By Kendra Hennis
At 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, the community was invited to join in celebrating the 76 TCHS Graduates of 2020. The commencement ceremony was compiled of videos of the graduates as they crossed the stage. It is not the graduation ceremony anyone would have expected if you asked them in fall. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shelter-in-place order given by Governor J. B. Pritzker, the school did what they deemed best and safest for their students.
The live-stream began with a recording of the national anthem by the Tuscola Band. Following, Tuscola High School Principal Steve Fiscus gave a moment of silence for North Ward teacher Lori Broady who lost her battle with cancer last week. Fiscus said, “I ask those of you watching at home to join me in putting the Broady family in your hearts and minds as we honor a loved member of our Tuscola family.”
The ceremony began with recognition of the graduating seniors who had made the commitment to join the armed forces. Those seniors include Josh Dyer, Josh Earl, River Kanitz, Jacob Kibler, Nicholas Woods, and Emma Zimmer.
Fiscus then extended many thank you’s. To the office staff of Ms. McCumber and Mrs. Fowler, the faculty, staff, coaches, and custodians at Tuscola for all of their hard work; to Mrs. Craddock on her thirty-three years at TCHS; and finally to his family for their unwavering support.
He then moved on to address the seniors, saying “Seniors, I want to start tonight with a simple message: I’m sorry. It’s not just the ballgames, track meets, concerts, or performances that you had taken away from you. It’s the loss of daily interaction. The opportunity to continue to build relationships with each other and our staff. It’s the loss of educational opportunities. While I am very proud of our students for their approach to remote learning, and their commitment to completing their assignments, it is no substitute for in-person learning. Being in a classroom with your peers and having interaction with the teacher and each other, is what makes school beneficial. You lost out on that in the fourth quarter, and for that I am sorry. It is an adversity that no one before you, and I hope no one after you, will have to deal with. How you bounce back from this will shape how you will be as an adult. Your determination to achieve your goals should remain as strong as ever. Don’t let this bump in the road turn into an excuse for why something doesn’t happen. Make it a reason why it did. You can’t let anyone, or any one moment, keep you from doing what you think is best. Class of 2020, I have the utmost confidence in your ability to achieve your goals. While you have missed out on a quarter of your senior year, I firmly believe you will look back on this time period as a motivator for success.”
Fiscus then named the class of 2020 valedictorian as Kelsey Slaughter and the salutatorian as Karli Dean. Following, Valedictorian Kelsey Slaughter gave her address to the class of 2020. In her address, Slaughter said, “Although this is difficult for all of us to bear, we need to realize that the troubles we are facing today are going to make us stronger people for tomorrow. Overcoming these challenges will make us very empathetic, hopeful, determined and courageous people moving forward. This journey we are facing will make us very successful people. I am proud to be a part of such a strong class that will always be together and there for eachother.”
Mr. Fiscus then presented each senior as they walked across the stage at TCHS. Seniors and four of their family members were allowed into the school in intervals to be recorded as they crossed the stage.
Prior to the online celebration, the staff of TCHS also held an online Honor’s Day ceremony. This year a total of $82,500 was awarded to the graduates of the class of 2020. Along with the monetary presentations, other awards and recognitions were also made. A complete listing includes:
Teacher Education Association awards to Bryona Lee in the amount of $500, Lainey Banta and Morgan Jones in the amount of $300, Mason Day and Marcus Holmes in the amount of $75 and Courtney Kramer and Hannah Lemay in the amount of $50.
Logan Tabeling was awarded $1000 from the Broc Winn Memorial Scholarship, Carli Stone was awarded $1000 from the Be Brave Scholarship, Morgan Jones was awarded $500 from the Marci Lietz Memorial Scholarship, and Marcus Holmes and Eric Brewer were each awarded $500 from the Fidelis Crusader Scholarship.
