Pelham High School seniors forge varied paths forward at Awards Day celebration

Published 4:14 pm Monday, May 13, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

PELHAM – From enrolling in various universities, to embarking on career endeavors or bravely stepping into the armed forces, Pelham High School honored its graduating seniors and their diverse paths toward the futures during their annual Senior Awards Day on Wednesday, May 1.

“We are excited to celebrate the students,” PCS College and Career Counselor Michelle LeSueur said. “Today, we will celebrate all paths after graduation.”

As part of the day’s ceremony, students who had chosen to enroll in either a two-year or four-year institution following graduation were presented scholarships from a number of institutions.

In all, students from the class of 2024 will go on to attend 32 different colleges across nine different states from throughout the nation. Among those students, 15 student-athletes will also graduate and move on to play in a total of eight different collegiate sports.

Among the schools awarding scholarships, ten of those universities featured were officially present at the event through representatives and invited students up to the stage to present them with scholarships and recognition from their respective institutions.

The universities that were present at the event included:

  •  Troy University
  •  Huntingdon College
  •  Jefferson State Community College
  •  University of North Alabama
  •  University of South Alabama
  •  University of Alabama-Huntsville
  •  Auburn University
  •  University of Montevallo
  •  University of Alabama
  •  University of Alabama-Birmingham

Scholarships were also presented to students from a number of other universities despite representatives being unable to attend the ceremony. Those schools included, but were not limited to, Tulane University, the University of Southern California, the University of Mobile, the United States Naval Academy, Mississippi State University, Samford University and Jacksonville State University.

As of the day of the event, it was announced that Pelham High School’s class of 2024 had been awarded a total of $12,687,734 in scholarships from all universities and institutions, with that number expected to rise as student continue toward graduation this month.

Additionally, the event not only highlighted those students who had elected to continue into higher education, but equally recognized and celebrated those who had chosen to take alternative routes after graduation.

“We celebrate everyone’s pathways—whatever plans they have after graduation,” LeSueur said. “We recognize and celebrate those that are going to enroll in a college, decide to go to work and choose the employment route. We also celebrate those that enlist. Those are the three E’s—employment, enlistment and enrollment.”

Students who had chosen not to attend college and instead directly enter into the workforce were acknowledged for that accomplishment, with those that had earned specific training credentials also being presented certificates from The Academy of Craft Training in Birmingham.

“We had students from The Academy of Craft Training earn industry credentials and two were awarded full-time job opportunities directly after high school,” LeSueur said. “One student also earned an apprenticeship through John Deere here in Pelham and has already started.”

A total of eight students were further recognized for their decisions to enlist in the United States Armed Forces. Among those students, two had enlisted in the United States Navy, two into the Marine Corps, three into the United States Air Force and one into the U.S. National Guard.

Others within the student body were also mentioned as being in the process of completing their enlistments, with their process set to carry into the early summer.

Pelham High School also utilized the event as an opportunity to officially unveil the names and grade point averages of the class salutatorian and valedictorian, who will lead their class through graduation.

With the second highest grade point average in the class, Jessica Gray will carry the title of Pelham High School’s salutatorian for the class of 2024. Ian Chambers, with the highest-grade point average of 4.4906, will serve as the class’ valedictorian at graduation.

Following the ceremony, the students were treated with a gift table, a photo booth with provided props and a reception with cake held in their honor.

“It was a wonderful day for students and families to celebrate twelve years of hard work and accomplishments for each of them,” LeSueur said. “It truly takes a village and it is important to us in Pelham that each student feels valued and celebrated. I think this day exemplified this. This is the Pelham way.”

In addition to university specific scholarships, the following scholarships and awards were also presented to students of the PHS’ Class of 2024 as part of the day’s events.

  •  UA Early College
  •  Boys State and Girls State Awards
  •  District Attorney Award
  •  Youth Leadership Shelby County
  •  JT Stephens Scholarship
  •  NAACP Scholarship
  •  Pediatric Dental Associate & Orthodontics Scholarship
  •  Pelham Strong Scholarship
  •  Pelham Way Award
  •  Tyler Plemons Scholarship
  •  Dr. Priscila Denny, Oak Mountain Orthodontics Scholarship
  •  Distinguished Young Women of Shelby County
  •  John Deere Apprenticeship Recipient
  •  Pastoral Point Guard Scholarship
  •  W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company Scholarship
  •  Alabama 4-H Foundation Scholarships
  •  Adam Marmurek Scholarship
  •  Reginald Devon Adams Distant Runner Scholarship
  •  Student Government Association Recognition and Awards