One of the smallest graduating classes at Chester High School in recent years took part in commencement on Sunday, but the ceremony was no less moving.
The 133rd commencement at CHS was held on Rocky Bridges Court in the Colbert Gymnasium, with parents, family and guests in attendance.
The day began with a class photo in Juergen's Gymnasium followed by a long walk through the building to the James F. Sharp Cafeteria where the graduate candidates waited for the processional down the gymnasium stairs to Rocky Bridges Court.
The graduates made that final walk to "Pomp and Circumstance," performed by the Chester High School Concert Band.
Once seated, District 139 Superintendent Brian Pasero welcomed everyone and wished the Class of 2019 well in their post-graduation endeavors.
Principal Melissa Meyer then recognized the 2019 graduation marshals and ushers, who were selected from the top academic students from the junior Class of 2020.
This was a very special year academically for the junior class as seven students tied for the position of top student in the class. All seven currently have a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade-point average. Traditionally the top four students serve as graduation marshals, but this year there were seven. They were Amira Al-Jassim, Adeline Blechle, Ashtyn Jany, Alyssa Place, Jaci South, Lauren Vasquez and Destiny Williams.
The next four students, academically, served as ushers: Jenna Bierman, Avery Runge, Grace Stec and Brock Williams.
Meyer then recognized the senior members of the Summit Chapter of the CHS National Honor Society: Drake Bollman, Cara Childs, Jakob Cushman, Caitlin Elsea, Brooke Frazer, Stevie Gilbert, Kaleb Hughes, Owen Korando, Lauren Leathers, Iyontae Martin, Shea Petrowske, Elizabeth Soellner, Carlee Weir, Kamryn Wingerter, and Jacob Wingerter.
Finally, Meyer recognized the Top 10 members of the Class of 2019 based upon their cumulative grade-point averages: Drake Bollman, Jakob Cushman, Emma Draves, Caitlin Elsea, Brooke Frazer, Kaleb Hughes, Shea Petrowske, Elizabeth Soellner, Lauren Welge and Jacob Wingerter.
Meyer then introduced the Class of 2019 Salutatorian, Emma Draves. The Salutatorian is the senior student with the second-highest grade-point average, who gets to address his or her classmates at graduation.
Meyer and Assistant Principal Jeremy Blechle then introduced the Chester High School Class of 2019, certified that they had completed the criteria for graduation, and presented them to District 139 Board of Education.
Board members Mitch Hammel and Tom Welge presented each graduate his or her diploma. Blechle read the names of each graduation candidate as he or she approached the stage.
Graduates are: Seth Adams, Hailey Asbury, Leah Marie Barbee-Stork, Abbey Bauer, Drake Bollman, Kristin Breeden, Mason Scott Carnahan, Cara Childs, Chase Colvis, Erik Cowell, Jakob Crabtree, Jakob Cushman, Kathryn Dickneite, Trisha Donachy, Emma Draves, Caitlin Elsea, Dalton Favier, Brooke Frazer, Stevie Gilbert, Anthony Glaser, Tristin Hobeck, Kaleb Hughes, Vanessa Inman, Dayton James, Kaylee James, Keith Kiner III, Owen Korando, Lauren Leathers, Iyontae Sylena Marie Martin, Jesse McMath, Nicholas Meyer, Logan Mitchell, and Kambri Moffitt.
More graduates included Hunter Munie, Kakayla Murray, Jacob O'Riley, Jessica Penford, Shea Petrowske, Amanda Pierangelo, Allexiyah Price, Jadi Richards, Caitlin Roberts, Chloe Shook, Elizabeth Soellner, Devin Straight, Eathan Thompson, Cody Wahl, BreAnna Walker, Carlee Weir, Lauren Welge, Colin Wingerter, Jacob Wingerter, Kamryn Wingerter and Tabatha Zaccheus.
Following the completion of the commencement exercises the 2019 Valedictorian, Jakob Cushman, gave an emotional farewell address on behalf of the class of 2019 to complete the commencement.
The 2019 graduation closed with the song "Just Believe," performed by the CHS Swing Choir Sound Affect, and Concert Choir seniors, accompanied by Vicky Beers on piano.
The final act of the Class of 2019 was to move their tassels from the left to the right sides of their graduation caps as led by Senior Class President, Carlee Weir. That act was, of course, followed by the traditional cap toss to close the afternoon's graduation exercises.
The graduates departed the floor to the tune of "Farewell and Recessional" by Ployhar, performed by the CHS Concert Band. As the last notes were played, the books were closed on the Class of 2019.