Calling them “a truly exceptional group of young men and women,” Harlan County High School Principal Edna Burkhart praised the eighth graduating class at HCHS as she opened the graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2016 on Sunday afternoon at the high school.
Burkhart discussed the academic and extracurricular achievements of the class, which which received numerous honors and scholarships two nights earlier during the school’s honors nights program.
The HCHS band played during the processional, then Jacob Robert Stewart, one of approximately 250 graduating seniors, delivered the invocation.
The HCHS choir, under the direction of Jeanne Lee, performed the school’s alma mater. The choir seniors sang Grace Before Sleep.
With the Harlan County High School JROTC presenting the colors, seniors Bayley Amburgey, Shayla Dabe, Jessica Grubbs and Abby Landis performed the National Anthem.
After the diplomas were presented, the choir sang a stirring rendition of Lean on Me.
Erinly Morgan Cornett delivered the benediction, just before Burkhart presented the Class of 2016 to several thousand friends and family members who filled the HCHS gym.
The valedictorians for the Class of 2016 included Haley Berman, Blake Blevins, Gage Burkhart, Logan Burris, Erin Cornett, Andrew Hensley, Taylor Howard, Sidney Kelly, Damon Napier, Katelyn Reynolds and Brian Seiber. The salutatorians included Kaitlynn Creech, Keirstian Hall and Brittany Messer.