Don’t blame seniors if they want to show some emotion during Warren County High School’s graduation ceremony.
This year has seen them wear facemasks, go to school part time, and learn virtually. The only constant to this school year has been unexpected change.
So yes, this year’s seniors have reason to celebrate.
“When I hit the stage, I’m going to do like the ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair,” said Dalton Ashmore at Thursday’s graduation practice at Nunley Stadium. Ashmore said he might let out a big “Wooooooo!” much like the famous pro wrestler.
Fellow senior Eleanor Montandon was asked if she’s going to miss high school or if she’s ready to embrace new opportunities.
“It depends on the day really. I go back and forth,” said Montandon.
There are 399 seniors scheduled to walk the stage and receive their high school diplomas for the ceremony currently set for 7 p.m. Friday night at Nunley Stadium.
Salutatorian Caleb Smith has finalized his speech but doesn’t want to divulge too many details.
“Let’s just say I’ll be referencing fictional heroes and what we can do in real life to help others,” said Smith. “I’ll also talk about adapting to changes, which we’ve had to do a whole lot of this year.”
WCHS senior Faith Hasty says she’s off to Tennessee Tech to study nursing and join the Army ROTC program after high school. She will carry with her an affinity for WCHS teachers Whitney Dyer and JROTC instructor 1st Sgt. Timothy Howard (retired).
Hasty says Howard imparted to her a lot of discipline and encouragement. “He made me become the person I pretty much am today. He opened my self-confidence up. I used to be very shy. I’m not anymore.”
Hasty spent four years in the JROTC program at WCHS, was on the JROTC Raider team, rose to the rank of captain, and also was the commander of the Alpha company, which took top honors at the recent WCHS JROTC field day.
Hasty’s best friends at WCHS included Shayna Toro, Cole Pendergraph, Lucas Pescevic, River Pescevic, Deisis Perez, and Thomas Turpin. “They’re pretty much your siblings,” she says of her fellow JROTC and Raider team members, because of how much time they spend together.
Graduating senior Adam Triplett says of graduating high school, “I enjoyed my time, but I am ready to go on.”
His favorite memories of high school were hanging out with friends like Jensen Smith and taking welding classes. Triplett took up welding because, “I thought that it would be a good trade to learn just to have handy on the farm.” Once he enrolled in Rick Mace’s welding class as a junior, Triplett came to love it. “I found a passion for it,” he says.
Triplett will miss Mr. Mace’s class, and he will also miss math teachers Jon Hillis and Hunter Patterson.
Samuel Cope and Cooper Tittsworth both were TCAT dual enrollment students in Dwayne Dishman’s machine tool classes during their time at Warren County High School. Cope says, “I’ll miss the social part” of being in high school.
Cope, who holds down a job grilling chicken and other fare at Chicken Chef, rates this year’s senior class prank as a fond memory. “The senior prank this year was pretty good,” he says, relating the graduates toilet-papered the WCHS student parking lot and put plastic forks around the flag pole and near the bus ramp.
Cope will miss high school teachers Mr. Dishman and Mr. Johnathan Smith, and will miss playing Midway softball, but he is excited to continue his machine tool program studies at TCAT. “It’s bittersweet,” Cope states of graduating.
“I’m really happy to graduate,” says Tittsworth. “Hanging out in the parking lot with my buddies in the morning” is one of his fondest high school memories. Those friends included Landon Morris, Matthew Young, and Billy Thompson.
Tittsworth goes on to say, “I really enjoyed going to the basketball games and football games. That’s probably been my favorite times.”
Tittsworth’s favorite basketball game was the “last home game Warren County had where C.J. had, like, 39 points and it went into overtime.”
That 2021 region semifinal game against East Hamilton was, according to Tittsworth, “like nothing I’ve ever been at. The place was rocking. It was insane. My ears started ringing, it was so loud.” Tittsworth says it was fun to join the student section at basketball games and “get rowdy in there with everybody else.”
Graduating senior Carley Grissom says of leaving high school, “I’m really just going to miss being around all of my friends and not really having to be serious. I know I’m going to miss the being a teenager aspect of it.”
Grissom’s favorite teachers in high school were Jon Hillis and chemistry teacher Rebecca Yates. “They were really chill. They weren’t so strict, and I liked that because it made me more comfortable around them,” Grissom says.
She adds that her favorite part of her high school days was “probably last period. It’s closer to the end of school, but most of my classes were easier at the end of the day too.”
Grissom, who will attend Motlow and is considering a social work or childcare path, says, “I’m ready to move on, but I’m also just going to miss seeing all my really good friends that are going off to college.”