Awards and scholarships were tangible congratulations for hard work during the 2021-22 school year at the 37th annual Massac County Academic Awards Ceremony.

Students, parents, faculty and

staff from Massac Unit 1 and Joppa-Maple Grove school

districts joined representatives

from area agencies at the

ceremony, held on Thursday,

April 28, at the Metropolis Community Center.

Fourteen graduating seniors received scholarships totaling $25,100. From Massac County

High School were: Izzy Hawes, $2,200, who received the Dan Huffman Scholarship; Kelis

Adams, $2,000; Alison Brown,

$2,000; Hailey Edwards, $1,800; Claire Bremer, $1,700; Terry Janssen, $1,600; Jesse Russell, $1,500; and Kara Atkinson,

$1,500. From Joppa High

School were: Rachelle Cox,

$2,100; Joshua McGinness,

$2,000; Carly Peck, $1,900;

Hannah Wilkins, $1,700; Emily Reames, $1,700; and Bryan

Walquist, $1,400.

Including the Class of 2022, the Academic Awards Ceremony has presented $481,150 in scholarships to 484 students since 1986. Student scholarship winners are determined by a review of applications and final determination is made by a judge affiliated with West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

The evening also recognized the outstanding students in the schools’ organizations. Honored from MCHS were Izzy Hawes, art guild; Bruce Darnell, WYSE team; Joey Coram, accounting team; Preston Summers and Layton Dillard, math team; and Natalee Owens, HOSA. Honored from JHS were Ava McNeil, Beta Club; Hayden Forthman, scholar bowl; and Libbie Lumbley, Academic Challenge team.

Twenty-three students were recognized for having a 4.0 or higher grade point average throughout their high school career. Each received $50. Recognized from MCHS were: Claire Bremer, Kara Atkinson, Hannah Christian, Carter Searles, Kelis Adams, Hailey Edwards, Delaney Williams, Layton Dillard, Isaac Burnett, Eli Quint, Miranda Burton, Izzy Hawes, Jake Miller, Rachel Vaughn, Alison Brown, Jesse Russell and Raljvi Patel. Recognized from JHS were: Candace Mescher, Hannah Wilkins, Carly Peck, Emily Reames, Joshua McGinness and Rachelle Cox.

•••

Speakers at this year’s event were Elaney Sommer Spore and Stacey Griffey Reames.

Spore, an MCHS graduate, received her Academic Ceremony scholarship in 2012. Spore, the daughter of Larry and Debbie Sommer of Metropolis, is married to Chalon Spore and lives in Metropolis. She is a first-grade teacher at Vienna Grade School.

Spore advised students that no matter what they choose to do, “never stop learning and grow passionate about what you do. Never stop pursuing the ability to learn and be better than you were the previous day. Set goals and never stray from those goals. You, and you alone, are the only person who can live the life and write the story that you were meant to tell.”

Spore said her Academic Ceremony scholarship “still has a trickling effect on my life today. Being a teacher, I am constantly challenging my students to never stop learning and never stop dreaming.”

Quoting the late Steve Jobs, Spore told the students “’to find what you love. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.’ ”

Spore encouraged the students to think about their lives and goals for the next five, 10, 20 years, “but always remember to think back on the last 18 years — those who have given you so much and are here tonight rooting you on. Once you graduate high school, it’s your chance to show the world just what you can do. Stand behind them, parents, and let them fly.”

Reames, a JHS graduate, received her Academic Ceremony scholarship in 1991. Reames, the daughter of Judi Griffey of Joppa and the late Charlie Griffey, is married to Lynn Reames and lives outside of Joppa with their children, Emily and Alex. She is a senior systems analyst in the IT department of Marquette Transportation in Paducah.

Reames said it was during her time in the IT department at Electric Energy Inc. in Joppa that she got some of her best advice: “You can’t ever stop learning. It’s always a good day when you learn something new.”

She encouraged students to pick up that philosophy.

“I know many of you may think your season of learning may almost be over. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you won’t be done learning — and you shouldn’t want to be,” she said. “We should all strive to learn something new every day. You’ll learn for your job, you can learn from something that interests you. You can learn from life experiences.”

Both speakers encouraged their main audience to become involved in their community, wherever that may be, through their talents, time and money.

“This community believes in our youth,” Griffey said.

“The scholarships awarded tonight are a testament to that. This community is placing our confidence and support in you because we realize you are the future. Every one of you has achieved something very special, or you wouldn’t be here. You have gone above and beyond in the areas represented here tonight. Each of you has special skills and talents that make you uniquely you. Tonight, we not only celebrate those accomplishments, but look forward to your next chapter and what wonderful things you will accomplish there.”

•••

The Academic Awards Ceremony is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Metropolis, the Metropolis Rotary Club and a committee of teachers and administrators from Massac Unit 1 and Joppa-Maple Grove school districts.

Funds for the scholarships come from local businesses, service clubs, churches, teachers, groups, individuals and the Metropolis Kiwanis and Rotary Scholarship Spaghetti Supper & Silent Auction. City National Bank and Dr. Stephen and Toni Miller were recognized for being event donors since its inception.

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