Karli Dean and Jacob Kibler were the recipients of the David Dietrich Senior Athlete Awards, Emma Zimmer and Lucas Kresin each received a $750 scholarship from the David Dietrich Memorial Scholarship. Lucas Kresin was also the recipient of a $750 scholarship from First Federal Bank of Tuscola.
Courtney Kramer and Hannah Lemay received $500 scholarships from the Tuscola Community Foundation. Hannah Lemay and Grace Voyles were each recipients of a $1000 scholarship from the Tuscola Community Foundation-Wessale Scholarship. Courtney Kramer also received a $500 from The Tuscola Community Foundation Ray Wulliman Scholarship.
The Tommy K. Martin Memorial Scholarship of $500 was awarded to Abigail Jacob and Faithlyn Daugherty. The Tuscola Community Foundation Dr. Dana Mattix Scholarship of $1000 was awarded to Hannah Lemay and Madison Green. Colin Lewis was the recipient of a $1000 scholarship from the Tuscola Educational Foundation Fund. Hannah Lemay and Emma Zimmer were the recipients of $500 scholarships from the Tuscola Community Foundation Harley and Doris Helm Memorial Scholarship.
Kelsey Slaughter was the recipient of a $1000 scholarship from the Tuscola Community Foundation Doug McCumber Family Scholarship. Emma Zimmer and Nicholas Woods were also recipients of scholarships from the Tuscola United Methodist Church Albert and Virginia Lee Memorial Scholarship.
Tanner Campbell was the recipient of a $500 scholarship from the Cabot Science Scholarship. Grace Voyles and Max Wyninger were each recipients of a $500 scholarship from Tuscola PowWows.
A total of $4000 was awarded to Madison Green, Morgan Jones, Hannah Lemay, Caleigh Parsley, and Coulson Poffenberger from the FFA Alumni Scholarships. Morgan Jones was also awarded a $500 scholarship from First Mid-Illinois Bank. All-Pro also awarded a $500 scholarship to Nick Williams.
Grace Voyles and Lainey Banta were each awarded a $500 scholarship for four years from The Tuscola Rotary Club. TNB Bank awarded Lucas Kresin a $500 scholarship.
The Lions Club awarded students excelling in math, science, and foreign language with a medal and certificate. These awards included Abigail Jacob for Math, Courtney Kramer for Science, Emma Zimmer for Foreign Language, Salutatorian Karli Dean and Valedictorian Kelsey Slaughter.
The Victory Church of Camargo awarded $500 scholarships to Hannah Lemay and Kyra Moyer. The recipients of the $500 T.K. Martin Military Grant included River Kanitz, Jacob Kibler, Emma Zimmer, Josh Earl, Nicholas Woods, and Josh Dyer. Mason Day also received a $500 scholarship from the T.K. Martin Education Scholarship.
The Tuscola Alumni Association awarded $500 scholarships to Carli Stone, Mason Day, Kelsey Slaughter, and Lucas Kresin. Hannah Lemay was the recipient of a $500 scholarship from the Family of Ricardo and Mercedes Izquierdo Alumni. The Parkland College Early College and Career Academy named students of the year as Hannah Lemay for EMT, Hans Goodmann for Industrial Technology, and Faithlyn Daughtery for Criminal Justice.
Morgan Jones was the recipient of a $1500 scholarship from the Joe and Sue Summerville Agriculture Scholarship. Bryona Lee was the recipient of a $300 scholarship from the Peg Blanchard Memorial Scholarship. Kyra Moyer received a $500 scholarship from the George Barnett Nursing Scholarship. Karli Dean was the recipient of a $500 scholarship from the Rutan Family Memorial Scholarship.
Morgan Jones and Madison Green each received a $500 scholarship from the Tuscola Women of the Moose Chapter 1011 Scholarship. Emma Zimmer received a $500 scholarship from the Wheels Car Club Scholarship.
