Passing the torch: Seniors take part in candlelight, award ceremony

BALDWIN — Seniors continued a long-held tradition at Baldwin High School on Thursday morning — passing the torch to juniors to take on the role of leadership. In a candlelight ceremony, each senior lit the candle of a junior to symbolize the passing of the torch. Following the ceremony, seniors were presented scholarships and awards.

“As you go out to the future, may it be lit and bright,” said Duane Roberts, promise zone coordinator, to junior students. “In the next year to come, you will be a leader for younger generations. You are now ready to embark on your new leadership role for senior class of Baldwin Community Schools.”

After the candle ceremony, Allene See was announced as valedictorian, and Dixie Herington as salutatorian.

Scholarships and awards were presented to students.

“Throughout the school year, students were collectively awarded $350,000 in federal grants,” Roberts said.

Baldwin Promise Chair Deborah Smith-Olson, and Judy Eversole, Baldwin Promise member, presented Baldwin Promise scholarships to the graduates.

“It is really grand to stand here and watch the dreams and hopes of students come to life,” Smith-Olson said. “I met some of you when you were in the little kings and queens contest at Troutarama. We are going to assist you in going out and getting further education you need. Hopefully some of you will be back some day and we will see your faces again after you go out in the world, even if it is just for visits.”

The Martin Luther King Scholarship, given by members of the Martin Luther King Commemorative Committee, awarded $1,000 each to Hailey Gallentine and Blake Dockery. This scholarship is awarded to students who executed leadership activities and helped strengthen the community and promoted its contribution to society as a whole.

Among some of the other scholarships awarded, Stewart Nasson, Baldwin Junior and Senior High School guidance counselor, presented two West Shore Community College scholarships to Riley Drilling.

The Robert and Barbara Radunzel Family Scholarship, to be used at a college bookstore for books and required supplies, was awarded to Jasmine Simmons in the amount of $400.

Drilling and Gallentine were recipients of the Brail Health Care Scholarship, which awards $600 to graduates going into a health science field.

Dockery was awarded $600 with the Charles Coykendall Scholarship for demonstrating academic achievement, superior personal character, leadership ability and potential for future academic success.

The Emil Wenger Scholarship, three non-renewable scholarships of $800 available to seniors who demonstrate academic achievement, character, leadership and potential for future academic success, were awarded to Simmons, Herington and Drilling.

The Baldwin Rotary Strive Scholarship awarded $1,350 each to Divante Ponder, Ashley Newman and Simmons.

The Lake-Osceola State Bank and Wenger Agency Scholarship for $400 was presented to Riley Drilling.

Recipients of the Gerl Foundation Scholarship, which offers up to $1,800 to seniors who demonstrate academic achievement, financial need, superior personal character, leadership ability and potential for future academic success, were Drilling, $1,800; Simmons, $800; Ponder, $800; and Herington, $200.

Two seniors, Herington and See, were presented with a full eight-package scholarship at Michigan State University.

Teachers also recognized seniors with student awards.

Jodi Drilling, poultry leader superintendent of Osceola County 4H/FFA Fair, presented a 4-H award to her daughter, Riley Drilling, for raising animals and winning poultry competitions since she was 6 years old.