HOULKA – Twenty-nine Houlka Attendance Center seniors handed out the traditional red roses to parents and people who influenced their education at graduation ceremonies Friday night.
Students and parents packed Houlka Gymnasium to watch the touching tradition were each graduating senior is given roses and walks into the crowd to hand them to parents, teachers and loved ones in the community.
Houlka Valedictorian Dillon Easley pointed out the evening was one of both sadness and joy.
“It is the end of our education at this school, but it is also the beginning of something new,” said Easley. “It’s time to say goodby. Tonight is also the first step of the rest of our lives.”
Easley thanked those who helped in graduate. He also charged his fellow students to do their best.
“I hope you take advantage of every opportunity, whether it is college or work,” said Easley. “This really is an important time in our lives.”
Salutatorian Robert Peden also thanked those who contributed to his education.
“We have experienced both success and failure,” said Peden. “Each has made us what we are today and I want to thank those who have stood by us through it all.”
Class historian Tatayana Hughes said this class started their journey in 2001, “but the best moment has to be right here tonight.”
Houlka also announced honors, awards and scholarships at Friday’s ceremony.
Honor Students – Conner Davidson, Dillon Easley, Tatayana Hughes, Teresa Moss and Robert Peden.
Beta Students – Conner Davidson, Teven Deale, Dillon Easley, Tatyana Hughes, Ana Lopez, Jessie Moore, Saydee Moss, Teresa Moss and Robert Peden.
Superintendent’s List – Conner Davidson, Dillon Easley, Jessie Moore and Robert Peden.
Houlka Hall of Fame – Dillon Easley, Robert Peden and Conner Davidson.
Principle Award – Dillon Easley.
STAR Student – Robert Peden.
STAR Teacher – Sid Burch.
R’Anna Beaty – Northwest Community College Scholarship.
Conner Davidson – Mississippi Highway Patrol, Itawamba Community College Leadership and Itawamba Community College ACT scholarships.
Dillon Easley – Itawamba Community College Valedictorian scholarship.
JaMarius Gates – Itawamba Community College Leadership scholarship.
Tatayana Hughes – Itawamba Community College Leadership and Itawamba Community College ACT scholarships.
Jessie Moore – Itawamba Community College scholarship.
Saydee Moss – Itawamba Community College Choir, Itawamba Community College Leadership and Itawamba Community College Center Stage scholarships.
Teresa Moss – Itawamba Community College Choir and Itawamba Community College Health Grant scholarships.
Robert Peden – Itawamba Community College ACT, Itawamba Community College Leadership, Itawamba Community College Salutatorian and Northeast Community College ACT scholarships.
Blake Williams – Itawamba Community College ACT scholarship.
U.S. Army College Signing Bonuses – Robert Peden and Conner Davidson.
Sydney Earp Memorial Scholarship – Saydee Moss.
Mekenzie Young Memorial Scholarship – Dillon Easley.
Jimbo Byars Memorial Scholarships – Jessie Moore and Conner Davidson.
Houlka Teacher of the Year – Trista Easton.
Houlka Parent of the Year – Pammie Davidson.
Houlka Retirees – Jimmy Kelly, Pearline Davis, Phyllis Hamilton, Lisa Clayton, Dianne Childers and William Henson.
Friday’s invocation was given by JaMarius Gates and the Benediction was given by Conner Davidson.
Principal Bo Sego served as Master of Ceremonies and Superintendent Dr. Betsy Collums handed each graduate their diploma.