The ceremony, which was held at the Point Pleasant Riverfront Park, was a celebration of the graduating seniors’ many successes. After multiple hours spent in the classroom and in other school activities, PPHS seniors wore their red and black graduation robes with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Gabriel Starcher, senior class co-president, welcomed those in attendance, while National Honor Society President Kylenn Criste introduced the Class of 2011 Salutatorian Rebekah Dunham and Valedictorian Claire Cottrill.
Dunham addressed her classmates and recalled the last four years that they have spent together.
“Well seniors, this is it, the day we’ve been awaiting for the past four years. The crucial moment in our life when we end an exciting chapter but begin a whole new one. The last time we will all be together as Point Pleasant Jr/Sr High School seniors,” Dunham said. “Coming to this milestone in our lives is bittersweet but I am so blessed to be able to share this experience with a class as great as you.”
Dunham went on to recognize the accomplishments that the PPHS Class of 2011 has earned.
“Most of us have been friends and classmates since grade school, but it is these past four years together that have molded us into the young adults we are today. Throughout the past four years, the Class of 2011 has achieved great things. State champion athletes, outstanding academic achievements, excelling in numerous extracurricular activities and not to mention being the coolest class Point Pleasant High School has ever seen,” she said. “We have all been involved in different activities, but bring us all together and we are united into the outstanding Class of 2011.”
Dunham then discussed what lies ahead in the future for the PPHS Class of 2011.
“If you have a goal strive to achieve it, don’t be afraid to express your ideas, dare to be different, and most importantly, never lose sight of who you truly are. With the right mindset, we can all make a difference in the world around us,” Dunham said. “As we leave this graduation ceremony, we are older, wiser, stronger and ready to face whatever God has in store for each of us. And like Natasha Bedingfield sang, ‘Live your life with arms wide open. Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten.”
Following Dunham’s speech, Cottrill addressed and congratulated her fellow classmates. She recognized the PPHS Class of 2011’s many accomplishments ranging from AP scholars to sports championships and wins to successful student organizations.
“Today we celebrate the Class of 2011 and the numerous achievements which we can claim as our own. For the past four years, we have proudly represented the mascot of the Point Pleasant Big Blacks, the Black Knight,” Cottrill said. “Many of us may be sad today, thinking that this is our last chance to call ourselves a knight. But I believe that true knighthood is what should shape the rest of our lives. We can be modern day knights of this world. But what exactly does that look like? Knights live according to the Code of Chivalry. This code is not simple, but it is what gives pride and honor to the word ‘knight.’ In medieval times, the position of knighthood was earned. According to Scott Farrell, the code says that knights must live through courage, justice, mercy, generosity, faith and hope — these are the characteristics which form a true knight.”
Cottrill went on to discuss each of the knight’s characteristics and then encouraged her classmates to apply them to their lives.
“Let’s use the virtues of knighthood to become the people we believe we were meant to be. Be courageous and just, act with mercy and generosity, and never give up faith or hope,” she said. “My wishes for you, the Class of 2011, are nothing but the best. So I say thanks to all of you for making high school the wonderful experience that it was. To all of our teachers and family, thank you for your endless support during the past 12 years. You are the reason that we are able to celebrate today, and you are the reason that we are confident about tomorrow.”
Cottrill closed by encouraging the Class of 2011 to believe that anything is possible despite the hardships that may come.
“We all know that sometimes there are going to be obstacles in our lives as we go into our future. The rough times may come sooner or they may come later, but I believe with all my heart that if we remember this verse, we will always rise to the top. Romans 8:31 says ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ My prayers will always be with you all,” she said.
Following Cottrill’s speech, Criste introduced the commencement’s guest speaker, Eddie Slowikowski of Chicago, Ill. Slowikowski, the creator of Revolution of Dance and motivational speaker, entertained the graduates and those in attendance with a dance and uplifting presentation. After Slowikowski’s presentation, Principal William Cottrill addressed the Class of 2011.
Cottrill praised the seniors for their many accomplishments.
“Twenty-seven Promise Scholarships. Over a million dollars in scholarships. No other class in the history of Point Pleasant High School has experienced this type of success,” he said.
Diplomas were then presented. Following this, Claire Cottrill and Starcher led their classmates in the changing of tassels.
