PATTONVILLE — Before a packed gymnasium in Pattonville, 41 members of the Class of 2021 bid farewell to Prairiland High School during commencement exercises Friday night amidst tears, cheers and laughter.

“We were the learners of today and the leaders of tomorrow; now, as graduates, we become the leaders, the people who will make a difference to our success,” Marietta Hamill reminded her classmates during her salutatory address.

Valedictorian Tabytha Folse expressed appreciation to administrators, faculty, family and friends as she bid farewell to high school and anticipated a bright future.

“Our time is now, and as Orin Hatch said, ‘graduation is not the end, it is the beginning.’”

Earlier, Hannah Murdock welcomed the audience followed by the invocation by Rebecca Painter. Avery Johnson read the class poem written by Avery Johnson.

“Now fellow seniors, it’s time for us to spread our wings, because we are going to walk out of here to bigger and better things,” Johnson wrote. “Our dreams will come and go, but now as adults we will have to reap what we sow!

“Please parents, don’t start to cry, put a smile on your face and celebrate us with true Patriot pride. We have made it guys, and we are finally done, wish us all well as you officially say goodbye to the class of 2021.”

Following the presentation of diplomas by Superintendent Jeff Ballard, Eduardo Banda gave the benediction.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at

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