Not even a heavy downpour that lasted most of the day could keep the Greenbrier High School seniors and their families and friends from filling the Farris Center at the University of Central Arkansas for a graduation ceremony.
More than 200 seniors started arriving early to make that well known march to "Pomp and Circumstance." The graduating class, which included 208 members, entered the event with two lines of teachers and faculty all lined up to welcome them as they marched in. The Greenbrier High band, under the direction of director Jennifer Church, provided the stately tune as the crowd cheered.
The opening prayer was given by Jonathan Wall, highest honor student, followed by a special prayer sung by the Greenbrier High School choir. Jordan Bennett, choir director, wrote the song especially for Greenbrier.
Honor students, highest honor students, and AP scholar students with distinction not only wore the traditional Panther blue cap and gown, but were also garbed with special gold braids and gold medallions designating their high scholastic achievements. Twenty-two percent of this class graduated with highest honors, honors, and scholars with distinction or honors. Principal Susan Jackson commended the class of 2011 for being "bright and talented people." She further stated, "They are an outstanding group of students who have been a joy to us. We will miss them."
Matt Carter, class president, gave a welcoming address. Jarrett Alexander, Cheyenne Brewer, Kayla Waters, Alex Erbach, and Megan Ivy — all Highest Honor students — also spoke and touched upon some of the funny things their classmates did, like "thinking there was an earthquake drill when an anonymous person fell through the ceiling" or "disposing of dead raccoons in strange ways".
Sobering and blessed words were also spoken with such things as, "High school is over, but remember that your education continues," and "Happiness, friendship, and peace should be your best goals in life ... embrace your uniqueness".
As school board president Gus Lorenz and superintendent Scott Spainhour gave out the diplomas, the names were called out by assistant principal Tommy Reed.
Beth Hartwick, who spoke as a 1969 alumna of GHS, inducted the graduates into the role of alumni with the traditional moving of their tassel from the right side to the left of their cap. Calvin McNabb, hghest honor student, gave the benediction, which then signaled all the alumni to throw their caps in the air with joy.
When asked how it felt to graduate, Lacy Distin and Jacob Padgett said, "amazing" and "bitttersweet."