Kiwanis honors seniors at luncheon

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 7, 2005

The Luverne Kiwanis Club honored the top graduation seniors on Tuesday with a special Honors Day luncheon held at the Crenshaw County Country Club.

Students from Highland Home, Luverne, Brantley and Crenshaw Christian Academy attended the luncheon.

A series of special speakers, including Dr. Charles Tompkins, Probate Judge Jim Perdue and Assistant State Superintendent of Education Craig Pouncey, congratulated the near-40 seniors in attendance on their accomplishments.

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The program was unique in that all three speakers are graduates of the Crenshaw County School System. Tompkins graduated from Brantley High School in 1976, as did Pouncey that same year from Highland Home High School. Perdue is a 1969 graduate of Luverne High School.

"The one thing I know here is that we have four excellent school systems here in Crenshaw County. When I left Brantley I certainly felt like I was prepared. I guess the only thing, was when I got to college I had never seen a chemistry lab, so that was a shock," said Tompkins, laughing, who moved on to study medicine at the University of Alabama.

Tompkins said he remains a strong supporter of Brantley schools, even wearing a 'Bulldog' pin on his jacket at work everyday.

Perdue could relate to Tompkins' 'college culture-shock' at Alabama.

"When I started at Auburn, I walked into the biggest classroom on campus for a history course. It seats over 500 people and I thought I was at a pep rally," he said.

After working abroad for many years, Perdue finally returned to Crenshaw County.

"I don't regret having left," he said. "Because you learn a lot when you travel."

Perdue encouraged the graduates to pursue their individuality first.

"When you graduate in a few weeks, it's going to be your name on that diploma, not the school mascot's or your parent's, or your friend's," he said. "And you represent the best Crenshaw County has to offer, because of the things you have done and the things you have yet to do. Each generation faces challenges. The generation that is now expiring, the 'greatest generation', had their challenges thrust upon them by the Great Depression and World War II. You each will face your own challenges."

Pouncey concluded the program and told the seniors that the most important thing they could do right out of high school was to 'discover a passion.'

"If you have passion about what you love to do then you'll never work a day in your life," he said. "That's what myself, Judge Perdue and Dr. Tompkins do everyday. We get up in the morning to fulfill a passion."

School systems nationwide, said Pouncey, have changed considerably in the last 30 years.

"It used to be that the expectations were different," he said. "As long as you came to school everyday, did what you were told and didn't cause any problems, that was fine. What you learned wasn't held accountable by the state in the way that it is now. But you are more prepared to face the future because of that accountability."

Students honored at the luncheon were:

From CCA, Morgan Lei Welch, valedictorian; Emily Lynne Morgan, salutatorian; Samantha Lauren Petrey, Teri Lynn Colquett, Anna Marie Wolfe, Robert Clayton Williams, Pamela Casey Seales, Wallace Deurel Kelly, Jr., Elizabeth Danielle Lowe, Elizabeth Holly Odom.

From Highland Home, Amanda Michelle Dunn, valedictorian; Ellen Campbell, salutatorian; Sonya Marie Brown, Jarod Brent Owens, Sara Alison Massey, Brenna Rose Green, Brittany Nicole McGough, Tyler Chase Massey.

From Luverne, Daniel Tyler Brown, valedictorian; Christopher Brian Sexton, salutatorian; Haley Beth Williams, Guy Brandon Acreman, Andrew Joseph West, Areka Shardes Smith, Dequaris Traneel Reed, Erin Cody McLeod, Caroline Victoria Knox, Amber LeShae Strops, Macklin Antwon Burnett, Jessica Nicole Black.

From Brantley, William Shane Haws, valedictorian; Dusty Rain Dunn, salutatorian; Brittany Michelle Walker, Joe Richard Warrick, Joseph Dow Strickland, Steven Kurt Odom, Adrian Rashad Daniels, Joshua Paul Rayborn, Kayla Suzzane Kervin, Jeremy Quinton Dorsey.