Port St. Joe celebrates class of 2022


The 72 members of the Port St. Joe High School Class of 2022 graduated Thursday evening, May 19, surrounded by family, friends and neighbors in the school’s dome-shaped gymnasium.

Following a processional to “Pomp and Circumstance,” Shadavia Hudgins, the senior class secretary, led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Aiden Gainer, the class’ vice president, offered the invocation.

Senior Class President Madelyn Gortemoller offered a welcome address, followed by remarks from Superintendent Jim Norton. 

“It’s hard to imagine that on October 10, 2018, there were 45 people that evacuated to this building and watched the dome, the library vacillate and almost come apart,” he said. “And no sooner than the kids all got back after Hurricane Michael, they went straight into a global pandemic.”

“Tonight, I am honored to say, I think this is the first normal graduation we have all been a part of in four years.”

Graduating Summa Cum Laude, with highest honors, were Kristen Bouington, Rearden Gerkin, Natalie Graziano, Grace Hatchell, Laura Hill, Daniel Hodges, Sarah Metcalf, Thomas Money, Justice Peacock, Erica Ramsey, Megan Saleh, Reese Savering, Kadin Swiney, Sarah Thompson, Melissa Young and Caleb Zur Heiden. 

Magna Cum Laude graduates, those with high honors, were Weston Bockelman, Abigail Evans, Madelyn Gortemoller, Emily Lacour, Ava Ryan, Nicholas Valenzuela and Lily Wockenfuss.

Cum Laude graduates, with honors, were Grenley Amison, Tristan Butler, Jazman Cantrell, Haley Corzine, Ricky Forbes-Rosado, Aiden Gainer, Julia Gainnie, Parker Hicks, Caden Jackson, Darian Mills, Morgan Mills, Ajay Price, Cameron Pruitt and Tasmine Russell.

More than $100,000 was given in scholarships from community organizations.

Following the presentation of scholarships, the principal’s address and the awarding of diplomas, the class sang the alma mater. Then, Abby Evans delivered the benediction and Principal Sissy Godwin presented the class of 2022, inviting them to toss their caps into the cheering audience.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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