Shannon graduates complete high school career

Shannon High School
Graduates: 114
Valedictorian: Patrick Ballard
Salutatorian: Cassie Waycaster

TUPELO – The magnitude of her high school graduation hit Shannon High School’s Cassie Waycaster on Saturday morning as she was getting ready.
“My mom told me, ‘This is the day you’ve been waiting for for four years,’” Waycaster said. “It really is.”
Waycaster was the school’s salutatorian and one of 114 students who received diplomas during the ceremony held at BancorpSouth Arena.
As those graduates filed into the arena, they were led by classmate Uniqua Atkinson, riding in her motorized wheelchair.
“I was nervous,” she said of being first in the formation. “I was thinking, please don’t let me run over anyone.”
Valedictorian Patrick Ballard told his fellow graduates that their diplomas would be “one of the most important pieces of paper, we will receive throughout our life.” He also said that the people who succeed are the ones who don’t give up easily.
Shannon recognized its scholarship recipients and distinguished graduates and presented several awards during the ceremony.
Four of those awards went to C.J. Montgomery.
“When God blesses, he goes over and beyond,” Montgomery said. “I’m so undeserving, but it is amazing.”
During her address, Waycaster remembered her sadness when the Shannon High School football team was eliminated from the state playoffs. She said she felt a similar melancholy knowing that her high school career had ended.
“No matter where life takes us, we will always know that deep down, our colors are red and black,” she said. “Deep down, we will always be a Red Raider.”
Twins Marquis and Martez Holland both said that they learned a lot of lessons in high school and that it was rewarding to graduate.
Ryanton Merritt also said that he has grown a lot since his freshman year.
“The first couple of weeks I got here, I really changed my lifestyle,” he said.
Jamario Rogers was one of many graduates wearing a big smile in the arena’s lobby after the commencement.
“It felt really good when I walked across the stage,” Rogers said. “I can’t believe I did this.”

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

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