By Terry Rogers
On Wednesday, May 14 , Milford Senior High School (MHS) held their Annual Senior Awards Night in the High School Gymnasium. Students and guests were welcomed by MHS Principal Dr. David Carter, and the ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance and the performance of the Star Spangled Banner by the Milford High School Chorus.
“A short four years ago, we discussed what you wanted to do,” Dr. Carter said to the students. “At the time, none of us knew what the future held. I am elated to see all of the smiling faces sitting here tonight. You are putting the finishing touches on one chapter in your life, but the next step is even tougher. I know all of you will not only succeed, but do great.” In addition to congratulating the students receiving awards at the ceremony, Dr. Carter congratulated the parents and community members who helped them achieve this dream.
Marvin Schelhouse, President of the Milford School Board, echoed those sentiments. Mr. Schelhouse said that as a school board member, he did not always have the opportunity to thank the parents, grandparents and guardians who helped students achieve greatness.
“Education does not begin in the classroom,” Mr. Shelhouse said. “It begins at home, and each of you has sponsored a learning environment that has created the young people who sit here today. This is a wonderful time in your life, and we know you will go on to greatness. I am very proud of your commitment to excel in academics, sports, drama and other organizations. You demonstrate an understanding of the importance of citizenship and leadership. I wish you continued success.”
Dr. Phyllis Kohel, Superintendent of Milford School District, said that the ceremony was about the community and that it was dedicated to the students who worked diligently to earn the awards and scholarships. Dr. Kohel explained that the ceremony was bittersweet for parents and students as it was the last awards ceremony of their high school career, but that it was a glimpse into the future.
“We are so very proud of your accomplishments,” Dr. Kohel said. “Remember that everyone out there in those bleachers tonight helped you get here and will continue to help you reach any goals you set. The district wants to thank everyone who has given or provided guidance for these young people because it is an investment in our future.”
Maggie Tkach won the Leo Club/Milford Lions Club Scholarship, while Allison VanVorst won the Milford Lions Club (Jim Willis) Scholarship. The Lions Club also awarded Ryan Wolfe and Elizabeth Stangl with scholarships. Elizabeth plans to attend Towson State University in the fall, studying speech and language pathology.
Taylor Hoey, Allison VanVorst and Andrew Eschelman were awarded Milford Rotary Club scholarships. Taylor will attend Wesleyan College in Georgia, majoring in elementary education. Shay Parks won the Milford Education Association Scholarship. Taylor Hoey was also awarded the Constance L. Howell Scholarship. Octavian Wilson was the recipient of the David J. Berezowski Football Scholarship and Jenna Zettle received a scholarship from the Milford Garden Club. Dalton Pikus and Kelly Topolski received the Raymond W. and Edith W. Masten Scholarship.
Many of the awards given out at the ceremony were recognition awards that did not include scholarship money, but acknowledged students who were outstanding in particular areas of academics. Chris Miller and Nicole Rogers were awarded the Senior Technical Theater Award for outstanding effort backstage during student performances, while Christina McTheny received an award for Senior Excellence in Stage Management. Shannon Hollingsworth received the Milford Drama Outstanding Performance in Plays Award and Tara Holstein won the Milford Drama Outstanding Performance in Musicals Award. Tara also received the Outstanding Choral Performer Award. Morgan Mariner received the Outstanding Choral Service Award and Deja Neal was given the John Philip Sousa Award for outstanding band performance.
Christina McTheny won the Accelerated Reader Award, earning 2,537 points for books she read over her four years of high school. Christina says that she usually had a semester goal of 24 points, but based on the points she earned to win the award, she averaged over 300 each semester. Christina plans to attend Wesley College and hopes to become an English teacher.
The last award of the evening was the dedication of the 2013 Milford High School Yearbook, which is historically dedicated to a staff member who has gone above and beyond for the students of the school. This year, the students voted to dedicate the yearbook to Tina Hilligoss.
“Words cannot express how I felt when I was informed that the senior class chose to dedicate the yearbook to me this year,” Ms. Hilligoss wrote in the student yearbook. “I have been teaching for twenty-two years and it is a wonderful feeling to know that I have touched your lives and have meant something to you.” Ms. Hilligoss went on to say that the Class of 2014 was a fun-loving bunch and she often heard them laughing between lessons.
“Go out and live your life to the fullest,” Ms. Hilligoss continued. “Make the most of your life and give it your all. Do what makes you happy. Never give up. Make no excuses. Make me proud and make Milford High teachers proud that you are from Milford. Be someone who makes a difference.”
Winners of all the awards at the Senior Awards Ceremony can be found at https://milfordlive.com/category/schools/.