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Lincoln graduates 232 at annual commencement

STANFORD — Two hundred and thirty-two of Lincoln County High School’s newest graduates crossed the stage to receive diplomas Friday evening during the school’s 44th annual commencement exercises.

The evening’s exercises, which were held in the J.C. Eddleman Gymnasium, began with a formal academic procession of the graduates and the faculty and staff of LCHS and concluded with the Class of 2018, dressed in red caps and gowns, turning their tassels and exiting as alumni.  

Principal Michael Godbey welcomed the seniors, their families and friends to the ceremony and then it was the seniors’ turn to take the podium for their farewell speeches.

Senior class president Tobias Michael Bastin was the first speaker to step to the microphone.

“I’ve been looking forward to this. The end of the line,” said Bastin. “I’m not gonna try and sell it to you; the only reason I ran for president was to give the speech. My whole high school run I prayed for a chance to give it, and now I get to share something beautiful. Days go by, seamless across the calendars. Life goes on fast. To give you a reference point, it’s somewhere between a snake and a mongoose. And a panther — Thank you Dwight Schrute.”

“After we part ways from the gymnasium, I know for a fact that this is the last time I’ll ever see some of your faces in person,” he continued. “Given these circumstances, I want to leave you with the most important news that has cut mankind in half since the dawn of man — there is hope. Hope for every man and woman. That hope is a sword. The great divider, forged to cut the worldly hungers of the flesh. In its place, the free gift of eternal life. Hope that when sin has taken control and you are bound by evil, God is waiting with arms open wide … Run to him.”

Bastin concluded with a prayer, which drew a standing ovation from the crowd.

Co-valedictorians Madelyn Reed Day and Roby Keith Mullins also addressed the 2018 graduates. And, like Bastin, both were brief in their speeches.

Day began her speech by reflecting on the end of her sophomore year.

“On June 4, 2016, 20 of my peers and I sat in Mrs. Kristen Story’s sixth period honors English 1 class. As tears ran down her face, she read us these words by Dr. Seuss: ‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.’ After tonight, we are all going to go our separate ways,” she said. “Some will go overseas to become missionaries or serve in the armed forces, some will go across the nation in pursuit of their dreams, and some will stay right here to work in our community. However, the truth is that no matter where you go after tonight, Lincoln County High School will always be a part of you. Whether you like it or not, this place has made a lasting impact on you. You will forever judge things on a 0-4 scale; any time you hear a plate drop, you will have the urge to clap; and any time you hear the words ‘yogurt’ and ‘express’ in a sentence together, you will probably get excited.”

Day said her four years at LCHS have been loaded with life-changing experiences and memories.

“Our time at LCHS has changed us,” she stated. “There may have been times when we hated it or wanted to quit, but the times we will remember are the ones spent with the people we love. Cheering on the Patriots from the pep section, growing our passions and futures through clubs, dancing the night away at prom, riding roller coasters with our best friends at Kentucky Kingdom, and even tonight as we celebrate at Project Graduation. These are the moments and the memories that we will cherish forever. These are the moments that have changed us into the people we are today.”

Before turning the podium over, Day had a few “thank you’s” to dole out.

“I end by saying thank you to the LCHS faculty and staff for caring for us even when we were difficult, for believing in us even when we did not believe in ourselves and, most importantly, for helping us to grow into the students sitting before you today. And thank you, Class of 2018, for making the past four years some of the best years of my life. I will forever be grateful for all the love and laughter we have shared.”

Mullins opened his speech by remembering the ups and downs of the past four years.

“Over the past four years we have struggled and we have celebrated and we have grown wiser. Sometimes, when our lives don’t go the way we want them to, we may blame others for our misfortune. However, our choices can cause our lives to take twists and turns. When we stray from where we want to be because of our choices, it is then our responsibility to correct these failures,” he said. “Soon we will start making all of our own decisions without the safety net that our family members provide us. We will stumble and fall, of course, but our lives will be better for it because we can learn how to walk on our own.”

Mullins referenced the sport of archery in trying to relate to the Class of 2018 that it is important to not become weighted down by mistakes made along the pathway of life.

“Life is like archery in a way,” he said. “In archery, each arrow is independent from the next, just like our choices in life. Just because we make one bad decision does not mean that we cannot fix the damage we did and make our lives better; there is always room for improvement with everything we do in life. If an archer will focus on his form and shot rather than worry about where the arrow goes, then the arrow will naturally hit the bullseye. If we focus our lives in the same way, we will no doubt be successful in whatever we do and bring happiness and pride to ourselves and those we love.”

High school teacher Kevin Bandura took the podium to make the presentation of the Class of 2018 and assistant principals Kyle French and Stacy Story awarded the diplomas.

Many of the graduates waved at family and friends seated in the crowded auditorium as they made their way to the stage to receive their diplomas.
Perfect attendance honors were also recognized during the graduation ceremonies with Cadan Thomas Norden honored for five years of perfect attendance.