Rock Port High School graduates celebrate the end of their high school careers by throwing their graduation caps.

Front row (left to right) – Ashleigh King, Gabe Minter, Fischer Tharp, Aaron Lawrence, Alex Burke, Cody Davis, Darius Skillen, Beth Davis, and Summer Greenwalt; middle row – Drue Kemerling, Kelsie Davis, Rebekah Lucas, Jessica Hunter, Bryce Pope, Brooklyn Jakub, Anika Lamb, Marisa Carder, Scarlett Kish, and Morgan Lingerfelt; and back row – Caleb Greene, Skyler Schomburg, Ethan Brumbaugh, Kalen LaHue, Alex Dewhirst, Austin Stoner, Josh Meinecke, Drew Weber, and Kade Jones. Ashton Laing and Gage Maxwell are not pictured.

Darius Skillen, left, is valedictorian for the Rock Port Class of 2020. Alex Burke, right, is salutatorian. Rock Port R-II School commencement was held Sunday, June 14, 2020.

The top 10 seniors of the Rock Port Class of 2020 (pictured above, left to right) are: front row – 1st – Darius Skillen, 2nd – Alex Burke, 3rd – Cody Davis, 4th – Gabe Minter, and 5th – Beth Davis; and back row – 6th – Fischer Tharp, 7th – Aaron Lawrence, 8th – Ethan Brumbaugh, 9th – Ashleigh King, and 10th – Brooklyn Jakub.

Rock Port High School senior Ethan Brumbaugh walks into the commencement ceremony with a big smile.

Rock Port High School senior Jessica Hunter was pleased to begin the proceedings to the start of a new chapter.

Rock Port High School graduate Ashleigh King shows off her diploma.

Rock Port High School senior Gabe Minter gave the invocation at the commencement ceremony.

Rock Port High School graduate Scarlett Kish proudly displays her diploma.

Rock Port R-II Schoool held commencement exercises for the Class of 2020 on Sunday, June 14, at Blue Jay Stadium.

Seniors entered as “Pomp & Circumstance” was played. Mr. Ethan Sickels, Superintendent, welcomed those present and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Gabriel Minter gave the invocation.

Mr. Sickels noted that this was the first outdoor graduation ceremony in nearly 30 years. The unique circumstances of the school year and graduation ceremony were fitting, as he pointed out the class is unique in a good way.

Mrs. Linda Dewhirst was the guest speaker.

Mr. Donnie Parsons, High School Principal, announced the seniors’ names along with scholarships and awards they had received.

Marisa Madison Carder will attend Peru State College in the fall to continue her general studies. Her major is undecided at this time. She is receiving a half-tuition scholarship from PSC.

Kelsie Mae Davis will be joining the United States Navy in the fall. She will be training to be a Machinist Mate. Kelsie will be stationed in Great Lakes, Illinois, in November. Kelsie also completed the steps for a Missouri A+ Scholarship.

Alexander Jon Dewhirst will attend Northwest Missouri State University in the fall. Alex will major in secondary/post-secondary History. Alex is receiving the Tower Scholarship from NWMSU.

Caleb Garon Greene received a one-year certificate in welding from Northwest Technical School in Maryville. Caleb plans to join the work force.

Summer LeeAnn Greenwalt will become a Griffin this fall at Missouri Western State University where she will enroll in their nursing program. Summer is receiving the Missouri A+ Scholarship.

Jessica Renae Hunter plans to enroll in cosmetology school in the near future.

Kade Alexander Jones plans to seek a degree in Automotive Technology. Kade received a two-year Auto Mechanics certificate from Northwest Technical School in Maryville. Kade was chosen for the following scholarships: Atchison County Development Corporation, New Horizons and Rock Port Rotary Club.

Drue Elizabeth Kemerling will be attending the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska, to begin her career in nursing. Drue has also received an athletic scholarship to play volleyball for the Saint Mary Flames.

Scarlett Elizabeth Kish will become a Tiger at the University of Missouri in Columbia where she will study Animal Science. Scarlett is receiving the local Louis and Evalyn Bell Scholarship and will also receive the University of Missouri Access Grant, the Missouri Land Grant and a private Mizzou Scholarship.

Kalen James LaHue will be attending Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, to study Construction Engineering Technology. Kalen received an A+ Scholarship, the Fuelling Scholarship from the Lutheran Church and the AC Bin Scholarship.

Anika Jade Lamb will be attending Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri, to study Psychology and Art.

Morgan Paige Lingerfelt will be attending Missouri Western State University to begin her studies in Mortuary Science.

Rebekah Leigh Lucas will be majoring in Social Work at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri. Rebekah also received the Missouri A+ Scholarship and the Tarkio Baptist Church Scholarship. She will also be participating with the Lions’ cross country/track program.

Joshua Franklin Weaver Meinecke received a two-year Auto Mechanics certificate from Northwest Technical School. Josh will be headed straight to the work force after graduation.

Bryce Kelly Pope will be headed straight to work after graduation.

