Class of 2001 graduates at MHS
GETTING READY Minutes before Meridian High School graduates marched into the packed gym, Rachel Blackshear, senior class president, practiced what she would say when she presented the senior class gift. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
May 22, 2001
Meridian High School seniors marched into their graduation ceremony Monday to the sounds of "Pomp and Circumstance" and hundreds of programs flapping simultaneously to cool the crowd in the school's gymnasium.
Because of the threat of rain, the ceremony was moved from Ray Stadium to the gym. Due to limited space each graduate was allotted tickets for family members.
The school's auditorium seated many observers who chose not to brave the heat of the standing-room-only section of the gym high above the floor.
In the auditorium the ceremony was shown on video, but the sound was barely audible.
Jennifer Hermetz, class salutatorian and senior class vice president, gave the invocation. She was followed by Mayor John Robert Smith, who was a MHS graduate 34 years ago. Smith told the graduates he hopes they will come back to Meridian, to raise their children among those who had raised them.
Superintendent Dr. Janet McLin provided opening remarks using "Hold Fast To Dreams," by Langston Hughs.
The five valedictorians addressed their classmates, all with the theme, "Make Your Life Extraordinary."
With that theme Erin Brown told her classmates to seize the day and not to be afraid.
The class of 2001 also presented a gift of $1,000 to the district. The presentation was made by Rachel Blackshear, senior class president. It was accepted by James Vance, president of the Meridian school board.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A closer look at MHS's top students:
Five valedictorians and one salutatorian were in Meridian High School's class of 2001.
Valedictorian Erin Brown is the daughter of Edwin and Christy Brown.
She has worked as a volunteer in a nursing home, with Love's Kitchen, Wesley House and has participated in Relay For Life's walk for diabetes.
Brown has been featured in Who's Who Among American High School Students. She is a member of the National Honor Society and received the Skewes Athletic Award, the Lindy Callahan Scholar Athlete Award, her first, second and third year academic letter and is a recipient of the Principal's Medal and President's Award.
Valedictorian Stacey Douglas is the daughter of Roscoe and Bobbie Douglas.
She has volunteered with Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity. She is a member of Who's Who Among American High School Students and the National Honor Society.
Douglas is a STAR Student and the recipient of the Pilot Club Award, Principal's Medal and President's Award.
Douglas plans to attend Millsaps College.
Valedictorian Claire Maranto is the daughter of Greg and JoBeth Maranto.
She is an active member of her church and has worked with handicapped children.
Maranto has been a varsity soccer player and cross country runner. She has been a member of the yearbook staff, National Honor Society and has served as president of the Spanish Club.
She is the recipient of the Principal's Award for Highest Student Body GPA, the Presidential Academic Fitness Award and Mathematics Award.
Valedictorian Sarah McClure is the daughter of John and Rita McClure.
She has been a Wesley House, Love's Kitchen and State Games volunteer.
McClure is a member of Who's Who Among American High School Students and the National Honor Society.
She has earned her first, second and third year academic letters, placed first in poetry in the Meridian Community College Review and she is a recipient of the Principal's Medal, President's Award and the Biological Science Award.
Valedictorian Randi Munoz is the daughter of Randy and Shirley Munoz.
Her community involvement has included work with Habitat for Humanity, the Care Lodge, Relay For Life, Love's Kitchen and Meals On Wheels.
She is a member of the National Honor Society and Who's Who Among American High School Students.
Munoz is a recipient of the Eagle of the Cross, Meyer-Davis Award, President's Award, Principal's Medal and she has received her first, second and third year academic letters.
Munoz plans to be a chemical engineer and will attend Mississippi State University.
Salutatorian Jennifer Hermetz is the daughter of Robert and Debra Hermetz.
She has performed in Meridian Little Theater productions and has been crowned Meridian Junior Miss.
Hermetz is a member of the National Honor Society and served as its secretary. She has served on the Image Committee, as 12th grade representative in the Anchor Club and as president of her church youth group.
She is a recipient of the I.A. Rosenbaum Award.
Hermetz plans to attend Mississippi State University and major in Biological Sciences.