Valedictorian tells Mooreville grads to smile

Mooreville High School
Graduates: 94
Valedictorian: Shelby Jackson
Salutatorian: Lee Tharp

TUPELO – Mooreville High School valedictorian Shelby Jackson acknowledged the conflicting emotions her classmates felt during the school’s commencement ceremony.
She was aware of the excitement of graduating and the sadness of leaving a familiar place.
Jackson then told the school’s other 93 graduates to listen to the words of Dr. Seuss.
“Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened,” Jackson said Saturday afternoon at the BancorpSouth Arena. “Smile at all the good times we had.”
Mooreville’s principal, Robert Smith, said this year’s class was the largest he remembers in his 15 years at the school. He said it is about 10 students bigger than an average class in years past, but that he expects the next several graduating classes at the school to have more than 100 students.
Smith said that he’ll most recall the determination of this year’s class.
“We’ve had some losses, but this group of kids has been determined to see things through,” Smith said. “They’re like a family. They lean on one another to get through what they need to get through.”
One of those losses was Monty Nichols, who died when the class was in seventh grade. Monty was honored posthumously Saturday with a chair set apart from the other graduates and a moment of silence.
Both Jackson and salutatorian Lee Tharp told stories from their early days at Mooreville. Tharp told about a time that he and fellow senior Bob Gregory climbed to the top of the monkey bars with a pair of binoculars when they were in kindergarten.
“We learned lessons about life and academics that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives,” he said during his address.
Aaron Meek will remember his co-op II class, while Ashton Bruce’s memories will include the time he spent on the football field.
“It went by too quickly,” Bruce said. “I kind of want to go back and do it again.”
Jackson said she has attended Mooreville schools since she was in second grade and that she would most miss the friends she’s made.
“I don’t think it has hit me yet that I’m actually 18 and a graduate,” she said after the ceremony.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

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