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89 Seniors Graduate from Ava R-I

Submitted Photo (Above) Ava senior class graduation speaker Grace Key. (Below left) School Board President Mark Henry awarded diplomas. (Below right) The High School band performed during ceremonies held at the Ava High School gymnasium.

by Doug Berger

The 2021 Ava High School commencement ceremonies were moved to the high school gymnasium Saturday evening due to inclement weather. The ceremonies were also presented on the screen at the Ava Performing Arts Center.

Eighty-nine graduates received their diplomas during the ceremonies which featured presentations by the Ava High School band and senior choir.

Grace Key and Grace Mathews represented the senior class as speakers.

Key discussed the challenges the class faced because of the pandemic as part of her address.

“We are graduating high school and even in a normal year, that is something to be proud of, but of course we all know, this year was not a normal year. We faced an obstacle no one could have predicted or prepared for,” Key, who plans to attend the University of Missouri and pursue a degree in the health professions, stated.

“We are dreamers, we are doers. We have already shown our abilities to adapt and overcome. We can take a hit and just keep going. We have made it this far, and it has shown that our class, our generation, truly is the future,” she said.

Mathews also addressed how the school and community were there for the students during challenging times. Mathews, who had started her years in school in a large school district, also indicated how she appreciated being in a smaller community, where the teachers knew the students, and all the students knew each other, and there was support for each other.

“It hurts to fall down, but it hurts a lot less if there is someone there to help you up,” she stated.

Chad Williams, an Ava High School graduate with the Class of 1992, was the alumni speaker. Williams would graduate from Missouri State University and go on to a career in sales management with companies including Black & Decker, Coca-Cola and Under Armour.

In his message he stressed three points-get comfortable being uncomfortable, what got you here won’t get you there and it’s ok to look back as long as you continue moving forward.

He pointed out it takes time to adapt to new situations.

“We’ve heard great stories all our lives of people achieving great things, accomplishing incredible feats and/or making a positive impact on the world around them and just about none of them are about a person never making adjustments, experiencing change or overcoming adversity. Today is a culmination of all the hard work you have done…tomorrow you begin your adult life and successful people must be objective. Objective about what you are, where you need development, and what to do to evolve,” he stated.

He also pointed out that change is important. He indicated there was a saying at one of his companies that a fast way to get fired was to say that’s what we’ve always done.

“Innovation never goes out of style,” he stated.

Following the speakers Ava High School Principal Dr. Teresa Nash presented the Class of 2021 to the Board of Education and diplomas were presented to the graduates by School Board President Mark Henry.

“We might not have it all together, but together we have it all,” class motto of Ava High School Class of 2021.