Escambia County, Atmore Christian hold graduation exercises

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, May 29, 2019

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It was party time for family and friends of the graduates of Escambia County High School during commencement exercises on May 21 in Atmore.

More than 100 seniors received their high school diplomas at the ceremony, which was held at the football stadium.

Salutatorian Johnika Roberts said during her address that she wouldn’t be standing where she is today without her parents, grandparents and the rest of her family.

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She said ECHS played a big part in earning her diploma.

“I want to thank my teachers,” she said. “I had the pleasure to learn from you, not only at ECHS, but to my classmates, I want to thank you as well. Together, we made this stressful journey a joy. I wouldn’t choose any other group to do it all over again.”

Roberts said the occasion is celebration of a milestone for the class.

“Let’s cherish the moment and the memory we share, but after our last pictures are taken, where will the journey lead us?” she said.

Valedictorian Christiara Jones said graduation is the culmination of a long journey.

“It just seems like yesterday we were entering the doors at Rachel Patterson,” Jones said. “Along the way, I have met many amazing teachers. I can’t thank the teachers enough that have taught me in the past. I aspired to be like them.”

Jones said she wouldn’t be where she is today without her mom, Lakesha McNeal, “who has always been there for me.”

“She taught me the basics of life and set a good example for me,” Jones said. “I know is one of the main reasons I’m standing here as the class valedictorian. My father, Christopher Jones, having a present father in your life is crucial for the youth.”

Jones said the class came together and had some great memories, and overcame many obstacles.

“We laughed together, and cried together,” she said. “To each and every one of you, always think you can achieve the goals presented to you.”

Jones encouraged her classmates to have faith in themselves, but most importantly, “keep God first.”

“Class of 2019, we are officially at the end of our high school journey,” she said. “This road to success was not the smoothest, but we managed to get through it. This is only our beginning.”

4 graduate from ACS

When Atmore Christian School Senior Mitchell Hadley received his high school diploma during commencement exercises May 24, he looked up to the sky and thanked God.

Hadley was one of four who graduated from ACS during the ceremony in the school’s gymnasium.

ACS Teacher Justin Halteman spoke on the story of King David. He said everyday little actions helped David build his character as a king.

“Our everyday actions define who we are,” Halteman said. “David had great success when he included God in his plans.”

Salutatorian Charley Clemmons said the female staff helped mold her into the woman she is today.

“I wanted to start off by thanking the female staff for being such role models for my time here,” Clemmons said. “They have taught me strong self respect along with being a woman of God. I also want to thank my friends and my family for encouraging me to do my very best.”

Most importantly, she said she’s thankful for God.

“When no one was there, he held me in his hands and let me know I was his child,” Clemmons said.

Clemmons then thanked the rest of her classmates, Hadley, Kyle Hostetler and Luke Chambless.

“Thanks for these parents who raised these very respectable young men,” she said. “Being the only girl in my senior class wasn’t something I had in mind, but these guys have made me very comfortable.

“I believe in y’all with all my heart,” she said. “I will always remember them as gentlemen. Y’all should be very proud, and I know you are.”

Hostetler, valedictorian, thanked his mom and dad, along with his family, friends, teachers and mentors.

“They never failed to be there when I was struggling or needed to be cheered up,” he said. “Let me just say that Mitchell gives the best hugs. Charley and Luke always make me laugh.”

See photos from graduation at