The parting of friends and classmates after graduating from high school is never easy. New chapters are open for every one of them and a new journey begins.
At the Craig County High School graduation, many seniors were recognized and awarded scholarships for their hard work and dedication as a student and citizen.
Principal Melissa Whiting began the Announcement of Awards and Academic Recognitions as School Counselor, Evelyn Steege, announced the scholarships. Hoots, hollers and lots of smiles were given to each senior for their accomplishments.
Senior recipients were:
- The Paul Thomas Moore Memorial Scholarship sponsored by Masonic Mountain Lodge No.140 recognizes two senior – Autumn Hutchison and Emma Todd – who have managed both good grades and extracurricular activities and will be attending a two or four-year college in the fall
- The Dr. Walton Mitchell Memorial Scholarship recognized Gavin Shires who excelled in scholarship, character, leadership, and citizenship in the school and community. It is named for Dr. Mitchell who was a well-known physician in New Castle for many years
- Adam’s Construction Company in Roanoke recognized Claire Deplazes who excelled academically especially in mathematics, and in citizenship
- The Craig County Bicentennial Commission sponsored a scholarship to Laci Law who has exhibited the best traits of patriotism, good citizenship and love of country,
- Chestnut Grove awarded a scholarship to Ashlyn Stanley who excelled academically and participates actively in community service
- Botetourt Craig Electric Coop awards their Worth M Hudson Memorial scholarships each year to deserving seniors around Virginia, Maryland and Delaware based on excellent academic achievement. Autumn Hutchison and Emma Todd were the recipients.
- The New Castle Farm Bureau awards two scholarships annually for students who will be pursuing a degree in an agricultural related field. The Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership award went to Todd who exemplified great leadership. Todd will be studying political philosophy at the University of Virginia and plans to help farmers and rural communities with the many challenges they face in the legal system.
- The Farm Bureau Board of Directors awards a student who plans to enter a field related to agriculture and who has also maintained good grades. Deplazes will study agribusiness next year at Oklahoma State University in the fall with aspirations of running her own horse and sheep farm one day
- The Maywood Garden Club sponsors The Ruth Hale Reynolds Higher Education scholarship. This award went to Gavin Shires who excelled both in the classroom and outside and plans to further their education. Shires will be attending George Mason University in the fall
- The George Todd Memorial Scholarship sponsored by Mountain Castles SWCD goes to a senior who has a strong desire to major in a course curriculum related to natural resource conservation or environmental studies. Deplazes was the recipient.
- The Craig County retired teachers would like to recognize an outstanding senior for a local scholarship who plans to further their education in Hutchison
- Shelor Motor Mile sponsors scholarships annually for deserving seniors like Deplazes
- The Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia awarded a scholarship from the Craig County High School Scholarship Fund to Hutchison
- New Castle Farmers and Merchants Bank annually awards a scholarship to the valedictorian and salutatorian of Craig County High school for their academic excellence. This year’s recipients are Emma Todd, valedictorian and the three co- salutatorians Latoya Gober, Gavin Shires, and Claire Deplazes
- The Craig County Education Association recognizes an outstanding student every year with a scholarship who must have plans to enter education or another service-related field and have a sincere desire to further their education. Hutchison will be attending Virginia Western Community College
- Freedom First Credit Union sponsored a deserving senior with the Frank Turk Scholarship to Todd
- Autumn Hutchison – The Bobby Scruggs Charitable Foundation offered a scholarship to students who will be attending college in the fall to further their education and pursue their dreams
- Ingevity, an international company, offers five different scholarships to seniors who meet certain criteria. This year Ingevity has awarded Deplazes a scholarship for demonstrating exceptional leadership
- The Bridgett Oliver Memorial Scholarship Award goes to a senior who plans to enter the healthcare profession carrying out Bridgett’s dream and carrying on a legacy of helping others. Hutchison would like to one day to be a labor and delivery nurse
- The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution along with the local chapter Craig Valley is pleased to recognize graduating senior as this year’s Good Citizen Winner. Shires was chosen for his dependability, his service to others, his leadership skills, and his American Patriotism
- Nicole Austin, Autumn Hutchison, Jaela Hutton, Hunter Ashley, and Lucy Rigney – The Community College Access Program referred to as CCAP is a public tuition funding program offered and administered by Virginia Western Community College Education Foundation, Inc. CCAP allows current high school graduates who meet program guidelines to receive a combination of federal and state financial aid and donor funding up to the cost of tuition. This scholarship is renewable for up to six consecutive semesters.
“Congratulations to all of these students on their many accomplishments and to the class of 2021 for your perseverance and dedication,” Steege added.
Autumn Hutchison shared, “If there was one thing that CCPS can teach you, it is how to make the best out of tough situations. There were quite a few obstacles faced throughout high school that were out of mine and my classmates’ control, however, we always stuck together and made lemonade out of lemons.”
She added that her favorite teacher was Stacey Crowder, saying, “She is a very special person in my life. She helped me more than any other teacher and was always there when I needed her. Whether it be academically or personally, I could count on her to guide me with a smile on her face.”
Shires added, “One thing I will take with me as a senior from CCPS is the sense of community and the ability to talk to teachers about issues I have in class or help I may need. This will be extremely useful in college.”
He added that he wished to thank teachers and staff for helping him throughout his school years. “They are all wonderful people in general, Mr. and Mrs. Boyer, Mrs. Steege, Mrs. Craft, Mrs. Crowder, Mr. Trumbo, Mrs. Whiting and Mrs. Stimeling. This list would be much longer, but I don’t want to take up a large amount of space. Everyone has been supportive and helpful to me throughout my school career, and I greatly appreciate that.”
Still, COVID made it difficult to be a teenager.
“I love graduating and leaving high school behind. COVID-19 made school not as enjoyable as the years before, and although I’m thankful for the four years I had, I’m more excited for my future,” Hutchison said.
Shires added, “It feels relieving but somewhat sad to have graduated after spending most of my life in Craig.”
Valedictorian Emma Todd and recipient of scholarships said, “It feels great to graduate. I’m very excited to be starting this fall. The one thing that I took with me from CCPS is how lucky I am to have gone to a small school, which has given me the ability to form closer relationships with those around me.”
She wished to send a special thanks to her principal, Melissa Whiting. “Throughout my school career, she has helped me with everything from learning to count, to helping me with college applications,” she said.
Whiting, who spoke with strong, heartfelt emotions, said, “I am extremely proud of this group of graduates. They each overcame many obstacles to meet the requirements earning them a seat on the stage at graduation. They have matured into independent, strong, thoughtful, and kind individuals and I believe that the difficulties they faced this school year led them to this transition. Although I will miss all of them greatly, I am eager to see what their futures will bring.”