Covid, Snowmageddon, and Floods…Nothing Stops the Class of ’21

Covid, Snowmageddon, and Floods...Nothing Stops the Class of '21

Well the Class of 2021 has certainly had a year!  They finished their junior year online as the pandemic spread throughout our country and missed out on many milestones such as prom and finishing their spring sports.  So they eagerly awaited the new school year hoping to capitalize on new memories.  However Covid wasn’t through with us.   More remote learning followed that ebbed and flowed like the tide.  In February, we had one of the worst ice storms that cause severe damage to our campus, shutting the campus down for five weeks, and everyone was once again learning remotely.  But that didn’t stop the senior class from coming back strong, and in April everyone was back making memories, breaking track records, and going to regionals and state in athletics and academics.  Everything was looking great, and then the rain started…and it didn’t stop.  So on Monday, May 24th, when it was time for the Class of 2021 to graduate, did they let some rain slow them down?  Heck no!  These kids gathered together, waited for it to let up, and made the best of it, just like they have done all year long.  Before the procession, the scholarship awards were announced on the big screen which included Braidyn Burr- Kurt Bluhm Memorial Scholarship- $5,100, Texas State General Scholarship-$4,000, and Ponder Athletic Booster Club Scholarship- $1,000; Zachary Clark- Ponder Athletic Booster Club Scholarship-$1,000; Hailey Crumpton- Kelly Box Memorial Scholarship- $1,000, Ponder Athletic Booster Club Scholarship- $500, Cameron J. Kitten Memorial Scholarship- $630, Texas Tech Presidential Merit Scholarship-$2,000, Fort Worth Invitational Female Show and Sale Scholarship-$4,000, CoServ Leadership Scholarship, Blue Ribbon Scholarship -$4,000, and Ponder FFA Booster Club Scholarship- $3,000; Siera Cypert- UNT Excellence Scholarship- $20,000; Cordie Ford- Cisco College Athletic Scholarship- $4,400; Alexa Garner- Maverick Academic Scholarship (UTA)- $32,000; Riley Jackson- Baylor University Academic Scholarship -$80,000, Rose Crawford Memorial Scholarship- $500; Sydne Jones- OU Merit NRTW Scholarship- $28,000; Jamie Low- University of Mary Hardin Baylor Academic Scholarship- $28,000; Ashton McCall-Ezell- Greenbriar Pharmacy Scholarship- $1,000, Ponder Education Foundation CoServ Scholarship- $1,500; Hayden Moussa- Hendrix College Honors Scholarship _$96,000, Miller Service Scholarship- $8,000, Annie Ozella Safety Scholarship- $500; Nicolas Nguyen-University of North Texas Excellence Scholarship- $28,000; Gracie Perryman- Texas Tech University Presidential Merit Scholarship- $20,000; Chloe Poole- Oklahoma Baptist University Athletic Scholarship- $138,500; Jordan Roberts- Ponder Music Booster Club Scholarship- $500; Faith Skelly- Texas Woman’s University Excellence Scholarship -$12,000; Chase Taylor- Hendrix College Athletic Scholarship- $88, 936, Ponder PALS Scholarship- $3,000, Ponder Athletic Booster Club Scholarship- $1,000; Averee Tipton- Ponder Athletic Booster Club Scholarship- $1,000; Evan Vanatta- University of Arizona Merit Scholarship- $120,000; Haley VanZuiden- Texas Woman’s University Outstanding Student Scholarship- $16,000; Texas Woman’s University Honors Program Scholarship- $26,000; Taylor Wells- T.S. and Alice Cope Family Memorial Scholarship- $2,000, Ponder Athletic Booster Club Scholarship- $1,000, University of Mary Hardin Baylor Honors Scholarship -$28,000, Paul Pigott Scholarship- $10,000; Alex Washburn- Blue Ribbon Club Scholarship- $1,000, University of Texas UT Award- $8,300, Stephen D. Michna Memorial Scholarship- $1,000, Ponder FFA Booster Club Scholarship- $3,000; Alex Weiland- Denton County Fire Chiefs Association Scholarship- $1,000; Dallas Howard- Texas Math and Sciences Coaches Association- $850, Ponder Veterinary Hospital Math/Science Scholarship- $1,000, University of North Texas Executive Scholarship- $40,000; Caitlyn Brown- Highest Ranking Graduate Scholarship to Texas A& M-$13,000, Ponder Music Booster Club Scholarship- $500, Ponder Education Foundation Scholarship- $1, 500, Bank of the West Math/Business Scholarship- $500.   One young lady was left off the scholarship powerpoint and announcement,  Claire Porter.  So we wanted to give her a shoutout in The Roar as she was an ace reporter for us!  She will be attending Texas State University and received the Texas State Achievement Scholarship-$24,000. Congrats to these young ladies and gentlemen!

When a break in the rain came, it was time to get started! The graduates were led into commencement by junior ushers, Marlee Moynagh, Reece Pagel, Clay Akins, and Tyler Akins. Once the graduates were seated, the invocation was given by Gracie Perryman.  Dallas Howard, salutatorian, spent her time at the podium thanking all who had helped her and her classmates achieve all they have.  Caitlyn Brown, valedictorian, paid tribute to a relative and friend, as well as, some special teachers who have helped shape her life and guide her on her career path.  Dr. Jeremy Thompson, superintendent, then presented the class and diplomas, as Dr. Matthew Birdwell, high school principal, called names.  Board members Chance Allen, Craig Brown, Vangee Deussen, Brian Hutcherson, Justin Schulz, and Shawn Wilkinson were on hand to pass out diplomas.  Along with Dr. Thompson, assistant superintendent, Kent Josselet, also assisted with the distribution of diplomas.  Once everyone had received their degree, Dr. Birdwell instructed the students to switch their tassels from the right side to the left side signifying their transition from high school.  Then the high school students were certified and mortar boards were tossed into the air.  Harper Mulkey concluded the ceremony with the benediction.  As the graduates filed out, huge smiles graced their faces and cheers erupted from the crowd- the rain was completely forgotten.  Hugs and cheers followed and lots of tears, too.   Congratulations to the class of 2021!