MONTROSE – Montrose High School had an unusually high number of honor graduates this year. Fifteen percent of the 269 graduates, 41 in all, had grade point averages of 3.75 or higher, said Principal James Barnhill.
“The graduating class of 2011 was a fantastic group of talented kids,” Barnhill said. “Loads of school spirit, camaraderie and leadership defines them the best. I look forward to the great deeds they will aspire to.”
The class had seven valedictorians: Zach Decker; Reina Galvan; Kelsey Howe; Emily Kenney; Eric Shellhorn; Walter Waldow; and Ricki Watkins. Salutatorians were Pierce Donley and Mackette McCormack.
Former longtime Montrose High School teacher Rick Plankis gave the commencement address, and he said he told the graduates to follow God’s plan for their futures.
“I told them God’s got a plan for you, and if you want to make God laugh, tell him what your life plan is,” he said.
Stay flexible, in other words, because you never know what life will throw at you. Plankis said he had planned to be a professional baseball player, but that plan got sidelined because of an injury, so he decided to be a teacher and coach instead, and he’s not sorry now.
“I never would have met you guys and never would have had my family,” he said to the students. “In life, you’ve got to take different turns.”
Plankis said he has taught a lot of the 2011 graduates and some are brilliant kids.
“You get what you want out of education and the school you go to, and these top kids knew what they wanted and they went and got it,” he said. “It was a very good class.”
Excellence in Education Awards went to students who achieved a 3.75 grade point average. They are:
Andrzej Jozef Ogrodny, Briana Nicole Gatt, Brianna Rachelle Barnes, Ricki Michelle Watkins, Canaan Lee Wright, Emily Colleen Bernier, Douglas Legendre Hallenborg, Lauren Michelle Bony, Charity Borner, Victoria Noel Poytress, Kia Lynette Peters, Austin Charles Burns, Diamond Raine Clarin, Nicole Renee Hoelzer, Jana Michelle Horn, Kelsey Leigh Howe, Emily Gael Kenney, Tyler Jordan Johnson, Dustin Ray Cooper, Jacob Austin Knowles, Karleigh Morgan Schrick, Eric Ansel Shellhorn, Brian James Davidson, Shaelyn Michelle Maloney, Sonja Joy Silva, Zachary Scott Decker, Ty Raymond Skoe, John Pierce Donley IV, Mackette Elizabeth McCormack, Jessica Kaitlin Elder, Alexandra Lauren Millard, and Jaycee Michelle Taylor.