The Chillicothe High School graduation ceremony was held Sunday afternoon in the school's gymnasium where 124 seniors received their high school diplomas.

The Chillicothe High School graduation ceremony was held Sunday afternoon in the school’s gymnasium where 124 seniors received their high school diplomas. View photo gallery Class President Madison Graham led those who were in attendance in saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Brian Sherrow, Chillicothe High School principal, welcomed everyone to the ceremony and introduced the student speakers, Claire Shipp, daughter of John and Annie Shipp, and Liberty Cox, daughter of Joseph and Terria Cox. In her message, “Life is a Highway,” Claire Shipp led her classmates on an audio journey that began 13 years ago. “As I left my house this morning I was reminded of our first drives to school, incredible community, shared memories, middle school careers, major milestones, and of the mark we as a class have left on this school,” she said. She reflected on the first day of kindergarten at Dewey School, the first place where she and her fellow graduates became a class. “We learned our addresses and phone numbers, and we also learned to discover our dreams,” she said. “For the first time, we found our passion for space, teaching, or painting. We started setting goals – unrealistic to some – but achievable for us.” She reflected upon the assets of Chillicothe’s rural setting and the support from community residents. “No matter our interests, passions, or goals, the community members of Chillicothe have willingly supported us on our journeys,” she said. “Through my travels, I have come to understand that this community is unique. No other place in Missouri or the United States loves their youth as much as Chillicothe does. Not only have we been supported by our community, our families have selflessly assisted us on our journeys.” As she recalled the physical path to graduation, she noted memories along the way. Along Washington Street was El Toro restaurant where her class “became a family.” “While it may just be a restaurant, El Toro has served as a venue for us to share our dreams and some admittedly not so great plans,” she said. “In addition, we have gathered there to celebrate our many wins, arguably one of our best being our win against Maryville last fall.” As she continued north on her journey, passing Calhoun Street and reflecting on the middle school years. “While at Chillicothe Middle School we, as a class, discovered our talents as individuals, and learned the importance of success as a whole,” she said. “Whether it be sports, band, art, choir, or ag, it was at the Chillicothe Middle School that we first got to make small, but important, decisions that would affect our futures dramatically.” The Class of 2018 has joined each other in celebration with each milestone that has been passed. “We bonded by sharing our driving mishaps when we only held our permits, and we admired each other’s first driver’s license photos when we finally made the jump to independence – some with more attempts than others. No matter how many tries it took, once we received our driver's licenses our worlds changed. We were officially able to pursue our own paths – in more ways than one.” Reflecting on the high school years, Shipp was reminded of the accomplishments that the class has achieved. “The Class of 2018 is made of All-State athletes, renowned artists, beautiful singers, world-changing scientists, gifted minds, efficient nurses, grounded agriculturalists, and hard-working men and women,” she said. “Each of you have excelled in your own rights to achieve the unthinkable because we, the class of 2018, know how to work.” “As I look out at the class of 2018 I can see politicians, teachers, welders, soldiers, and doctors,” Shipp said. “I can see a world of potential.” She noted that individual dreams will guide the graduates on individual paths once they leave the school. “Our roads may lead us to college, the workforce, or the military,” Shipp said. “No matter our destination, I urge you, Class of 2018, please never forget to enjoy the ride.” Liberty Cox then addressed her fellow graduates and those in attendance at the ceremony. Her speech was “Roadmaps of Life” and she based her remarks on a “roadmap of our small town.” “This map has guided us through the long