Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 24, 2014

Mercer County graduates turn their tassels

PRINCETON — High school seniors across Mercer County put on traditional caps and gowns Friday and took the next big step in their young lives, graduation.

Bluefield High School, Montcalm High School, PikeView High School and Princeton Senior High School conducted their graduation ceremonies Friday evening.

Family and friends filled the Brushfork Armory as the 150 graduates of the Bluefield High School Class of 2014 received diplomas. The valedictorian was Molly Lovern, and the salutatorian was Claire Bailey.

Principal Michael Collins wished the graduates the best of luck, and urged them to work hard and reach their highest potential by setting goals.

“We will miss them all, but each year a new set takes their place, and it’s the circle of life,” Assistant Principal Kim Miller said before the ceremony. “Our juniors are already calling themselves seniors thanks to Move Up Day.”

During move up day, a tradition at local high schools, the next class takes its place as their schools’ seniors.

Not far away in Montcalm, the 48 graduates of the Montcalm High School Class of 2014 gathered with family and friends in their school’s gymnasium. The valedictorian was Autumn Bouldin and the salutatorian was Robert Punturi III.

“I talked to them before the ceremony,” said Principal Mark Page. “We’ve got a back room where they line up, and I tell them how much I’m going to miss them and how much I enjoyed having them. And to just make sure they do the best they can to be successful in life.”

As the MHS Class of 2014 prepared to graduate, the next class moved into the world of seniors.

“We had our Move Up Day ceremony,” Page said. “They were very excited and energetic.”

Across the county at the Princeton Church of God, the 150 graduates of the PikeView High School Class of 2014 received their diplomas as big audience of family and friends watched. The valedictorian was Vaughn Campbell and the salutatorian was Michael Nicholas Yost.

Principal Ben Disibbio described the departing students as “overachievers.”

PikeView High School won its first state soccer championship during the time of the Class of 2014. That was just one of the many awards and achievements the class could claim during its four years at the high school, he said. The students showed considerable talent in engineering, as national merit scholar finalists, county academic bowl champions, the West Test, and other areas of achievement.

In Princeton, the 272 graduates of the Princeton Senior High School Class of 2014 marched into their school’s gymnasium as a capacity audience looked on. The honor of valedictorian was shared by William Hickman and Grayson O’Saile, and the salutatorian was Nathan Burks. The guest speaker was former Principal Jack Parker.

Principal Lori Comer said the graduating seniors had shown a great deal of student pride and school pride in “a very tasteful manner.”

“We have some phenomenal students who have done some phenomenal things in the last four years,” she said before the ceremony.

Parker urged the graduates to be ready for the unexpected things life will put in their paths.

“Face adversity head on,” he said. “Life is not going to be simple.”

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