Members of the Class of 2024 Hall of Fame stand on the podium. [ David Adlerstein | The Star ]
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Wewa graduates 61 in outdoor ceremony

Under a glorious spring sky, Wewahitchka High School handed diplomas to 61 members of the Class of 2024 on Friday evening.

Following a processional, first led by faculty and then including the students walking through them, the graduation began with an invocation by Drake McGlon.

“Y’all are going to give the world a run for its money,” he said. “I hope you all set out on whatever path you may choose, with the sole purpose of making your wrinkle in time.”

In his prayer, McGlon made mention of Lukas Moore, a cum laude graduate who is recovering from serious burns.

“I ask that you lay your healing hands upon him,” he said. “We pray for a speedy recovery, and although he may not be here with us physically, we know this night belongs to him, just as much as it belongs to any of us.”

Following the Pledge of Allegiance led by Ar’Mya Foster, Class President Noah Taunton offered a light-hearted welcome.

“As a class, we have written a good story, so far, but in the words of Dr. Taylor Allison Swift, “This is the first page, not where the storyline ends,” he said. “And to quote a very appropriate Taylor Swift song called Long Live. “I said remember this moment in the back of my mind the times we stood with our shaking hands and the crowds in stands went wild, we were the kings and the queens, and they read off our names.” 

Savana Mayhann offered the graduation address, encouraging her classmates.

“I have been told my whole softball career that you can be the most talented player on the field, but hard work outshines talent when talent doesn’t work,” she said. “This is just like life, someone may have an advantage over you, but if you dedicate your love and time to what you are passionate about, then you are more than capable of becoming everything you want to be.

“Live every day to the fullest of your potential and pour your heart into everything you do whether that be with school or your future careers. Remember to not take the opportunities you get for granted because one day you may regret not taking them,” Mayhann said. 

Following the presentation of diplomas by Principal Karen Shiver, Ashley and Hope Thompson offered the farewell address, each of the twins offering their thoughts.

Each paid tribute to the faculty and coaches who influenced them, including Coach Gene Rollins, who has recovered from a life threatening heart transplant.

“Watching him bounce back my freshman year, to becoming the strongest and most influential person, has shown me hardships in life do not define you,” said Ashley. “I will forever hold the highest respect for these people who have impacted my life. While your goals and aspirations are important in shaping your future; your friends, family, and community will always be your greatest foundation in life. I will always cherish the great friendships created along the way.”

Hope joked about being ranked just under her “older” sister.

“In the next few minutes this will soon become a memory in a book of many great memories,” she told her classmates. “I must say it is a bittersweet moment. Tomorrow, our new chapter begins, a new course set for our journey through life. Doors will open up, new opportunities will arise. 

“Achieving your dreams is up to each one of us. The best chapters in our life remain unwritten and we are responsible for filling the pages,” said Hope. “Always remember it’s never too late achieving your dreams, nothing is impossible. Don’t let anyone determine your future. You are the author of your story. Take chances and push yourself to the limits; you never know what life has in store for you.”

Haylee Webb, president of the Student Government Association, offered the benediction, and under the cool night air the ceremony came to a close, as the grads tossed their caps in the air.

The following scholarships, and their amounts, were announced at the Wewahitchka graduation:

Academic Excellence First Time in College, $3,000: Noah Taunton

Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital Guild, $500: Brianna Hysmith

Veronica Williams Carter, $500, Caleb Carter, Demiah Cole, Samuel Hunter, Caytlin Myers, Preston Stacy

Lisa Combs (MeMaw) Memorial, $300: Lukas Moore

Bateman-Wooten Scholarship, $500: Hannah Watts

Employees Club of Wewahitchka, $500: Demiah Cole, Ar’mya Foster, Leah Lanier, Drake McGlon, Kennedy Murphy, Ashley Thompson, Jay Whitfield

First United Methodist Church Wewahitchka Care Closet, $1,000: Haylee Webb

Florida Assistance Grant, $3,200: Noah Taunton

Florida Bright Futures Medallion, $24,024: Noah Taunton, Ashley Thompson 

Florida Bright Futures Gold Seal, $4,608: Leah Lanier

Scootsie Fortner Softball, $200: Savana Mayhann

Frank and Violet Graddy Memorial, $500: Preston Stacy

JH Grant Memorial Cleckley, $1,400: Jay Whitfield

GCSC Achievement Scholarship of Gulf County, $1,500: Leah Lanier, Savana Mayhann

GCSC Alfred L. duPont Foundation Gulf Franklin Center, $1,400: Haylee Webb

GCSC Pathways to Success, $2,800: Desirae Causey, Avery Davis, Haylee Webb

GCSC Foundation – Murphy Family Foundation Endowed Technology, $1,400: Drake McGlon

GCSC Foundation – Walter Wilder, $1,400: Jarrett Spencer

Gulf Coast Electric Coop, $1,000: Samuel Hunter, Savana Mayhann, Drake McGlon, Hannah Watts 

Gulf County Education Association, $375: Samuel Hunter, Jay Whitfield

Gulf County Sheriff’s Office Charities, $1,000: Savana Mayhann

Red Holland Memorial, $600: Leah Lanier, Drake McGlon

Junior Service League of Port St. Joe, $1,750: Savana Mayhann

Miller Heating and Air Conditioning, $1,250: Desirae Causey, McKenzie Hickman

James Moss and Julia Wood Cleckley, $1,400: Desirae Causey, Hope Thompson

Martin S. Niederer 9/11 Memorial, $20,000: Savana Mayhann

Mexico New Life Church, $500: Lukas Moore

Christopher K. Peak Memorial, $500: Ashley Thompson, Hope Thompson

Pensacola State College Softball, $2,400: Ashley Thompson

Perry and Young Law Office, $500: Lukas Moore

Port St. Joe Garden Club, $1,000: Lukas Moore

Oscar Redd Memorial, $1,400: Kennedy Murphy

Forrest and Peggy Revell Memorial, $1,000: Samuel Hunter

Teresa Taylor Emerald Coast Federal Credit Union Memorial, $500: Leah Lanier

Troy University Freshmen Forum Leadership, $750: Samuel Hunter

Tupelo Lodge 289, $500: Ashley Thompson

Wewahitchka Woman’s Club, $1,000: Demiah Cole, Ar’mya Foster, Taniya Foster, Savana Mayhann, Lukas Moore, Kennedy Murphy, Ashley Thompson, Hope Thompson, Haylee Webb, Jay Whitfield

Jimmy and Susan Wilder, $1,400: Landon Gammons, Kalyne Hoover, Keeley Roberts, Preston Stacy, Akiah Stevens

Jose Salas Vernis, $1,400: Brianna Hysmith

Watkins Family Foundation Technical, $7,000: Lukas Moore

Geraldine Williams Memorial, $500: Caleb Carter, Samuel Hunter, Caytlin Myers, Preston Stacy

U.S. Army After 9/11 GI Bill, $85,000: Landen Webb 

U.S. Coast Guard After 9/11 GI Bill, $85,000: Jaden Roberts

U.S. Navy After 9/11 GI Bill Scholarship, $85,000: Aden Hortin, Joshua Linton

UWF STEM Scholar Program, $8,000: Noah Taunton

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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