Members of the PPHS Class of 2011 are: Rachel Lynn Adams, Nathan Seth Akers, Amanda Maye Baker, Cassandra Leigh Barnette, Crystal Dawn Beller, Christopher Michael Blankenship, Derek Levi Blessing, Ariel Nicole Brewer, Danielle Jean Brown, Christian Daniel Browning, Amber Dawn Bryant, Ashley Rebecca Burns, Jill Lauren Bush, Elizabeth Brooke Campbell, Adam David Carr, Clinton Dale Carr, Jacob Alan Carr, Justin Lee Cavender, Orrin Chris Chason, Amanda Leigh Chesson, Jonathan Deane Clinton, Lahanna Mariah Clonch, Brianna Paige Yelton Cook, Matthew Scott Cornell, Nicholas Dane Corriveau, Claire Elizabeth Cottrill, Kylenn Dean Criste, Dustin Tyler Crump, Natasha awn Dalton, Raven Jolene Darst, Bethany Morgan Davis, Skylar AnnDawkins, Cara Beth Derenberger, Timothy Phillip Donohue, Tyler Lee Doss, Rebekah Ann Dunham, Morgan Ray Flora, Britta Ann Flowers, Matthew Alan Foster, Patricia Lee Frazier, Jessy Odell Gibbs, John Cole Glover, Garrett Scott Grimm, Todd Russell Grimm, Travis Lee Grimm, Ashley Morgan Groves, Alexander Scott Hall, Amanda Beth Hannon, Mariah Kay Harmon, Jeremiah Adam Harris, Aron Micheal Hart, Marlee Elizabeth Hartley, Christopher James Hawkins, Tiffanie Louise Henken, Brandan Tyler Henry, Crystal Nicole Henry, Christopher Lee Herdman, Cara Michelle Hesson, Jacob Edward Hicks, Alan Parker Hill, Ashlynn Laurel Hill, Casey Ray Hogg, Jacob Ryan Huddleston, Lindsay Shae Hudson, Heather Elizabeth Hughes, Stephen Tler Hupp, Terrell Andrew Hurt, John James Jackson, Kathryn Anne Kayser, Brian David Kearns, Chelsea Rae Keefer, Russell Gail Kidwell, Brandon Tyler Kinnaird, Britney Leighann Klomp, Trevor Allen Thomas Knopp, Corey Allen Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jr., John David Lewis, Sean Keith Bradley Lewis, Kayla Marie Liberatore, Tyquan Antonio Livermon, Bradley William Loomis, Larry Edward Luckeydoo III, Kenneth Russell Maness, Clara Elizabeth Martin, Raven Alexis Martin, Alan Lee Matteson, Andrea Kay Mayes, Kenneth Edward Mayes III, Austin David McBeath, Paul Joseph McClure, Derrick Scott McCormick, Hannah Faye McCormick, Earl Patrick McMahill, Brittany Nicole Mitchell, Dakota Ray Moles, Tori Alexandrea Moses, Chelsea Nicole Mullens, Mary Morghan Mullins, Michael Damon Musgrave, Ryan Lee Neal, Adrienne Dawn Rochelle Nibert, Capri Nicole Nolan, Hunter Stephen Nolan, Kiona Rayne Norvell, Sarah Lucretia Nott, Ashley Elizabeth Ohlinger, Richard Nixon Patterson, Jr., Sarah Jean Paxton, Carry Lee Payne, Jr., Cynthia Marie Peck, Hannah Rashele Perry, Carly Jade Peterson, Jordan Nikole-Rae Pierce, Katie Dawn Pierson, Donovan Merrill Powell, Cheyenne Elizabeth Preece, David Taylor Raike, Preston Scott Rairden, Jackie Lynn Randolph, Cory Allen Robinson, Stacie Anne Robson, Rachel Ann Rollins, Amanda Elizabeth Roush, Titus Ward Russell, Michelle Renee Sanders, Zachary Ray Sayre, Ruby Dawn Schwartz, Brett Michael Sergent, Adreyonna Ra’Shel Breanna Shinn, Skye Marina Linda Siders, Faith Nicole Slone, Dustin Michael Spencer, Kelsie May Spencer, Kyle Clayton Sprouse, Gabriel Perry Starcher, Charles Samuel Stearns, David Joseph Stewart, Chelsea Marie Stiffler, Cody Alan Stover, Stone Ray Stover, Jonathan Barton Stump, Jr., Alexa Nicole Taylor, Sara Beth Taylor, Jacob Ryan Templeton, Miranda Nicole Thompsonm Rachel Alayna VanMeter, James Devin Walker, Jesse Richmond Walker, Johnnie Garrett Wamsley, Britlyn Olivia Wandling, Dakota Lee Ward, Ryan Lee Warner, Caleb Allen Watson, Matthew Jacob Weddington, Megan Danielle Weddington, Michael Dakota Whalen, Payton Nicole Whitt, Chelsea Dawn Wilcox, Angela Marie Williams, JeWaan Craig Williams, Michelle Elaine Williams, Tiana Marie Williams, Leah Olivia Williamson, James Cooper Wilson, Kayleigh Jane Winston, Daniel Shane Withrow and Christian Michael Woods.
Foreign Exchange Students who received diplomas were: Annalena Leinwetter and Lise-Marie Lia.