Skyler Gage Schomburg received a two-year certificate in Auto Mechanics from Northwest Technical School. Skyler will be attending Iowa Western Community College and seeking a degree in Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair. Skyler is receiving the following scholarships: New Horizons, the Richard E. Miller Automotive Scholarship and the Warren and Evelyn Morgan Renewable Trust Scholarship.

Austin Bryan Stoner received a two-year certificate in Auto Mechanics from Northwest Technical School. Austin will enroll in Tarkio Tech to work on a Wind Energy  certificate. Austin also received the AC Bin Scholarship.

Drew Charles Weber plans to enroll in Iowa Western Community College to complete a degree in Construction Technology-Residential.

The top 10 seniors of the class of 2020 were:

#10 – Brooklyn Nicole Jakub plans to go straight to work after graduation.

#9 – Ashleigh Annette King plans to enter the work force following graduation.

#8 – Ethan James Brumbaugh will be headed to Southwestern Community College for two years to begin his career in Education and Sports Management and to extend his golf career as a Spartan. He will then transfer to complete his education and golf career. Ethan received the Rock Port CTA Scholarship, the Rock Port Rotary Scholarship, the Warren and Evalyn Morgan Renewable Trust Scholarship and the Watson Outreach Scholarship. SWCC Athletics has also awarded Ethan a golf scholarship.

#7 – Aaron Ryan Lawrence received a one-year Welding Certificate from Northwest Technical School where he was inducted in to the National Society of High School Scholars and was a member of the High School Technical Honor Society. Aaron plans to attend the Missouri Welding Institute in Nevada, Missouri, and complete a certification in Welding. Aaron is receiving the Missouri A+ Scholarship.

#6 – Fischer Raylee Tharp plans to attend State Fair College in Sedalia, Missouri, and major in Pre-Law and play golf. Fischer received the Missouri A+ Scholarship, the Warren and Evalyn Morgan Renewable Scholarship, the Rock Port FFA Alumni Scholarship and the Watson Outreach Scholarship. He received four scholarships from the Rock Port United Methodist Church: The Gene Bunn Scholarship, the Paul and Ruby Cox Scholarship, the Charles and Betty Shaw Scholarship, and the Merle and Vera Walter Scholarship. Fischer also received a golf scholarship from State Fair College.

#5 – Beth Caroline Davis will be joining the Kansas Army National Guard and attending the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, where she plans to study Communications and Political Science. Beth will be receiving 100% tuition assistance from the Kansas Guard along with the G-I Bill, the G-I Bill Kicker and a signing bonus. Beth also received the following scholarships: The Ag Choice MFA Scholarship, Atchison County Development Corporation Scholarship, the American Legion’s Ralph Greer Scholarship, the Warren and Evalyn Morgan Renewable Trust Scholarship, the PEO Chapter DU Scholarship, the Rock Port Baptist Church – Mike Evans Scholarship, and the Rock Port Optimist Club’s Bill Andrews Scholarship. Beth received the female MSHSAA Award of Excellence which focuses on character through four years of high school MSHSAA sponsored athletics and activities.

#4 – Gabriel Davis Minter will be a medic for the Missouri National Guard HHB field artillery 1-129 in Maryville after completing basic training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, and advanced individual training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. In the spring, he will use his 100% military tuition assistance at the University of Missouri-Columbia to pursue a degree in nursing. Gabe is receiving the Missouri A+ Scholarship, the Warren and Evalyn Morgan Renewable Trust Scholarship, the Rock Port Baptist Church – Mike Evans Scholarship, and the Liberty Theatre Scholarship.

#3 – Cody Wayne Davis plans to study Zoology, but is undecided on a four year post-secondary school at this time.

#2 – Richard Alexander Burke was the salutatorian of the Class of 2020 with a GPA of 4.5524. Alex plans to attend Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and pursue a Pre-Med degree. Alex has received the following scholarships from Creighton: Creighton Academic Award, Creighton University Award and the Shaffel Award. Alex received the male MSHSAA Award of Excellence which focuses on character through four years of high school MSHSAA sponsored athletics and activities. Alex also received the Outstanding Senior Male Athletic Award which is based on accumulated points through athletic accolades during four years of high school.

#1 – Darius Mercury Skillen was the valedictorian of the Class of 2020 with a GPA of 4.6635. Darius will be attending Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, to complete a degree in Architectural Engineering. Darius plans to participate in the K-State Rowing Team. She received the following local scholarships: Beta Gals Scholarship, the Rock Port National Honor Society Scholarship, the Warren and Evalyn Morgan Renewable Trust Scholarship and the following from the Rock Port United Methodist Church: Gene Bunn Scholarship, Charles and Betty Shaw Scholarship, Paul and Ruby Cox Scholarship, and the Merle and Vera Walter Scholarship. Darius has received a K-State Alumni Association Scholarship and the Missouri Reciprocal Award for tuition from K-State. Darius received the Outstanding Senior Female Athletic Award which is based on accumulated points through athletic accolades during four years of high school.

Mr. Donnie Parsons, Principal, then presented the Class of 2020.

The recessional was the class song, “Home Sweet Home,” by Motley Crue.