By: ROGER ALFORD Associated Press Writer
May 22, 2013
WILLIAMSON - The 2013 Tug Valley area top of the class, or as described by Williamson Kiwanis Club President Johnny Branch as “the best of the best”, were honored Monday evening in a special ceremony held at the Southern West Virginia Community and Technology Center (SWVCTC) Williamson Campus’ Applied Technology Center.
The welcome was given to those in attendance by President Branch, and the welcome to the City of Williamson was delivered by Mayor Darrin McCormick. The song “America” was led by Kiwanis member Matthew Gilliam and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Kiwanis member Doyle Van Meter.
The greeting to the SWVCTC campus was delivered by Rita Roberson, who serves as the Director of Campus Operations for the facility. A musical selection entitled “Follow Love” was performed by Sarah McVey, the Choral Teacher from Mingo Central High School. The keynote speaker for the evening, Peter Cherukuri, who was a former recipient of the best of the best award, was unable to attend the event and in his stead, President Branch addressed the graduates.
Mingo County Commission President John Mark Hubbard, who also is a Kiwanis member, introduced the recipients of the top of the class honors, congratulating each graduate and their family on their success.
Valedictorians from Belfry, Pike Central, Phelps and Sheldon Clark High Schools were honored from the Kentucky side of the Tug River, as were those from Mingo Central, Tug Valley, Omega Christian Academy and the Regional Christian School from the West Virginia Side.
Representing Belfry were Jacob T. Hatfield and Paul Andrew Bevins, as well as David Thaxton and Rachel Yates (unable to attend). The top students from Pike Central were Drew Burke and Kyle Salisbury. Kansas Valencia Moore and Victoria Ashley Newsome represented the Regional Christian School and Corey Stump received the top position for Phelps High School. From Sheldon Clark High were Hannah Burke and Katelyn Hope Newsome, and Michael R. Smith was honored from the Omega Christian Academy. Shaunda Cisco was the top graduate from Tug Valley and was joined by Sydney G. Chapman of Mingo Central, who also received the most votes for the prestigious Best of the Best award, which was the highest honor of the evening.
The Williamson Kiwanis Club recognized the sponsor of the event, Alpha Natural Resources, for its continued financial support and commitment to honoring academic excellence.