journey of completing school and has led us to this very day and what a road trip it has been,” Cox stated. “The journey has been filled with new adventures and has left us with memories that we will forever cherish.” “The roads we have ventured as a class such as Dickinson Street (Dewey School), Oak Street (Field School), Elm Street (Central School), Calhoun Street (middle school), and Hornet Drive (high school) have always led us in the right direction,” she said. “At Dewey School, our teachers buckled our seatbelts for us. They prepared us for the journey ahead and helped us develop many new skills that we packed along with us down new roads. At this point, the trip before us seemed so large and the end of the road seemed so far. But soon, we learned that each of us was destined to be great and that the roads we took in life made us who we are.” The next stop was Field School. “Here, we were introduced to an entire new building and packed our suitcases with even more skills. We learned how to multiply and divide through banana split math facts, conquering all of our multiplication tables until we earned a banana split with a cherry on top... At Field, teachers fueled us for the next roads we were to venture down and sent us on our way.” Then came Central School. “Here, we became more and more independent and began to take a hold of the steering wheel for ourselves,” Cox said. “Our time at Central School overall prepared us to rely less on our cruise control and more on our hands-on steering. At the time, completing the Missouri Marathon, successfully acting out a Famous Missourian part, and belting out the lyrics to a song inspired by tacos, submarine sandwiches, and hot dogs were all experiences that made us beam with pride; however, many more accomplishments were still to come throughout our ride.” Middle School on Calhoun was the next stop. “At the middle school, we adjusted to new speed limits in order to get to classes in a timely manner. We also had to develop in areas of responsibility, keeping a planner, and always remembering to wear our school IDs.” The entire means of education shifted up a gear, Cox noted. “In middle school, we wrote research papers, presented science-fair projects, and learned about anatomy by dissecting pigs,” she said. “These new roads seemed difficult to follow, and at times, the gears were difficult to control, but the class of 2018 continued pushing on, mile by mile becoming closer to reaching our goals.” The final stop was Chillicothe High School on Hornet Drive. “Walking into CHS for the first time freshman year carrying with us our suitcases full of skills was like driving a car on our own for the very first time,” Cox said. “By then, we knew how to read the street signs, when to stop, slow down and go, and how to adjust to new speed limits, but getting behind the wheel and directing ourselves through traffic was still a little terrifying.” There were GPAs, ACTs and the knowledge that the journey was nearing an end. “Our class is overflowing with leaders who have worked hard to reach their desired destinations, but unfortunately, this is when our maps no longer overlap and when the roads we take begin to differ,” Cox said. “Our GPS systems will recalculate, while we travel down new roads, and for the first time in 13 years, we will no longer travel them as a class. In closing, Cox stated that some graduates will venture down roads that lead to higher education, while others may choose the workforce, or military service. “Now is the time to create our own roadmaps and no matter the roads we take, the class of 2018 will continue to dare to be great,” Cox stated. Sunday’s graduation ceremony also included the presentation of the senior class gift, as announced by class president, Madison Graham, to CHS principal, Brian Sherrow. The class of 2018 contributed to the purchase of a tarping system for the gymnasium floor. Several fundraising events took place to raise money for the class’ portion of contribution. Chillicothe R-2 Superintendent, Dr. Roger Barnes, also spoke at the graduation ceremony. “The Class of 2018 consists of much talent,” Barnes stated. “We have witnessed their excellent performance both in and out of the classroom. From the leadership and technical skills they possess, to their academic performance, their athletic successes, and their involvement in student