Class of 2015 takes flight

Published 2:40 pm Monday, June 1, 2015

Top Pelham graduates Jerry Garcia, Diane Liu, Sarah Sansom, Rebecca Foushee and Allysa Orr lead the procession at Pelham High School's 2015 graduation. (Contributed)

Top Pelham graduates Jerry Garcia, Diane Liu, Sarah Sansom, Rebecca Foushee and Allysa Orr lead the procession at Pelham High School’s 2015 graduation. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“Two hundred sixty-seven amazing graduates … 165 pints of blood donated … 120 public band performance … 59 outstanding teachers … 16 salutatorians, 13 valedictorians, 10 pep rallies, eight honor societies, seven state championships, four memorable years, one family,” said Senior Class President Connor Atkisson as he began his speech at Pelham High School’s 2015 graduation.

Atkisson’s graduation countdown highlighted the unique qualities of his class as scholars, community servants, artists, athletes and friends.

The class of 2015 experienced their class halved with the opening of Helena High School in the fall of 2014, yet the class of 2015 fulfilled the obligations of PHS seniors completely.

While some students from Helena chose to remain at PHS, others left for HHS.

Mostly, these students from two schools stayed in touch, attended each other’s events when and supported one another.

At Pelham High School, the seniors representing the class of 2015 carried on Pelham High School traditions beautifully—even adding a karaoke event complete with a new venue.

Emerging as larger than their numbers, the class of 2015 created the senior year they craved—rich with Pelham High School tradition—while forging into uncharted territory as the first graduating class of Pelham City Schools.

Turnout at events was large. Involvement in school activities was high. School spirit prevailed.

“I’d never seen Write Night performed with such passion,” Atkisson said in his speech.

His words captured Write Night 2015 perfectly. Worried that our smaller student population might result in a skimpy crowd, we were pleasantly surprised by as much involvement and attendance as ever.

Atkisson offered special thanks to SGA sponsors Keri Ross and Emily Murray, Senior class sponsor Karen Varner, theatre teacher Jamie Stephenson, SGA president Steeley Martin, and Coach Brett Burnett.

Top Pelham High School Valedictorian Jerry Garcia also delivered an inspirational speech. Garcia ended his speech with the phrase, “Viva La Raza,” which translates to “Long live the people!”

The PHS class of 2015 proves that families may look or speak differently from one another—yet PHS remains one family united by a shared vision of a school rich with tradition and ripe with possibilities.