Even indoors, Seaford High graduation is a special event

By Ronald MacArthur

Even though for the first time in 14 years Seaford High commencement was held indoors because of inclement weather, there were still plenty of smiles from the 181 members of the Seaford High Class of 2006. High school principal Clarence Davis made the decision Friday morning to move inside because of conditions on the field at Bob Dowd Stadium from a heavy rain the night before, even though the rain held off throughout the day. It was a good thing because loud claps of thunder could be heard throughout the ceremony in the Madden Auditorium on Friday night. "The decision was really not based on me making a weather forecast but on the wet, muddy field conditions. There was one inch of standing water in some locations of the field," he said. "We try to be proactive and always practice for an indoor and outdoor graduation." The overflow crowd viewed commencement in the gymnasium on video equipment. "Unfortunately, the number of family members the seniors were able to invite went from 17 to seven because of fire code regulations when we moved inside," said Lynne Banning, a high school administrative assistant who helped to coordinate the ceremony. As always, commencement is a time to honor those who excel in academics. The class had its awards assembly earlier in the week (see a complete list of awards in this edition). Eric Kimpton, who is also a three-sport athlete, is the class valedictorian with a 4.41 grade-point average and the salutatorian is Jennifer Stephens, who is president of the National Honor Society, with a 4.34 grade-point average. The two participate in college-prep classes at Delaware Tech College which allows for a higher than 4.0 grade-point average. Distinguished diplomas (averaging 4 or above on state testing out of a perfect score of 5) were presented to Victoria Carey, Rebecca Chambers, Clifton Ebron, Cassi Greenwood, Jeremy Halter, Charles Hildebrand, Eric Kimpton, Katelyn Mack, Shane McLaughlin, Mike Ruehr, Jennifer Stephens, April Stevenson, Myron Thomas, Zachary Townsend, Katelyn Webber, Jordan Wills, Haley Workman and Dana Young. Kimpton and Claire Rekitzke were presented with the prestigious Seaford Kiwanis Club Honor Key Cups for compiling the most Honor Key points during their high school careers. Students receive points for participation in school activities. Class officers are Bitty Hood, president, Cindy Pierre, vice president, Jena Banning and Shannon Crockett, secretaries, Laura Riddle, treasurer, Darian Libby, historian, and Rachel Thomas, member at large. Hood, the class president, a three-sport athlete, member of the National Honor Society and an Honor Key recipient, told her classmates that "they were rounding third base and heading for home." "We are coming together as a class tonight," she said. "The memories that we hold are unforgettable. Our senior year has been a wake up call to me as it's time to get ready to face the future." She thanked several people including principal Clarence Davis. "We thank our former music teacher who has followed us from the middle school - he is one who we idolize. He is a go-getter. And I personally want to thank my mother who taught me to stand proud," she said. Her mother, Carla Hood, was fighting back the tears as she patted her heart as the two exchanged glances. She urged her fellow graduates to "over achieve" as they go forward following graduation. Art Doakes, a Seaford High School wellness center counselor and coach, was selected by the class as the graduation speaker. The "dynamic dreamer" as he is called as a motivational speaker, started his talk by saying,"What do you say to a group of students who knows it all? Good job!" He then had everyone (graduates and audience) repeat the words "good job" several times. "We are in a district that strives for excellence and that is evidenced by the young leaders and graduates behind me," he said.

Doakes called graduation an interlude between school and life and he said that it was now time for the graduates "to get on their mark, get ready, get set, go." "You must leave a mark for the rest of us to enjoy because each of you is unique. The mark of greatness is in you," he said. "You are one of 3 million U.S. graduates - this is a tremendous accomplishment. "Get set. Let's do something radical; let's make a change. I say to all of you, let's lift up the Class of 2006. Let's go and meet new challenges. You will meet many obstacles and that's why education can never stop," he added. "You are Seaford's finest in 2006. This is your night; there is no one like you." The Seaford High band and chorus provided music during the commencement. Other speakers included Dr. William Parmelee, president of the Seaford Board of Education, Dr. Russell Knorr, superintendent, and Eric Kimpton, valedictorian of the class, who told his classmates that their journey is just beginning. Even though the class was confined to a small space on the stage, several members of the class did toss their caps in the air after the traditional change of tassels. Following the ceremony, the graduates assembled for photographs and hugs from friends and family members in the packed gymnasium and lobby of the school.

AWARDS - The following members of the Seaford High Class of 2006 received awards during the senior awards ceremony last week:
Jena Banning - AAUW Charlotte T. Mach Memorial Scholarship; Allen Family Foundation Scholarship; Student Government Scholarship; Adele Tibbitt Hall Scholarship; VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 4961 Scholarship; Woodland Ferry Association Scholarship; Blue Jay Pageant Award - runner-up.
Gina Baker - Savings Bond Mortgage Associates, DARE Certificate.
Eric Fisher - American Legion Award - Scholastic Excellence.
Tobias Harris - American Legion Award - Military Excellence.
Tiarra Horne - Ferguson Scholarship (DSTP).
Chesney Hudson - Ferguson Scholarship (DSTP).
Haley Workman - AAUW Charlotte T. Mach Memorial Scholarship; Kiwanis Sports Award (fall cheerleading); Rev. David B. Mulford Memorial Scholarship; William Fry Benson Memorial Scholarship; Miss Blue Jay Award.
Cindy Pierre - Acorn Club Scholarship; Callaway, Farnell & Moore Scholarship; Horatio Algier Award; John H. Porter Chapter, Tuskegee Airman Scholarship; Ladies of Distinction Scholarship; Soroptimist Club of Seaford Scholarship; VFW Post 4961 ROTC Senior Award; MBNA Delaware Scholar.
Everett Roberts - Academic Challenge Participation Award.
Davency Leroy - Acorn Club Scholarship; J. Oliver Tibbitt Scholarship.
Charles Larimore - Aerospace & Maritime Scholarship Award; Drama Service Award.
Jeremy Halter - Allen Family Foundation Scholarship; George E. Gordy Award; Kiwanis Club of Seaford Scholarship; Seaford Educational Secretaries Association Gertrude Jester Scholarship; Ted and Bev Blades Scholarship; VFW Post 4961 ROTC Senior Award.
Caitlin Morris - Allen Family Foundation Scholarship; Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship; Eugenia A. Gibbons Memorial Nursing Scholarship; Irene Larrimore School Citizenship Award; Seaford Alumni Association Scholarship.
Laura Riddle - Mary Elizabeth Allen Memorial Scholarship; Kiwanis Athletic Award (field hockey); Kiwanis Athletic Award (tennis); Pauline Miltonberger Aw

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