By Wendy Burton
FORT GIBSON — With more than $4 million in scholarship awards going to the 141 graduates, Fort Gibson graduates will soon rocket into the future.
The close-knit community saw their latest crop of seniors graduate Friday evening.
Despite the excitement and pride that graduating from high school brings, many graduates, family and friends spent the evening wondering how life will be far away from everyone they’ve ever known.
Even Principal Gary Sparks found the 2010 graduation ceremony a bit more emotional than usual.
His youngest daughter, the only one of his children that spent her entire life in Fort Gibson schools, graduated Friday night too.
“I’ve known all these guys since they were little-bitty, and it’s an outstanding class,” Sparks said.
One highest honors graduate, Scott Moses, has spent the last four years participating in everything from student council, Drama Club, band, FCA, and too many other clubs and organizations to list.
He made many friends through it all and will miss them while he goes to college to study meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.
“I’m happy to be graduating, but a lot of these people I am going to miss, so it’s kind of a win/lose situation,” Scott said.
Parents are going to miss their children too, especially Sharon Short. Her son Jesse graduated and is going to attend Rogers State College in Claremore to major in nursing in the fall.
Jesse met with friends to get ready for graduation instead of getting ready at home.
“He didn’t want to be around me, because I’ve cried all day,” Sharon Short said.
Courtney Gaston, winner of a full-ride scholarship to play football at the University of Arkansas, will be missed by his family and older brother Terrance.
“We’re just going to miss him a lot,” Terrance said, beaming at his brother sitting with the other graduates. “He’s going to be far away, and we won’t always know what’s going on.”
However, he isn’t worried too much about his little brother doing well in college.
“I’m very confident in his decision-making abilities.” Terrance said. “We’re also just a phone call away.”
Kady Johnson is moving away from her family and friends too — just two days after graduation.
She plans to work two jobs over the summer in Shawnee and attend Oklahoma Baptist University in the fall.
Though Kady will miss her friends, she is looking forward to starting a new adventure.
“It’s exciting getting to go somewhere new, to college to meet new people,” Johnson said.
In all, 80 scholarships were announced for the graduating class of 141 Friday evening, and that was only a portion of the $4,255,972 in scholarship money the graduates will receive.
The total includes eight full-ride athletic scholarships, three Gates Millennium winners, five future U.S. Marines and two future U.S. Army members.
Superintendent Derald Glover told the graduates not to worry too much about the future, because he has watched them excel at everything they do.
“I want to thank you for representing us with such class and character,” Glover said.