Graduation brings mixed feelings for JHS graduates

By Trina Trice

As a flock of geese flew over Twelve Oaks Stadium Tuesday night, more than 300 Jonesboro High School seniors sat anxiously waiting to get their own wings.

The school's 111th commencement exercise was a special night for all students, their families and friends.

"This is the 15 minutes of fame for each of us tonight," said salutatorian Tam Nguyen. "When I was 5, turning 10 seemed like eternity to me ? I remember thinking my time in high school would last forever."

Nguyen will attend Emory University.

For senior Lacy McClellan, her graduation was the continuation of a family tradition n she's the third generation to graduate from Jonesboro High School. Her grandfather Lacy Huie was a graduate in the Class of '42. Her mother, Trudy Huie-McClellan, was in the Class of '74.

"There were 28 people in our graduating class," Huie said. "You can imagine what changes have taken place."

While Huie attended Jonesboro High School, it was a two-story building on Spring Street. There are tennis courts where the high school used to stand.

Huie-McClellan remembers her graduation almost 30 years ago.

"It poured down rain," she said. "I got soaked down to my underwear. I'm excited my father and my daughter and I have graduated from the same school. Jonesboro High School has prepared her to go to college. She's grown into a beautiful, young lady."

McClellan will attend Kennesaw State University.

Senior Katherine Ball, who plans to attend Clayton College & State University, wasn't feeling sentimental at all about graduating Tuesday night.

When asked what she'd miss most about high school, Ball said, "Nothing. I'm ready to get out of here."

Valedictorian Blake Millie, however, said he is going to miss his friends and "mock trial and all the fun times we had with that."

In his speech Millie told seniors, "Today each of us is given a gift, the gift of opportunity. This opportunity can be whatever you want it to be. No matter which path you choose to take ? you can be anything you want to be. Everyone on this stage can continue to succeed."

Millie will attend Yale University to study math.

While in high school, success for senior Shannon Jimison was of the social kind.

"I was a shy person, but I learned to socialize with people and made friends with people that keep me on the right track," she said.

Jimison will attend Clayton College & State University to study nursing.

Chris Shinn, mother of senior Danielle Shinn, got to see her first child graduate from high school.

"It's great," she said. "I'm very proud of her."

Parents Jerri and Kenneth Henley, camera in hand, were rooting for their son Kendrick Henley.

"He's ready for phase two," Kenneth Henley said.

Huie-McClellan probably speaks for all parents when she said she hopes her daughter "gets a good education, gets a good job and learns how to be self-sufficient. But what's most important is whatever she chooses, she's happy and healthy."