Chambers Academy holds graduation

Published 12:56 pm Monday, May 20, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

LaFAYETTE — With the arrival of mid-to-late May comes lots of local graduation ceremonies. Point University was the first local school to have a graduation ceremony. It look place on Saturday, May 11th. Chambers Academy was the first local high school to have its commencement. It took place at 7 p.m. CDT (8 Eastern) at Torbert-Allen Field, located directly behind the school. Lanett High’s graduation was scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 17th, and Springwood’s was set for 9 a.m. EDT on Saturday, May 18th. Next up is LaFayette High, set for 7 p.m. CDT (8 Eastern) on Monday, May 20th. Valley High’s graduation ceremony takes place at 8 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 21st. Beulah High graduates the same evening, starting at 6 p.m. CDT (7 Eastern). Troup High’s ceremony will be taking place at Callaway Stadium in LaGrange at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 24th.

A total of 30 students received their diplomas from Headmaster Jon Owens at the Chambers Academy ceremony on Thursday. They are members of the school’s 55th graduating class. Most of the graduates are from the LaFayette area, but also included  are students from Valley, Lanett, and from Lee, Randolph and Tallapoosa counties. Four of the students – Kole Baker, Abby Cain, Class Valedictorian Malissa Lee and Class Salutatorian Morgan Newman – began their educations at Chambers Academy in kindergarten and remained in the school all the way to graduate on Thursday.

This past school year, Chambers Academy had a total of 317 students enrolled in grades k-12. Headmaster Owens is especially proud of the fact that this year’s seniors received scholarship offers totaling in the $2 million range. Kole Baker and Macy Phillips have received scholarships to Auburn University, Grant Jones and Malissa Lee to the University of Alabama, Makenzie Gilliland to Point University, Lizzie McManus to Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina, Abi Brooks and Kelsea Harmon to Huntingdon College, Kassidy McManus to Spring Hill College and Makayla Foster, Kyle Hand, Jordan Miles, Allyson Noles, and Blake Reaves to Southern Union State Community College.

Email newsletter signup

Kole Baker is the recipient of this year’s Cord Dodgen Scholarship and MaKenzie Gilliland the recipient of the Holden Messer Scholarship, named in memory of a CA student who was killed in an ATV accident in the summer of 2021. Several students received plaques in appreciation of what they meant to the Class of 2024. They include Lizzie McManus, who received the Dr. Richard Lowe Award; Kole Baker, the Jeremy Smith Goodwill Ambassador Award; Ryan Smith, the Stevie Adams Spirit Award; Kyle Hand, the Bo Clark Senior Athlete Award; MaKenzie Gilliland, the Carla Blackmon Spirit Award and Austin Brooks, the Mark Stephens Sportsmanship Award. Kyle Hand and Abby Cain were recognized as Mr. and Miss Chambers Academy. Kyle Hand and Jordan Miles have received scholarships from the Chambers County Commission.

A large crowd that was on hand for the event laughed throughout Allyson Noles’ class poem, which poked good-natured fun and recalled good times with her classmates.

In their salutatorian and valedictorian addresses, Morgan Newman and Malissa Lee had everyone in a good mood when they recalled some unforgettable experiences they’d had with their classmates.

“All of us share some really special memories we have made in our time at Chambers Academy,” Newman said. “We have had a wonderful high school experience. This school, my classmates and my teachers became the best friend of my life. I want all of you to follow your dreams and let nothing get in your way as each of you become the best version of yourself.”

Being class valedictorian runs in Malissa Lee’s family. She has three cousins who were valedictorians at their school. She told the crowd that she will ne her classmates and all the good times they had at Chambers. This past year capped it all off. “We all caught senioritis,” she said while holding up a Chambers Academy state championship t-shirt. That drew a lot of applause from the big crowd.

“I appreciate the role each one of you had in creating the memories we made this year,” she said. “I am sure they will last a lifetime. I love all of you and will miss all of you.”

This year’s senior class at Chambers Academy had much success in athletics. In their four years in high school they won two state titles in football, had a runner up finish in basketball, and two second-place finishes at state in volleyball. Rebel teams made the final four in baseball and girls basketball, finished third in the state in softball and had four AISA student athlete recipients. Makayla Foster had 40 career home runs in softball, and Allyson Noles won two state titles in barrel racing.

Mr. Owens said this year’s senior class is a special one for him. “We have built relationships over the past five years,” he said. “You are the first class I ever taught.”

He joked with them that they’d never have to hear him say things like “shave, get a haircut. Where are you supposed to be right now?, Get out of the car, Why are you taking pictures of yourself in class?, Before you ask, the answer is no, Put your shoes back on, Quit huggin’ me, You are always one decision away from dumb and You told yourself it was okay to go to Jack’s.”

He also mentioned some phases that he hopes will stick with them: you’ve got this, be a great teammate, make sure you tell your patents thank you, embrace the tough, you are going to make it, and we are going to walk right beside you.

“This group is known for their heart and their genuineness,” he said in concluding remarks. “What you see is what you get.”

Members of Chambers Academy’s Class of 2023-24 include:

Malissa Nicole Lee, Ashley Morgan Newman, Kole Leven Baker, Abigail Leigh Brooks, James Austin Brooks, Ricky Re’nard Brooks, Lexie Ann Marie Brown, Abby Lee Cain, Jarred Ryan Ford, and Makayla Grace Foster;

MaKenzie Faith Gilliland, Michael Kyle Hand, Kelsea Bryann Harmon, Hayden William Hendrix, Koreen Andrew Henry, Jacob Tyson Hewitt, Grant Lee Jones, Landon Duane Kirk, Elise Gabrielle Lamb, Dawn Elizabeth McManus and

Kassidy Brooke McManus, Jordan Elizabeth Miles, Sarah Jane Nelms, Allyson Elizabeth Noles, Macy Brooke Phillips, Elijah William Pritchard, Aaron Blake Reaves, Chadwick Ryan Smith, Carissa Piper Williams and Kenzley Marie Yarbrough.