, Elizabeth Louise Kelley, Mitchell McLain Kelly, April Lynn Kesling, Alexander G. Klager, Kelsie Elizabeth Krantz, Trent E. Lambert, Kevin Ryan Lambert, Michael Allen Lambert, James Marshall Lawrence, Kaya Samone Lee, Thomas John Lewis, Michaela Elizabeth Lewis-Lambert, Emily Elizabeth Louk, Savannah Michelle Mace, Taylor Nicholas Mace, James Leroy Allen Martin, Nicholas Adam Martin, Emily Louise McAtee, Amber Paige McDonald, Morgan Heather McDonald, Jacob Daniel Miller, Kaitlyn Danielle Miller, Franklin Paul Moats, Jessica Lauren Mullenax, Daniel Brian Mullennex, Melissa Rae Neal, Aaron Michael Nelan, Emily Michelle Nestor, Wesley Allen Nestor, Roselynn Grace Nice, Candace Jo Parks, Mark Jay Parrack, Kevin Arthur Pennington, Samantha Michelle Phares, Lindsey Leah Pifer, Chance David Poland, Logan Keith Powell, Amiah Rose Price, Molly Katlyn Ranhart, Jaden Sterling Reams, Elise Temple Reed, Emily Dyanne Richards, Autumn R. Ritchie, Kayla Marie Rogala, Courtney Elizabeth Rosenberger, Kaylee Brooke Rosencrance, Brandon Scott Roth, Shane Raven Rowback, Emilee Louise Roy, Kari Nichole Rudiger, Donavon Brooks Ryan;
Brittany Danielle Schmidlen, Jacob Allen Schoonover, Trevor Allen Schoonover, Jessica Nicole Scott, Tyler Clinton Scott, Morganne Gabrielle Sfameni, Chad Nicholas Shaffer, Jessie Danyell Shank, Dylan Paul Shannon, Justin Allen Shiflet, Brenna Night Shipman, Marcellous L. Shoulders, Lindsay Nicole Silvester, Ashley Makil Kay Simmons, Damen Lee Simmons, Nathaniel James Simons, Shylan Sierra Slish, Bobby Allen Sponaugle, Katie Marie Stalnaker, Rebecca Gale Ann Stalnaker, Karissa Michelle Stell, Nathan Fischer Stoop, Jonathan William Streets, Ryan Anthony Summerfield, Brianna Leigh Swecker, Peyton Scott Teets, Meghann Marie Tenney, Samantha Brooke Thompson, Summer Nichole Thompson, Logan Thomas Tighe, Laina Anne Torries, Kelsi Elizabeth Trippett, Cassandra Lynn Tuning, Andrew Thomas Turner, Hayley Jo Tyre, Howard G. Underwood II, Jordan Elizabeth Underwood, Brenton Matthew Vandevender, Allen James Vanpelt, Travis Waid Walters, Heather Nicole Warner, Brennon Scott Webley, Colleen Nicole Webley, Chelsea Renae Weese, Ashley Nicole Werner, Henry Wesley Williams, Tristan Mitchell Winans, Ashley Marie Wooddell, Mason W. Woodford, Kaleemah Woodward, Jacob Robert Wyatt and Ashley Marie Yokum.