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Waynesville graduates 345; Courtney Long, Darrel Vaughan promoted
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (May 22, 2010) — More than 300 Waynesville High School seniors graduated Friday evening under clear skies, walking across the stage at Slaughter Field with the traditional release of an orange, black or white balloon for each graduate.

“Today is the end of one world and the beginning of another. Today is when you leave behind childhood ways and step into the shoes of adulthood,” said outgoing Waynesville High School Principal Darrel Vaughan, who himself soon will be stepping into new shoes with his role with the district as assistant superintendent for personnel services.

“Today is above all a day of celebrating; today is a day when you can happily say, ‘I did it, I graduated,’” Vaughan said. “We all know that getting through high school requires hard work every day … I hope today you feel it has all been worthwhile.”

Vaughn urged the graduates to make sure they make the right choices for their college or career, but also noted that they will “live in a rapidly changing world, and (they) should always be open to change.”

“Never be afraid to say, ‘This is not for me anymore, I want to do something different now,’” Vaughan said. “Life is too short to spend it doing something you hate or something that is boring.”

Vaughan’s new duties will begin on July 1; he’ll be replaced by Courtney Long, herself a Waynesville graduate, who has previously served as the assistant principal at Waynesville High School. Vaughan’s predecessor was Joe Petrich, who is retiring this year after 29 years in the school district.

Superintendent Judene Blackburn said that of the 345 graduates, 143 have earned “A-plus” scholarships through a program of school-based community service and tutoring that can be used for free tuition at Missouri’s community colleges and partial scholarships at some four-year colleges. That corresponds to more $450,000 in “A-plus” scholarship funds, she said, part of a total of $2.5 million in scholarships earned by the Class of 2010 to be used during the next four years.

Eighty of the graduates earned GPAs of 3.5 or higher, she said. Of those 80 graduates, 29 have scored higher than 85 percent on college entrance exams. From the total graduating class, 75 seniors earned college preparatory certificates from the Missouri State Board of Education and 35 have earned a variety of vocational task points from the Waynesville Career Center, formerly known as Waynesville Technical Academy.

“You worked hard to get here and have accomplished much along the way,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn called for a moment of silence, noting that some of the graduates would have liked to have parents or other relatives present who have died, in some cases serving as members of the military. Numerous others, including Maj. Glen Wright, the father of Waynesville Co-Salutatorian Devin Wright, could not attend because they are currently serving overseas in military duties.

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