Blevins Class of 2024 graduates and honors late classmate Carson Hill
Parents, families, and guests watched proudly as 23 Blevins High School seniors crossed the stage to accept their diplomas and become graduates during commencement ceremonies held at Hempstead Hall this evening. But in spirit, 24 graduated tonight. A seat of honor was placed on the stage for Carson Hill, a fellow classmate who passed away last year and, throughout the ceremony, the Blevins faculty, staff, and student body paid tribute to Hill’s memory in various ways.  

After the national anthem from Kalynn Highlander, the pledge of allegiance from Kyle Hampton, and invocations from Darious Petroff and Daniela Gomez, Superintendent Stephanie Dixon welcomed the audience with a few words about the graduating class. Of most importance were her remarks about this class’s achievements. Dixon said the Blevins Class of 2024 was the smallest graduating class, but these students had received more local college scholarships than any other school in the county. 

Salutatorian Rylee Powell then gave his address, saying “Today is a special day, one we have all been anxiously waiting for and one we will remember for a lifetime.” He also expressed appreciation to the Blevins faculty and staff. “You have all had a profound impact on the development of the students graduating today. … Speaking on behalf of the class of 2024, thank you for all of your efforts you have invested in us to this day.” Powell shared memories on behalf of the class and also showed recognition to Carson Hill. “Carson was a person who if you had a rough day, he would make you smile. He has been greatly missed this year.” 

Valedictorian Marcasja Glenn followed with her address and shared appreciation for her parents. “My mother and father pushed me to keep thriving and work hard every day, and for that, I am very grateful,” Glenn said. She then made the comparison of high school to a puzzle. “High school is like a big puzzle, trying to put ourselves together and figuring out what fits here and what fits there, where each piece represents different experiences and choices.” Continuing the metaphor, she said corner pieces were core values and big school events, edge pieces outlined the major paths one takes, and middle pieces were everyday challenges one faced. She finished the comparison by saying, “Another large piece of the puzzle has been the memories made; these pieces are so small yet fill our hearts so much. These are the pieces of the puzzle we will remember most.” She closed her address with thanks to faculty, staff, coaches, all support systems, and her fellow classmates for “twelve years of memories.”

After the presentation of flowers, when each soon-to-be graduate presented a floral token of appreciation to loved ones, Blevins Counselor Justin Mishler named each student’s scholarship amount. He concluded by sharing with the audience that the class as a whole received a grand total of $417,750, an impressive feat for a small class.

For the main event and with much applause, each student made the monumental step from student to graduate by walking the stage to receive a diploma from the staff/faculty member of his or her choice. After the last graduate was back in the queue and just before presenting the class, Principal DeAnne Davis announced the presentation of an honorary diploma in memory of Carson Hill. His mother Julie Hill and sister Emily Hill took the stage to receive the diploma in his honor. 

Davis then informed the students it was time for the greatly anticipated moment of moving their tassels to signify that they were official graduates of Blevins High School, which also signified the end of the ceremony. Dixie Purtle gave the benediction just before the recessional, and the Blevins High School Class of 2024 filed out of the auditorium to gather with family and friends, take photos of this memorable night, and celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in all of their lives.