The Pickens High School class of 2012 commencement exercise was held on Saturday May, 19th 2012. The graduation ceremonies were held in Dragon Stadium beginning at 9am.After the graduates’ processional, senior class vice president, Mason Mullins, led the invocation. The national anthem was then played by the Pickens High Symphonic Winds.
PHS principal, Eddie McDonald, welcomed the crowd by first recognizing the board of education; the superintendent; the Pickens County school system principals; and faculty. He then gave a special thanks to the sheriff’s department and the school’s resource officers for their handling of the magnanimous event.
McDonald spoke of how proud he was not only of the class graduating in his first year as the PHS principal, but also how proud he was to wear his robe, which had been signed by every member of the class of 2012.
Senior Class secretary/treasurer, Katie Tippens, introduced guest speaker, Scott Trevathan, a PHS math teacher who retired after the 2011-2012 school year. Tippens pointed out that Trevathan or “Mr. T.” as she he was affectionately known, was known for “making beautiful wooden bowls” and for always telling his students to,
“Stick it to the man.”
Trevathan began his commencement address by refusing to lecture or advise the class of 2012, but instead chose to speak about
“kindness and respect.”
“It doesn’t cost a dime to be kind to somebody and treat them with respect,” said Trevathan.
“Showing kindness and respect can change people’s life.”
Trevathan spoke of the “kindness and respect” shown to him by the Pickens community when he moved from Tennessee 10 years ago. He was distraught over leaving a community that had become his home, and admittedly, “cried every day for a week,” despite how in his opinion,
“It don’t make sense for a 50 year old man to cry cause he’s homesick.”
He spoke of how the community accepted him and affected him so deeply that when asked if he will be moving back home after his retirement is official, his reply is,
“I don’t have to go home I am home.”
Trevathan, due to being instructed that graduation speeches should always include a quote from a famous person, ended his speech by paraphrasing a person not known for having a plethora of people quote him at commencements, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
“That’s the bottom line cause Scotty T says so. Thank you for your attention and peace out.”
Salutatorian, Brooke Smith, who finished second to valedictorian, Erin Hancock, by nine-one hundredths of a point, then gave her address.
“Graduation day is one of mixed emotions.”
Smith also reminded her classmates that graduation is,
“Not the end but simply the next leg.”
Smith spoke of the support from her mother in writing her speech, and also surprised her mother by reciting Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” Smith’s mother recited that same poem at her own graduation and Smith did the same as tribute.
Hancock’s valedictory address began with a moment of silent for fallen classmate Bryce Roper.
Hancock told her class mates,
“We are now the young men and women that in elementary school we never thought we’d be.”
Hancock spoke of learning from the mistakes that will be made throughout life, and told a story of how, due to wanting to be a “green thumb” like her “grandpa,” as a small child she actually painted her thumb green.
As she has grown, she told those attending,
“My goals are more complicated.”
She told the class,
“We don’t have to know what road we’re (going to) travel just keep moving forward.”
Principal McDonald then presented the class of 2012, followed by senior class president, Sam Heath’s speech.
Heath spoke of the class’s matriculation, beginning with learning in elementary that,
“Being mean is not right.”
He talked of how from humble beginnings in grade school, the class grown to become a senior class that endured an actual rained on homecoming parade.
“It literally rained on our parade.”
After Heath’s speech the senior class, led by the Senior Chorus Ensemble, led the audience in the singing of the alma mater. The recessional immediately followed.