GLASGOW — Barren County High School seniors donned their caps and gowns as they marched into a packed gymnasium Monday night during the Class of 2019’s graduation ceremony.
During her class address, BCHS senior Breanna Childress said she was “extremely honored to be standing before you, and humbled to call you my friends and family.”
“You have worked very hard the past four years and deserve to be where you are today,” she said. “Looking back 13 years ago — what actually feels like yesterday — we started our long journeys together.
“We were tiny, bright-eyed kids without a clue of what an extraordinary adventure awaited us. We started with big dreams and big goals of one day becoming great. … Nothing seemed impossible. Everyone was a potential friend and we could be anything we dreamed of.”
Fast forward to high school, Childress continued.
“We started out as scared, excited freshmen, not ever thinking the day of graduation would actually get here,” she said. “The programs and career pathways we’ve been involved in during the past four years have allowed us to be successful throughout our time in high school.
“We have been supplied with amazing support and unique opportunities from not only the high school, but also the ATC and the new In-Zone.”
Childress said the members of this class are “no longer strangers, but more like family.”
“Throughout our time at BCHS, we have learned a lot of things from our inspiring educators,” she said. “But I think the most important lesson we have learned is from our fearless leader, Mr. Brad Johnson. Over the past four years, Barren has become a place harboring love and support to those who need it.
“As our career as high school students comes to an end, we have an opportunity — the greatest opportunity ever given. We have the chance to take on the world, pursue our passions and to leave a legacy.”
Mallory Pedigo was named this year’s valedictorian, and Ezra Michael Kiteck was named the salutatorian.
In his president’s farewell speech, Senior Class President Brennan Crain reminisced about their time at BCHS.
“Over the last four years, we’ve spent hours in the halls and classrooms of the school together,” he said. “We’ve walked, talked, laughed, cried, gossiped, argued — essentially we matured to grow together in this place we’ve called home.
“Some of us are preparing to move away, while others will never leave their community — whichever you are, I want you to know that your decision is OK. You now have the power to decide your life and what you want to make of it.”
Since BCHS Principal Brad Johnson is retiring, he gave his final address to graduates as the head of the high school.
“Students, it has been my honor to serve as principal for this class for four years,” Johnson said. “You have achieved in so many ways — in the classroom, in competitions throughout the area, the state and the nation.
“More importantly, you have loved each other, looked out for each other and loved BCHS. I encourage you to see this as not the end, but a beginning. Continue to keep up with each other. Continue to love each other — and always consider yourself a Trojan or Trojanette.
“Wherever you go, remember the words of your old principal. Surround yourself with as many positive influences and positive people as you can. Stay away from negative people.
“Call us if you need us. BCHS loves you, and I love you.”
Before the ceremony, Johnson spoke to the Glasgow Daily Times about his favorite memories as principal.
“I was assistant principal when these guys were eighth-graders, and I was principal for their four years (in high school),” he said. “So it’s really special to me. I’ve kind of seen their development — it really does seem like a blink of an eye. Campus has evolved in their four years.”
Johnson said he really enjoyed this year’s girls’ basketball state tournament, “when we completely invaded Lexington.”
When he spoke to his seniors Monday morning, Johnson said he told them that “they’re just a class that — they love each other.”
“It’s just a good class,” he said. “They’re not sectioned off into cliques that don’t talk to each other. They’re a very close class that looks out for each other.
“I’ll probably shed a tear or two before the night’s over.”
The principal said “it’s been a joy” to lead his alma mater.
“My parents both worked here,” he said. “It’s been my joy to work here. I’m leaving with nothing but positive, great feelings for everybody.”
Senior Class Vice President Coleton Lee Wilson gave the closing remark of the ceremony.
“As one chapter ends in our lives, another one is beginning,” Wilson said. “For the seniors here, I appreciate you all for your memories and for just being you.
“Behind us, all of our memories. Before us, all of our dreams.”
Some of the graduating seniors will pursue degrees and certifications at post-secondary institutions, while others will enter into the workforce or pursue other opportunities.
Regardless, they will all be taking the next step on their journey of life.