Class of 2019

Commencement held for PBHS Class of 2019
Posted on 05/29/2019
Drew Metz reunites with his military sister, Alyson.

A total of 321 students graduated from the Poplar Bluff High School Class of 2019 on Thursday, May 23, at the Black River Coliseum, earning nearly $2.1 million in scholarships and grants, staff reported. 

“As you walk across this stage and receive your diploma, the journey that you started back at Early Childhood or Kindergarten comes to an end,” said Dr. Scott Dill, superintendent. “…No matter where you go in this world, you will always be a member of our school family.” 

The R-I district has graduated nearly 23,500 students total, according to historical records. Dill asked the hundreds of alumni in the audience to stand for recognition. Before the superintendent began his speech, he took a selfie on stage with the new group of graduates, receiving an ovation from the crowd. 

This year’s valedictorian was Sophie Rowland, who also served as class president. She took the opportunity to thank her teachers, friends and family for the support over the years. 

“Today is a day to celebrate all of the accomplishments of the Class of 2019 and the people who helped us get here,” stated Rowland, later challenging her classmates with a piece of advice from her grandmother. “…If there is something you don’t like or you’re unhappy with, then fix it. Go acquire a skill and use that knowledge to make the situation better.” 

Carlton McDonald-Jordan was named the salutatorian. He also expressed gratitude to key individuals including the matriarchs of his family and social studies teacher Mitch Davis before offering some words of inspiration. 

“No matter the color of your skin, your background, the way you wear your hair, the number of bedrooms in your house or cars in your garage… we all have what it takes to be successful in this world,” McDonald-Jordan said. “To my peers, I challenge you to be exactly who you want to be, to do exactly what you want to do, and to not let others be the author of your story.”

In addition to their high school diplomas, students Cara Bubanovich, Libby Burdin and Katelynn Hall were issued associate degrees from Dr. Justin Hoggard of Three Rivers College through the College Now dual credit program available at the secondary level. 

By special request, the names of the students who participated in the commencement were read by Assistant Principal Sheldon Tyler, who is retiring after serving 21 years in public school administration. He will be succeeded next school year by long-time science instructor Stephanie Hillis. 


Cutline: Graduate Drew Metz is called to the stage to be greeted by his sister Alyson of the U.S. Navy, who returned from being stationed in Gulf Port, Miss., to surprise her brother before deployment to Spain this summer.

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