Although Valedictorian Macey Mayberry was quickly challenged in her claim that the Class of 2017 is “the greatest class to graduate from Plainview High School,” she urged classmates to embrace the important lessons they all learned.
“As we leave this place and embark on the journey of life, I hope that we remember the values and faith instilled in us from growing up in a small town,” Mayberry said. “I hope that we always remember to show kindness to everyone we cross paths with and choose to laugh often. I hope that we actively pursue our dreams and don’t waste our time on things that don’t matter.”
In a two-hour ceremony that included a keynote address by U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington, 370 seniors from PHS and Ash High School walked across the stage to receive diplomas, with 96 percent planning to continue their education at a two- and four-year college or university, trade school or in the military.
Friday’s commencement was in Wayland’s Hutcherson Center before a capacity audience.
“We have now officially survived the STARR and AP tests, the stench of the science hall during dissections and experiments, and the crazy unpredictable weather of Friday Night Lights,” Mayberry said, recalled that they also “learned to survive in the unpredictable chaotic circus we have come to know as the parking lot of PHS.”
Looking ahead, Mayberry said, “As we move forward into this great unknown of college and life, my wish for you is to be intentional and not just exist, but really live.”
Following Mayberry to the microphone, Superintendent Dr. Rocky Kirk was scheduled to pronounce the seniors as candidates for graduation. But before that state-dictated formality, Kirk suggested that the PHS Class of 1977 was really the “greatest class to graduate from PHS.”
“That was 40 years ago, but I still haven’t forgotten thinking we were undoubtedly the best,” Kirk said. A classmate, PISD School Board Trustee Brandon Brownlee, concurred.
Preceding Mayberry to the stage, Salutatorian Bracken Alexander said, “If my time at PHS has taught me one thing, it is the importance of kindness in all that I do.”
Recognizing the “amazing role models throughout my years at PHS,” Alexander urged classmates to “go out and make your school, your hometown, and more importantly, your family proud of who you grow to become. And most importantly, remember to always, ‘keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.’” (Casey Kasen)
Arrington, in a personal message to the valedictorian, explained that he was a classmate of both her father and mother. “You’ve got a great dad, but he wasn’t a National Merit scholar,” Arrington joked. “Thank goodness you took after your mother.”
Cheering on members of the Bulldog Nation, Arrington noted that his strong desire to serve in government began in a classroom at Plainview High School. “Teachers have the most important job in the country,” he noted.
The freshman congressman said a large dose of West Texas values are desperately needed in Washington. “I guess America needed a Dog in the House, and it looks like we also have a Dog in the White House,” Arrington said.
He listed the five attributes that make West Texas unique:
After Arrington’s comments, the PHS A Capella Choir performed “Friends” and “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” a local commencement tradition, and the 54 honor graduates were recognized: Manuel Alcala, Bracken Alexander, John David Andrade, Beaux Bennett, Meghaben Bhakta, Priya Bhakta, Jace Browning, Jorge Camacho, Victor Angel Cardiel, Ryan Castillo, C.J. Castro, Michaela Chamberlain, Claire Daily, Amela Dizdarevic, Yasmin Dominguez, Josue Duran, Brenda Fenelon, Dylan Flores, Lilyana Garcia, Isaiah Garcia,Taryn Garza, Sasha Gonzalez, LeeAnn Grimaldo, Abbigayle Hanoch, Caleb Hernandez, Natalia Hernandez, Stephanie Hernandez, Kaitlyn Jones, Colton Joseph Langston, Juan Leon, Gabby Lopez, Crosslyn Lusk, Caleb Martin, Jasmin Martinez, Macey Mayberry, Bryan Medina, Rigo Monroy, Layne Mustian, Jade Nails, Luke Prayor, Kaizha Roberts, Breanna Roden, Georgina Rodriguez, Kimberly Rodriguez, Madi Rossi, Sterling Skinner, Kamren Smock, Jonathan Soder, Shadee Tye, Robert van der Leek,Analisa Villa, Christian Wallace, Malorie Watson and Colti Wright.
Sponsor Adeela Harrell recognized the 39 senior members of the National Honor Society, and sponsor Lesle Carlislerecognized the 21 National Technical Honor Society members.
Senior class sponsors were Cynthia Brundage, Lesle Carlisle, Tracy Dawson, Brandon Gilliland, John Goble, Anthony Gonzales, Ryan Green, Dave Haresnape, Adeela Harrell, Kristine Jernigan, Jodie LaFrance, Timmy McCune, Brenda McDonough, Debbie Raymond, Richard Roberts, Kelly Shackelford, Mandy Steen, Kylie Van Pelt, Matthew Vaquera, Michael Varner, Enrique Villa, Katie Ziegler, Sara Hanoch and Monica Nunez.