Congratulations Class of 2017!


By Darrell Wacker - dwacker@civitasmedia.com



The Butler Chamber Choir opened the ceremony with the National Anthem and the Butler Alma Mater.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Kierstyn Marie Hale performed Graduation Mashup.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Senior Class President Alison Marie Barlow gave a welcoming address.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Ericka Milena Washburn performed How Does a Moment Last Forever.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Salutatorian Elaine Cecilia Dean spoke about Butler’s spirit of unity.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Deanna May Cohen performed Time of Your Life.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Valedictorian Spencer Douglas Brokaw took a selfie before urging students to take time to enjoy life.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Valedictorian Spencer Douglas Brokaw took a selfie before urging students to take time to enjoy life.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Melanie Beth Barrett and Allison Marie Gabert performed For Good.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Butler Principal Thomas Luebbe charged students to make a positive and lasting difference in the world.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Superintendent Bradley Neavin, in his final graduation speech due to his retirement, urged students to choose to do something that makes them happy.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

The Vandalia-Butler Class of 2017 commencement excercise was held on Friday, May 26 at the Student Activities Center.


Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

VANDALIA – There were tears of joy and sorrow on Friday evening as the Butler Class of 2017 celebrated its achievements and remembered an absent classmate. The Class of 2017 had 298 members and earned $6.8 million in scholarships according to Superintendent Bradley Neavin.

Musical selections were performed by the Butler Chamber Choir, Kierstyn Hale, Ericka Washburn, Deanna Cohen, and a duet by Melanie Barrett and Allison Gabert.

An empty chair with a cap and gown were left to remember Allie Fowler who died last fall in a car accident. Tears flowed when her cap, gown, and diploma were presented to her mother by Butler Principal Thomas Luebbe which drew a standing ovation from the audience.

Class President Alison Barlow said that experience brought the students together even as students dealt with the normal headaches of high school.

“We lost a friend. It took the enthusiasm right out of a lot of us. But we overcame,” Barlow said in her welcome speech. “We found a support system in our teachers, administrators, and more importantly in each other.”

Salutatorian Elaine Dean spoke about the spirit of unity at Butler.

“Although this is the last time we will all be together, I am confident that the spirit of unity that Butler has taught us will stay with each of us forever,” said Dean.

She had special words for Luebbe who completed his first year at Butler.

“Mr. Luebbe, from day one you have shown us that any time is the perfect time to greet someone with a smile and a friendly handshake,” she said.

Valedictorian Spencer Brokaw had the audience laughing after first stopping to take a selfie with the Class of 2017 in the background. “I’m a Millenial,” he said.

He urged his fellow classmates to enjoy life.

“If I’ve learned anything, its that sometimes we shouldn’t be afraid to put the quality of our own enjoyment before our responsibilities,” Brokaw said. “Life is too precious for us to waste our time and energy solely dwelling on its stress and negativity…we can not expect to enjoy ourselves if we choose to be its spectator.”

Before presenting the class to Neavin, Luebbe asked the audience to raise their hands over the students as he charged them to make a “positive and lasting difference throughout our world.”

“May you always possess the gift of strength and the reward of insightful wisdom so as to enjoy a lifetime of years upon years of happiness, to seize every opportunity that life will present you, and to handle with the fortitude of courage every challenge which you will definitely encounter,” said Luebbe. “May you always answer the call to use your talents in service of others and to use the knowledge which you have learned at Vandalia-Butler to make a positive and lasting difference throughout our world.”

Before the presentation of diplomas, Neavin, who is retiring this summer, gave his final speech as Superintendent.

“Choose to do something you that makes you happy each and every day,” Neavin said. “Decide to do something you truly love, and you will never, ever work a day in your life. Go! Do great things! Godspeed, and remember, we will always be Aviators!”

The Butler Chamber Choir opened the ceremony with the National Anthem and the Butler Alma Mater.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_27-2.jpgThe Butler Chamber Choir opened the ceremony with the National Anthem and the Butler Alma Mater. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Kierstyn Marie Hale performed Graduation Mashup.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_31-1.jpgKierstyn Marie Hale performed Graduation Mashup. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Senior Class President Alison Marie Barlow gave a welcoming address.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_35-2.jpgSenior Class President Alison Marie Barlow gave a welcoming address. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Ericka Milena Washburn performed How Does a Moment Last Forever.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_39.jpgEricka Milena Washburn performed How Does a Moment Last Forever. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Salutatorian Elaine Cecilia Dean spoke about Butler’s spirit of unity.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_44-1.jpgSalutatorian Elaine Cecilia Dean spoke about Butler’s spirit of unity. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Deanna May Cohen performed Time of Your Life.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_48-1.jpgDeanna May Cohen performed Time of Your Life. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Valedictorian Spencer Douglas Brokaw took a selfie before urging students to take time to enjoy life.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_50.jpgValedictorian Spencer Douglas Brokaw took a selfie before urging students to take time to enjoy life. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Valedictorian Spencer Douglas Brokaw took a selfie before urging students to take time to enjoy life.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_52.jpgValedictorian Spencer Douglas Brokaw took a selfie before urging students to take time to enjoy life. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Melanie Beth Barrett and Allison Marie Gabert performed For Good.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_59-1.jpgMelanie Beth Barrett and Allison Marie Gabert performed For Good. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Butler Principal Thomas Luebbe charged students to make a positive and lasting difference in the world.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_63.jpgButler Principal Thomas Luebbe charged students to make a positive and lasting difference in the world. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

Superintendent Bradley Neavin, in his final graduation speech due to his retirement, urged students to choose to do something that makes them happy.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_66.jpgSuperintendent Bradley Neavin, in his final graduation speech due to his retirement, urged students to choose to do something that makes them happy. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_150.jpgPhoto by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

The Vandalia-Butler Class of 2017 commencement excercise was held on Friday, May 26 at the Student Activities Center.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2017/05/web1_FullClass.jpgThe Vandalia-Butler Class of 2017 commencement excercise was held on Friday, May 26 at the Student Activities Center. Photo by Darrell Wacker | Civitas Media

By Darrell Wacker

dwacker@civitasmedia.com

Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.

Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.