By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – In the days before Shannon High School’s graduation, the school’s valedictorian reflected on her earliest moments of kindergarten at Plantersville Elementary.
“I’ve been thinking about that and wondering whether I cried,” said Prenetia Clark. “My mom had to drag me in there because I was used to being at home.”
If she were to re-live the experience today, she said, her mom would have a much easier time getting her to school.
“I would be more than happy to start over,” Clark said on the day her high school career came to a close.
She was among 117 students to receive diplomas from Shannon High School on Saturday afternoon at BancorpSouth Arena.
“I feel good because I’m Mississippi State bound,” said Vaneshiea Bell. “I’ve gotten everything done. I just want to go.”
Several awards were presented during the ceremony, including the Balfour Award given to Wyatt Lindsey. The school also recognized 42 graduates who received college scholarships.
“This will always be an important group because it was my first group as principal,” said Bill Rosenthal, who became the school’s leader last July.
During her speech, Clark encouraged classmates to keep pushing forward.
“No one knows what the future holds, but we know the education we received at Shannon High School will set us up for the things we need,” she said.
Salutatorian Jasmine Ivy told her peers to remain strong despite obstacles they may face.
“If you run into a wall, don’t give up,” she said. “Find a way to work through it, go around it or climb over it.”
The class faced its share of loss during its four years. Classmate Monique Braham died as a freshman and was remembered during the ceremony by an empty chair that had a red gown draped over it and held a cap and a framed memorial.
“It is bittersweet because I’m seeing my friends for the last time,” said Chagney Bogan. “I wish my friend Monique was here. She was supposed to be next to me.”
Since these students were in eighth-grade, four Shannon students have died. Those experiences brought the students closer together, said Aliyah Hooks.
“It is a close-knit community,” she said. “Everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows everyone’s family.”
VALEDICTORIAN: Prenetia A’liya Clark
SALUTATORIAN: Jasmine Chiquanne Ivy
For complete list of graduates check out today’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.