Ninety-four Danville seniors receive diplomas

May 27, 2004|HERB BROCK

During graduation season, commencement speakers try to convince graduates that their walk across the stage to receive their diplomas is their first step down the path to the future. But as true as that is, it also is a walk down memory lane.

For five leaders of the Danville High School Class of 2004 - three of them academic champions and two of them class and student government leaders - the walks involve victories on courts and fields and in the classroom but mostly in the arena of building friendships they hope will last.

Adam Hoover, Amber Wood and Mary Wheeler, the top three academic members of the class, and Student Council President Mary Beth Ballard and Class President Shatoniah Miller, who also did well academically, joined 89 classmates Wednesday night at commencement exercises at Newlin Hall at Centre College's Norton Center for the Arts. The ceremony was presided over by Superintendent Bob Rowland and DHS Principal Angela Johnson.


The five class leaders gave speeches in which they provided parting words of encouragement to their classmates. Before the ceremony, they gave interviews in which they recalled highlights of their years at DHS and also looked to the future - a future they all say will be made brighter because of what they learned and whom they got to know at the high school.

Regarding memories, Miller said being a member of the girls' basketball team that won this year's All "A" regional championship topped her list. Miller, the daughter of Alphanso Miller and Elana Ford and a future freshman at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., played small forward on the Admiral team.

But Miller didn't omit academics from her list. "I made my first 'A' in calculus. That was big," she said.

For Ballard, top memories include being elected Student Council president and being tapped for membership in the National Honor Society. But making an easy transition from two bigger high schools may be what she remembers most.

"I had attended Assumption High School (in Louisville) and also Boyle County and have been here just two years," said Ballard, who is the daughter of Peter and Mary Ballard and will attend Wake Forest University in the fall. "It was so easy to make friends here, and there is more individual attention from teachers and counselors and a lot of opportunities for involvement. I just jumped right in when I came here."

Wheeler said she will always remember being able to watch Danville's state football championship game last December from the sidelines. She got the coveted spot because she was taking photos for The Log.

"But I'll also remember making the transition my junior year from totally regular classes to some AP (advanced placement) classes," said Wheeler, who is the daughter of Lucy Williams and Dr. William Wheeler and will attend Wofford College in South Carolina. "The AP classes were harder, but I felt good because I was able to maintain my overall grade point average."

Wood is also proud of her academic achievements, but victories on the playing field vie with victories in the classroom in her memory bank.

"I'll always remember being centerfielder on the Danville softball team that won back-to-back district titles," said Wood, oldest of the 13 children of Bryan and Rhonda Wood and a member of the Centre Class of 2008.

Hoover got a lot of "A's" during his time at DHS, but none was more memorable than the one he earned in a class taught by one of the hardest but most respected high school chemistry teachers in the state, Don Hoffman, who is now retired.

Hoover, who is the son of Tom and Lynn Tye and Kerry Hoover, will attend George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Steve Meadows, coach of DHS' nationally-recognized forensics team as a well as a speech and English teacher, also made some good memories for Hoover. "He made forensics both challenging and fun," said Hoover.

Several other teachers also made their marks on the memories of the senior leaders, who praised the instruction they received and said it helped prepare them for college and gave them a sense of confidence.

But they also said their preparation for the "real world" was given a boost by the number and variety of people they got to know at DHS.

Said Wheeler, with her classmates nodding in agreement: "There really is a diversity here that you don't find at some other high schools in this area. You meet different people from different backgrounds. This high school really has diversity, and it reflects the real world we will be entering."

The graduates

Here are the 94 members of the DHS graduating Class of 2004:

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