James River High School held graduation indoors for the first time in years. The “new gym” of the school’s sports complex was packed with enthusiastic supporters of the class of 2013. 127 graduates in the Class of 2013 walked into the gym to the JRHS concert band’s arrangement of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Senior Amber Tiller opened with “The Star Spangled Banner.” Later the JRHS Singing Knights performed with a solo by Senior Morgan Rakes.
Words of wisdom and encouragement came from Class president Kelly Albert and SCA president Maggie Grumbine. Salutatorian Jessica Simmons spoke, “Assistant principal Mike Ketron called the school “Mayberry” when he first arrived. Since then he has even dressed as Barney Fife.” It is a small town school, one of the benefits of the JRHS tradition. Joey Kane the Valedictorian is heading to college to major in engineering at UVA. Kane encouraged, “Return to the Roanoke Valley to work after you pursue your degrees.” Be sure to do what you enjoy as a career path was part of his message.
Principal Jamie Talbott read from a Dan Casey, Roanoke Times column about the JRHS students donating their efforts of a Toy Mountain concert to Staunton River High School after the deaths of three students at SRHS. He commended the students in the class and offered them a standing ovation from the well over 1,500 people in the gym.
School Superintendent Dr. Tony Brads announced that there were 127 graduates, out of them 54 will attend a 4 year college, 43 a 2 year, 29 are entering the workforce and 1 the military. 105 received a Technical education seal. 97 received college credit.
After diplomas were awarded, the students were pronounced graduates. 13 years of school erupted in tossing of caps and oodles of silly string flew through the air. Finally, the grads marched out of the gym and into the future.