Although saying “I’m not typically an emotional guy” during his address to the class, Barlett extended an “I love you” to his daughter, Kimsey Nicole Bartlett, who was among 489 receiving diplomas in UT’s Thompson-Boling Arena.
However, “All of you mean something to me,” he said. “Many of you have eaten at my table, swam in my pool. …”
He announced the class earned more than $31 million in scholarships among its accomplishments.
Valedictorian is Yong Seo Cho, a candidate for Presidential Scholars Program and a member of Knox County Youth Health Board. She will attend Emory University and major in chemistry.
“… During times of hardship and difficulty is when our true potential will be revealed,” Cho said during her address. “However, in order for us to shine, we must first prepare ourselves for those times by taking opportunities and trying our very best.
“If we try our very best, people around us will also want to work hard because they are impacted positively by our efforts.”
Salutatorians are Tyler Forrest Chan, a National Merit Finalist who will attend the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and major in chemical bio-molecular engineering, and James Philip McIntyre (son of former Knox County Schools superintendent Dr. James McIntyre Jr.), a National Merit Finalist who will attend Duke University and major in either economics or political science.
Relocating the school’s Memorial Garden “was a top priority for Bearden,” William Bradley Gross, Senior Committee president, said during his address. “… While fundraising for such a project initially seemed overwhelming, our class raised over $12,000. It was the second largest amount ever raised by a (BHS) senior class.”
More than a dozen graduates chose to at least begin their careers in the U.S. Armed Forces. They received a standing ovation.
Bartlett recognized BHS faculty and staff who are retiring.
“I’ve been surrounded by great people. And one of those people who means the world to me is Dan Parker,” assistant principal and athletic director at BHS who has served 42 years as an educator. Bartlett said Parker has helped “make Bearden High School better. We are going to miss him.”
Bob Savery, retiring science teacher: “thank you for your hard work,” Bartlett said after this retiree received a standing ovation;
Lori Thumler, business teacher, was praised for having “a fantastic heart and soul,” he said.
Linda Mongeon, guidance secretary, was praised for “everything you’ve done to help students the last seven years,” Bartlett said.
Loretta Peak, family and consumer science teacher, “has done a great job for many years,” the principal said.
Recognized as “Alumni of the Year” was Dr. David Harris, BHS Class of 1971 (salutatorian), a retired U.S. Navy veteran and ophthalmologist at UT Medical Center.