LANCASTER — Garrard County High School’s Class of 2011 paid special tribute Friday night to one of Superintendent Donald Aldridge’s most salient attributes — his facial hair.
As more than 150 graduates received diplomas, many handed off a cloth replica of Inspector Clouseau-type mustaches.
“I think it will be funny,” said senior Ernest Atkinson as he handed out the stick-ons before the ceremony. “I just don’t want to be the person out of everyone that drops their mustache.”
While the prank provided humor, the class’s whole-hearted commitment to success stole the show at the ceremony.
Class President Chase Ballard noted that his classmates know how to balance the silly — like perhaps the school parking-lot campout Wednesday night — with the serious.
“Although we’ve had our fun, we’ve known when it was time to get down and get busy and work, and that’s why you’re all sitting here today,” he said.
Remarkably, only one senior who began the year did not graduate with the class, counselor Linda Rudolph said earlier this week. And the students who made it across the stage provided an impressive collective resume.
More than 25 graduated with grade-point averages of 3.7 or higher, and about eight received the commonwealth diploma, achieved by taking at least four AP courses in different subjects, among other things. The class also included Kentucky Governor’s Scholars, Rogers Scholars and more than 20 Youth Leadership award recipients.
Though co-salutatorian Alan Ruiz started his speech in humorous 2011 style — “Welcome to what could be the start for the longest three speeches of your life” — he earnestly thanked parents, friends, family and perhaps the most important group of people involved in the seniors’ triumphs.
“We know that without great teachers we wouldn’t have great students,” he said.
Valedictorian Amber Billingsley’s speech remarked on the melancholy truth that the Class of 2011 will likely never be under the same roof again, as they set out to pursue “supremely singular yet equally ambitious dreams.”
But the evening ended on a light note as Board of Education Chairman Joe Brown offered his opinion about the seniors’ mustached prank.
“If the class of 2012 gives out hairpieces, I’ll be good to go,” he said