Seniors bid farewell to Pickens School

PICKENS – Family members, friends, teachers and community members packed the gymnasium at Pickens School Saturday to celebrate its 85th graduation. Two students completed the requirements and received their diplomas.

Valedictorian Alexis Chandler told attendees she had dreamed about this moment for a number of years.

“This is it,” Chandler said. “In a few moments we will receive our diplomas and become high school graduates. I have learned many lessons in my years here at Pickens School, and many of them have nothing to do with textbooks or lectures.”

Chandler spoke about a poster she remembered from third grade. She said it was a poster that depicted the word can’t crossed out.

“We were told we were not allowed to use the word can’t, because we were capable of doing anything that we wanted,” Chandler said. “I am sure this will be beneficial again once I begin my studies at West Virginia University.”

Clarrysa Kelley, salutatorian, said she wanted to thank her teachers for reminding her she had the potential to do great things.

“Thanks to Mrs. Knotts, I understand I have the potential to be a nurse,” Kelley said. “I can be a successful nurse because I have this potential.”

Kelley offered advice to those who feel they are being compared to others.

“No one else is ever truly judging you based off another’s skills,” Kelley said. “It is really you subconsciously judging yourself. Always remember the choices we make take us to different places during our lives. You have the potential to do great things. Just remember to make wise choices as often as possible.”

Del. Bill Hartman, D-Randolph, addressed graduates and all those gathered for commencement exercises.

“Both graduates are third generation graduates from Pickens School,” Hartman said. “I think that is outstanding.”

Chandler and Kelley were both recipients of the Promise Scholarship, the Pickens Alumni Association Award and the Pickens American Legion Post Scholarship. Chandler received Knights Templar-Pilgrim Commandery No. 21 Scholarship, the West Virginia University Honors Program Scholarship, the West Virginia University Rhododendron Scholarship, the Snowshoe Foundation Scholarship and the West Virginia University Scholarship Foundation award. Kelley received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, the Alderson Broaddus University Annual Scholarship, the United States Army Reserve National Athlete Award and the National American Legion Scholarship Award.