The most outstanding graduate, academically, was Stephanie Braswell, the valedictorian. Lawrence Coleman was salutatorian. Thirty more were high honor graduates, and Coleman, Jon Barnes and Adriana Webb earned South Carolina Academic Achievement Honors Awards.
Skylar Leopard delivered the commencement address, “The Legacy of the Class of 2017,” and invoked Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare and others as she urged fellow classmates to fight off the ravages of international terrorism, climate change, and, in jest, facial acne.
The Class of 2017, in some ways, mirrored its predecessors, who attended the school, in various buildings and incarnations, to go out and fight world wars, depressions and affect the history of the country.
As they walked in, some carried themselves with the swagger of athletes. Others arrived looking meek and self-conscious. Some joked. Some shushed those who did. Some looked wistful, thinking of experiences they would never have again. Others looked relieved finally to put high school in the rear-view mirror.
The look wouldn’t have been too different 40 years earlier.
Mrs. Tiller noted that CHS produced its highest number of honor graduates (30) and Palmetto Fellows (10). The class was the most active in the community and raised the most money for charity in each of its four years of attendance.
“Whenever this school issued a call to action, they showed up,” she said. “Now they hold the key to making a difference in their world.”
One hundred ninety-two young men and woman “walked,” receiving a diploma from Tiller and a hearty handshake from District 56 superintendent Dr. David O’Shields.
Thirty-six received scholarships of various forms.
Josh Snow is entering the Air Force. Jazz Coleman is entering college from the CHS JROTC program’s Joel Rexford Scholarship. Six graduate as journeyman welders, 10 more as certified nurse’s assistants and five as certified firefighters.
Among other award winners:
JUDY IRBY RHODES SCHOLARSHIP: Zack Wofford.
D.A.R. GOOD CITIZEN: Claire Marshall.
PHIL ROGERS MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP: Charlie Craven.
LOUIE & BETTY WEBB SCHOLARSHIPS: Jazz Coleman, Zack Wofford.
CLINTON FEDERATED WOMEN’S CLUB SCHOLARSHIP: Alexis Pagano.
KEVIN’S DREAM SCHOLARSHIP: M.K. Kelly.
CLINTON KIWANIS CLUB SCHOLARSHIP: Victoria Gresham.
CHARLES L. CUMMINS JR.-MAE B. WHAM SCHOLARSHIPS: Ta’Shymen Boyd, Rakevis Brown, Caleb Gilbert, Victoria Gresham, Sierra Nance, Donte Reeder, Dylan Templeton, Tymori Tribble.
THOM COPELAND AWARD: Gracie Waldron.
M.S BAILEY FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP: Alexis Pagano.
McALISTER SCHOLARSHIP: Terry Lee Craig.