The Georgine McDonald Trust Charles and Maggie B. McDonald Scholarships awarded a total of $5,800 amongst Madison Green, Caleigh Parsley, Faithlyn Daughtery, Morgan Jones, Grace Voyles, Jake Reed, Carissa Denny, Kyra Moyer, Colin Lewis, and Julia Kerkhoff. The Lenore Cletcher-Wessale Trust Scholarship awarded a total of $17,500 amongst Madison Green, Caleigh Parsley, Carissa Denny, Grace Voyles, Courtney Kramer, Hannah Lemay, Kyra Moyer, and Julia Kerkhoff.
The Douglas County Republican Women awarded $500 each to Morgan Jones and Jake Reed. Hannah Lemay was awarded $500 from the Masonic Lodge Scholarship. Marisa Poole and Lauren Farley were each awarded $750 from the William (Class of 1997) and Sharon Shu (Class of 1963) Memorial Scholarships.
The Illinois State Scholars were named as Ryan Bartley, Karli Dean, Lauren Farley, Abigail Jacob, Bryona Lee, Kyra Moyer and Kelsey Slaughter. The DAR winner was Kelsey Slaughter and the SAR winner was Emma Zimmer. Emma Zimmer and Lucas Kresin were given the American Legion Post #27 School Awards. A $1000 scholarship from the American Legion Post #27-Wayne Meyer Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Morgan Jones.
Karli Dean and Max Wyninger were each awarded $500 from the Pheasant Forever Scholarship, The Harriet Jane Bell Memorial Scholarship of $500 was awarded to Morgan Jones and Hannah Lemay. Lucas Kresin and Logan Tabeling were recipients of a $252.50 scholarship from the Robert Travis Memorial Scholarship. Kiwanis awarded $1000 scholarships to Kelsey Slaughter, Ryan Bartley, Caleigh Parsely, and Emma Zimmer.
The American Legion Post #27 Illinois Boys State recipients were Dillion Alcorn, Andrew Penne, and Austin Pitman. Forty Martyrs-Bill and Irma West Scholarships of $500 were awarded to Kelsey Slaughter and Madison Green. Kelsey Slaughter was the recipient of a $150 FCCLA scholarship. Carissa Denny, and Caleigh Parsley were recipients of a $125 FCCLA scholarship.
Emma Zimmer was the recipient of the $500 Williams Butkovich Scholarship. Ryan Bartley was awarded a $500 from the TCHS Class of 1996. The Fitness Center awarded a $300 scholarship to Lucas Kresin. Morgan Jones received a $500 from the Heritage Family Farms Scholarship. Bryona Lee was awarded a $3000 scholarship from the Donald J. Lindley and Belle H. Lindley Scholarship.
The Libman Company awarded Caleigh Parsley a $1000 scholarship. Lainey Banta was awarded a $500 scholarship from the Sopha E. Heil Scholarship. Morgan Jones and Coulson Poffenberger were each awarded $500 scholarships from the Frank R. Durham Memorial Scholarship.
Senior departmental awards were awarded to Morgan Jones and Coulson Poffenberger for Ag, Lainey Banta for Art, Kelsey Slaughter for Business, Molly Liffick for Computers, Kyra Moyer for English, Kelsey Slaughter and Carissa Denny for Family Consumer Sciences, Ryan Bartley for History, Karli Dean for Science, and Kelsey Slaughter for Spanish.
Douglas County Election Judge and Technician Certificates were given to Karli Dean, Bryona Lee, Kelsey Slaughter and Emma Zimmer. Perfect attendance awards were given to Taylor Arends, Clayton Hausmann, Lucas Kresin, Bryona Lee, Rohan Patel, Ruchi Patel, Austin Pittman, Kelsey Slaughter, and Emma Zimmer.
Logan Tabeling and Abigail Jacob were each awarded $100 and the CIC Student Athlete Award. The Illinois Principal’s Student Recognition was awarded to Lucas Kresin and Kelsey Slaughter.