Kemper Academy graduate Jackson Mason lights the candle of upcoming senior Matthew Cordar during Friday night’s graduation ceremonies.
Kemper Academy graduate Jackson Mason lights the candle of upcoming senior Matthew Cordar during Friday night’s graduation ceremonies.
By Steve Swogetinsky

Kemper Messenger



Kemper Academy graduated its Class of 2019 before a packed stands full of friends, family and alumni at the football stadium

Diplomas were presented to 15 graduating seniors. And the program closed with the annual passing of the light from outgoing seniors to the Class of 2020.

The program started with the current seniors walking across the football field to their chairs. Throughout the program, one could tell how well the classmates knew each other and themselves.

Coach Chris Gully stood at the podium during his address and talked about each senior, remembering when they walked through the doors of Kemper Academy for the first time, and maybe a story or two. Four members, Jena Bobo, Alyssa Gully, Lillie Hannah Haskins and Branson Gully have been at the school since pre-kindergarten. Others came in over the years and found their place in the student body.

Austin Castleberry was the class Valedictorian while Jena Bobo and Alyssa Maire Gully were co-salutatorians.

“We are more of a family than a class,” said Jena Bobo during her salutatorian address. “This is a day we have waited on for so long but sad to see that it is here. There are so many memories.”

Alyssa Gully talked about her memories of her classmates and teachers at Kemper Academy over the years.

“I think we have had the best senior year,” Gully said. “I hope whichever way life takes me, I will always have these people in my life.”

“The story I tell is my own but I think others in the school can find a part of it,” said Austin Castleberry in his Valedictorian address. “This is a thank you to all of my classmates. I started going to Kemper Academy when I was in the fourth grade. “I was new and shy. My classmates taught me in the first couple of week to be myself and they accepted me.”

Head of school Mary Ellen Waters handed out the diplomas. Then the stadium lights went out (and didn’t come back on). The outgoing seniors walked across with a lighted candle. They were met half way by a member of next year’s senior class. They lighted classmate’s candle and blew their’s out. When it was over, the Class of 2020 were introduced. The class of 2019 are now alumni.