It’s that time of year; the end of the school year, a time for several graduation ceremonies. I’ve already seen a flurry of Facebook posts and pictures celebrating friends’ graduates, but I have two graduates I would like to spotlight.

First up, is my second cousin Madison Morris who just graduated from Muhlenberg County High School.

Madison Morris/Facebook
Madison Morris/Facebook

This 18-year-old has thrived both academically and she’s outgoing, active in clubs in school. Madison is the daughter of my cousin Jennifer, all I have to say is thank goodness for FB. One thing about my Mom’s side of the family, we don’t see each other very much. Mom was the one who got us all together, whether it was a holiday, an ice cream social on the deck at our house, or a graduation. As I’ve gotten older, and this may or may not be the case for a lot of families, I’ve not been as in touch with my cousins. I hope we can all change that.

My hope for Madison is that she treasures her family and especially her Mom as she sets off for Centre College in Danville this fall. It’s true Centre is a smaller college, but it’s a life change no matter what. I couldn’t be more proud of Madison and I know she will help make the future a lot brighter. We love you Madison!

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My next graduate really needs no introduction.

Hillary Grant Wise/Facebook
Hillary Grant Wise/Facebook

My niece, Zoey Mae Wise, is no longer an elementary school kid, she’s growing up and moving over to Ohio County Middle School in August. Our middle school has just 7-8 grades, but it’s a change that evokes all kinds of emotions and fears. In the beginning, Zoey loved school! She got to have an excellent preschool experience and the move to kindergarten was seamless. Of course in the middle of her 3rd-grade year, Covid happened and remote learning was the norm for the last two months of the 2020 school year and there were other interruptions and adjustments for school later on that year. As usual, Zoey did very well with her grades, but her passion for school started to disappear.

This was the case for all kids all over the country during that period. I also think we all hit an age where we do get a little tired of school or we dread going because of a test or a project we threw together at the last minute. (I’m raising my hand)

All I have to tell Zoey is, don’t let your passion for learning ever disappear. It doesn’t always have to be academic learning, just soak it all up. I know she’s a little anxious, but she’s also excited. I think the whole “having your own locker” is appealing, but don’t lose your locker combination after Christmas break in 7th grade, yeah, Aunt Erin did that. It’s a big change but I know she can do it, and I’m so proud of her and I love her very much. Watch out OCMS! You all aren't even ready.

Congratulations to all our area graduates and keep dreaming.

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