• Photo by Mary Richardson
    The 2016 graduating class of Graford High School includes, left to right, back row, Patrick Taff, Trenton Higgins, Tommy “TJ” Slay, Richard “Ricky” Williams, Marcello Gradassi, Colton Potts, Emily Miles, Juan “Donnie” Feregrino, Ulysses Hernandez and David “Ryan” Carver; second row, Tristan Rohmann, Barrett Monroe, Trapper Lewis, Miguel Gonzalez, Makayla Reed, Oscar Gonzales; Clay Carver; and front row, Chelsy Rife, Samantha Roe, Meagan Lawhorn, Kaitlyn Harris, Kyndze Pendergraft, Lexis Clark and Kylie Pewitt.
  • Photo by Mary Richardson
    For the first time in the school’s history, seven would walk the stage to receive diplomas after attending all 14 years at Graford ISD, Pre-K through 12th grade, including Tommy “TJ” Slay, Richard “Ricky” Williams, Oscar Gonzales, Makayla Reed, Kaitlyn Harris, Kyndze Pendergraft and Lexis Clark.
  • Photo by Mary Richardson
    Pre-K Instructor Belinda Phillips is flanked by the seven students wearing caps and gowns who attended all 14 years at Graford ISD, Pre-K through 12th grade. Left to right are Kyndze Pendergraft, Makayla Reed, Tommy “TJ” Slay, Richard “Ricky” Williams, Lexis Clark, Oscar Gonzales and Kaitlyn Harris. Phillips said it was the first time in the school’s history and that, coincidentally, she had been teaching there for those 14 years. She added that it was a proud, yet bittersweet, moment for her because she had watched the students come full circle.

Graford High Class of 2016 graduates

A hush fell over the gymnasium at Graford High School as Pomp and Circumstance began to play and all heads turned to see the 24 graduating seniors of the class of 2016 as they filed into the room.

Anxious parents, family members, friends, and guests applauded the procession which included Clay Carver, David “Ryan” Carver, Lexis Clark, Juan “Donnie” Feregrino, Oscar Gonzales, Miguel Gonzalez, Marcello Gradassi, Kaitlyn Harris, Ulysses Hernandez, Trenton Higgins, Meagan Lawhorn, Trapper Lewis, Emily Miles, Barrett Monroe, Kyndze Pendergraft, Kylie Pewitt, Colton Potts, Makayla Reed, Chelsy Rife, Samantha Roe, Tristan Rohmann, Tommy “TJ” Slay, Patrick Taff and Richard “Ricky” Williams.

Gradassi, who hails from Ravenna, Italy, became the first Foreign Exchange student to graduate at Graford. 

And, for the first time in the school’s history, seven would walk the stage to receive diplomas after attending all 14 years at Graford ISD, Pre-K through 12th grade, including Slay, Williams, Gonzales, Reed, Harris, Pendergraft and Clark.

Earlier that morning those students presented Pre-K Instructor Belinda Phillips with a rose, after walking the halls of Graford Elementary with the newly graduating Pre-K class. 

“I’ve been teaching here for 14 years and it’s hard to believe that this day has finally arrived,” Phillips said, adding that it was a proud, yet bittersweet, moment for her because she had watched the students come full circle.

Students were honored for their academic achievements and more than 15 scholarships were awarded by various individuals, clubs and organizations to help further the chosen recipient’s education.

High School Principal Lori Henderson presented awards for Academic Excellence to students who had a GPA of 3.5 or higher, including Juan “Donnie” Feregrino, Makayla Reed, Richard “Ricky” Williams, Trenton Higgins, who was also honored as salutatorian; and Emily Miles, valedictorian.

With words of encouragement for the up and coming seniors, they conveyed their sentiments and also gave many thanks to their fellow students, teachers, Henderson and GISD Superintendent Dennis Holt. Through the videos provided, the audience glimpsed each student and cheered them on with best wishes to complete their dreams.

The Graham Leader

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