MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 21, 2010

Muskogee seniors mark milestone

Class of 2010 urged to stick necks out

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— The class that won the Muskogee High School Homecoming Spirit award for the past four years, showed that spirit one last time Friday night at the MHS commencement ceremony.

Top graduate Chelsey Puckett noted such spirit, then encouraged her classmates to be successful by becoming turtles.

“In order for the turtle to move, it has to stick its neck out,” she said while giving the Stern Award address. “Every leader in the world has been a turtle.”

She listed Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Gates and Eleanor Roosevelt as great turtles, then added singer Lady Gaga, known for her wild clothes.

“It’s not because of her outfits but for her groundbreaking music,” Puckett said. “Never forget to stick your neck out for what you want in life.”

Many members of the MHS Class of 2010 already stuck their necks out. Principal Gary Bivin, overseeing his final commencement before his retirement, said class members amassed at least $2.5 million in scholarships.

“You have distinguished yourselves by achieving the highest test scores the school has ever had,” Bivin said, referring to state End of Instruction tests.

Lisa Colbert said her daughter, Sydni Johnson, had an excellent year at MHS. She credited counselor Anita Benson for part of that success.

“She was remarkable,” Colbert said. “She instilled in my daughter that life is in the palm of her hands.”

Colbert said her daughter managed to do what needs to be done to get into college and be a physical therapist.

Ryan Lester, giving the McEntee Award address, encouraged his classmates “do what you love and be good at it.”

He warned that it won’t be easy.

“How do you know what is the right path to choose to go,” he asked. “You won’t. Accept that and it will greatly easy your anxiety. Don’t worry, work hard and let the chips fall where they may.”

Honor graduate Emily Finney reflected the diversity of her classmates and teachers by reading a poem written by the Advanced Placement literature class. The poem said that while seniors came from different places, they all wore Rougher green that night.

Senior Kyra Kennedy sang a solo, “Brave,” accompanied by seniors Jericha McGill on keyboard and Collin Ferrell on saxophone.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at 684-2928 or cspaulding @muskogeephoenix.com.