organizations, this class has provided numerous positive examples for others to follow.” He shared that out of the 124 students graduating on Sunday, 56 will attend a four-year college or university, 44 will attend a two-year college, 10 will attend a vocational or trade school, two will enter the military, and 12 will enter the workforce. Of Sunday’s graduates, 78 have qualified for A+ school scholarships. These students maintained a minimum of 2.5 GPA, 95 percent attendance rate since 9th grade, and performed 50 hours of tutoring prior to graduation. There were 63 students who maintained at least a B+ grade average over the four years. In addition to receiving their diploma Sunday, 30 students received the College Prep Certificate, and 60 students received the Technical Preparatory Certificate. Three seniors received Bright Flight scholarship recognition (scoring a 31 or higher on the ACT): Brett Shaffer, Hannah Sherrow and Madison Spath. Fifty-four members of the graduating class have earned a total of 820 college credit hours. In all, members of the graduating class received a total of $1.58 million in local, college and vocational technical school scholarships. Valedictorian honors for the class of 2018 were shared by Claire Shipp, daughter of John and Annie Shipp, and Brett Shaffer, son of Bill and Janice Shaffer. The Chillicothe High School Symphonic Band played for the processional and recessional. The class motto is: “Dare to be Great.” After seniors tossed their caps into the air, they exited the gym to greet family and friends. Members of the CHS Class of 2018 are as follows: Muhammed Shafiq Ahmad, Jacob Barry Anderson, Steven Anthony Aragon, Bryce Justyce Atwell, Clarence Isaiah Wayne Boon, Elena Suzannah Grace Boon, Zackary Quinn Boyles, Jessica Lynn Brade , Dakota Duane Brady , Nathanial Paul Brooks, Erek Christian Brose, Zackery Ryan Buckallew, Jonathan William Burk, Kayde Wright Burton, Kaydee Mae Busse, Wade Charles Campbell, Matthew Thomas Cappell, Michael Dennis Cappell, Aidriaan Micheal Carden, Nicholas Lawler Carlton, Austin James Case, Jared Scott Cichon , Katelyn Renee Clariday, Liberty Jane Cox, Noah Garrison Cross, Elitza Sheylise Crouch, Eric Scott Davis , Jylian LeeAnn Davis, Brittany Morgan Derickson, Alexei Jan Dickerson, Kayla Renee Distler, Garret Joseph Donoho, Spencer Thomas Eller, Gracie Elizabeth Ellis, Trista Tierra Emmons, Andrew Ryan Englert, Brynlee Kerryn Faulkner, Caitlyn Alyssa Foltz, Zachary Allen Girres, Morgan Bayleah Grable, Madison May Graham, Kayler Ann Grant, Walker Blair Graves, Jason Daniel Greer, Jr., Lauren Elizabeth Gregory, Bryce Joseph Hague, Emilee Gale Haley, Zachary Dale Harper, Benjamin William Hayen, Mykel Michele Heese, Nathaniel Wayne Hoel, Hunter Ray Horton , Ridge Michael Howe, Harlie Mayson Jones, Molly May Jones, Lori Kaylee Kelly , Joshua Ryan Kille , Kristofer Isak Kitchin, Thor Satriani Lawson, Elizabeth Rose Leach, Morgan Brittany Lowery, Ashlee Breann Mammen, Adler Ryan-Cole Marshall, Selena Ann Marie Mathews, McKenzee Renae Maupin, Justin William Meierer, Dominique Marquis Midgyett, Rylee Michelle Miller, Logan Jackson Minnick, Hayden Mac Reed Montgomery, Cameron Deann Moore, Kirsten Faith Moore, Taylor James Moore, Kenneth Eugene Morgan, Dylan Micheal Munson, Trista Dawn Sue Neal, Rigdon James Newsom, Wade Wendall Nylin, Jacob Alan Parkes, Jackson Nathanial Pauley, Lane Charles Robert Peters, McKenna Katherine Poling, Rebecca Ann Richardson, Anthony William Riley, Kimberlee Lynn Roney, Caitlyne Louise Ross, Ethan Alexander Ross, Brittney Leanne Rudd, Alexander Joseph Rupp, Michael Lee Sandefer, Gavin Cole Seeley, Konner Quinn Sewell, Anna Noel Shackelford, Brett Ryan Shaffer, Hannah Lea Sherrow, Jessica Rochelle Shipp, Olivia Claire Shipp, Alexandra Sue Shoemaker, Arianna Belle Showalter, Jensen Delaney Simmer, Victoria Ann Skinner, Samara Mae Smyer, Zoe LeighAnn Souders, Madison Ashley Spath, David Trace Staton , Megan Dawn Stover, Timmy Lyn Suggs, Jr., Kaitline Brianna Summers, Kayla Naomi Thorne , Andrew John Toedebusch, Trae Abie Toot, Brayden Michael Vance, Briauna Nichole Vaught, Ruthie MaeLynn Geneé Vinson, Austin Glen Wedlock, Gabriel John White, Tanner Ray Wilkison, Taylor Marie Wilkison, Jackson Glenn Paul Willard, Bailey Kay Grace Wilson, Lucas William Wine, Madison Elizabeth Wyse, Brandon Montgomery Young, William Gunnar Young.