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With 79 Graduates, Class Of 2009 Is Largest In Years

Valedictorian Adrian Tallant and Salutatorian Amber Burney

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Seventy-nine Water Valley seniors are candidates for diplomas in Thursday night’s graduation ceremony.

The commencement will begin at 7 p.m., May 21, at the Tad Smith Coliseum.

The class is the largest in the tenure of Dr. Glenn Kitchens, High School Principal who will welcome the attendees and introduce the first speaker, Salutatorian Amber Burney daughter of Tracy Kisner of Water Valley and Jeff Burney of Coffeeville.

Following the salutatorian’s speech, Kitchens will recognize the 11 honor graduates in the class. These honorees include Burney, Valedictorian Adrian Tallant, Tyler Jones, Jessica Goolsby, Rashida Rogers, Yosheka Conrad, Josh Sullivan, Sanesha Joy, Yureka Hoskins, Shaniqua Wesley, and Marli Craven.

“Each of these students have maintained a 92 or higher grade point average,” Kitchens said. The average is taken from all courses taken by the students from which Carnegie units are earned, dating back to the eighth grade, according to Kitchens.

Kitchens will then introduce Valedictorian Tallant, who will address the crowd. He is the son of Phillip and Candy Tallant. The much-anticipated presentation of diplomas and certificates will follow Tallant’s speech.

The class also includes eight medalists from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Young American’s Challenge. Water Valley, now the only school in Mississippi participating in the program, has a total of 35 medalists.

Although Kitchens is quick to point out that he doesn’t have favorites, this class is very special to him. “We started school here together the first day,” he said, referring to that hot day in August of 2003 when the class started 7th grade and he became Principal.

Kitchens said that the class members are a lot of fun. “Overall they are very bright and very mischievous.”

Kitchens told of an incident that occurred during the 7th grade year during which one of the young men poured a carton of milk over the head of a young lady. Probably the result of a young love spat, he added.

Kitchens grinned and remembered that the young man marched out of the lunchroom under his own power and came directly to his office. “He told me what he did and said, ‘I am here for my punishment.’”

The next time the pair had a class together, the young man brought a homemade t-shirt on which he had written “Got Milk?” with a black marking pen. Not a bad prank for a 7th grade student, he said.

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