MONTGOMERY – A colorful array of red and white filled the Montgomery Area Athletic and Community Center Friday night for the 109th annual graduation ceremony. 66 students received diplomas from school board president, Adam Diggan, while a packed audience congratulated them for their successes.
Keynote speaker, William E. Hampton, class of 1979, returned to his Alma Mater to speak to the graduating seniors about doing things the right way. “Work hard, reach high, and smell the roses along the way,” he told them. Hampton is retired from the United States Air Force where he served for 27 years. He was a colonel, a legislative liaison to Congress, and also served in Iraq. He spoke of his own graduation and reminded the students not to take anything for granted. “A diploma is a rare thing,” he acknowledged.
Hampton, a star athlete, competed in football and finished second in states for javelin while he was at Montgomery. “I was not a stellar student,” he added, but graduated successfully from Bowling Green University before entering the Air Force.
He encouraged the students to look ahead and think seriously about their future and where they see themselves 20 years from now. “Have a plan, and take a course of action,” he pleaded.
Valedictorian, Jason Rutkoski also gave a speech and based his education to open up lots of opportunities for him. Samantha Wise, Salutatorian, talked about being part of a team and looking to the future to put all the pieces together.
Superintendent Daphne Ross urged everyone to take some risks and to believe in themselves while using their strengths and talents along the way.