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Seniors’ last hoorah
FHS, BHS combined send more than 900 out into the world

Farragut High School’s Class of 2009 culminated its four years of hard work and determination with its Commencement Ceremonies Saturday, May 16, at Thompson-Boling Arena.

With a graduating class of more than 530 and four student speakers — Brooke Lauren Fraser, Amy Catherine McGinnis, Nicholas Ray Wendel and Grace Bryanne Yarnell — FHS principal Michael Reynolds kept his comments brief and spoke to the seniors about what it might mean to embark on the next leg of their journey.

“Graduation is a special time,” he said.

“It is a time for you to celebrate what has been accomplished and to dream of what can be. It is a time to cherish old friends and a chance to make new ones. It is a time to seek challenges and take advantage of opportunities. It is a time to stand up and do what is right and not what is convenient. It is a time to lead and also to serve. It is a time to realize what you can do and make a difference. It is time to change the world and make it a better place. It is time to explore the world on your own and to always remember that no mater how far you travel or where you might go, there is always a safe harbor called home,” he added.

Reynolds commended the class on its achievements.

“This class has accomplished much. In athletics, you have been district, regional and state champions. To date, 12 have signed athletic scholarships.

“In visual and performing arts, the class has received superior ratings and several have won individual awards.

“In academics 35 have done research at the university level in science, and 14 have done historical research at the university level. Thirteen students are National Merit commended students. Nine are National Merit Semi-Finalists and nine are National Merit Finalists. Two are Presidential Semi-Finalists. Two have accepted appointments to the Air Force Academy. Two have had perfect A-C-T scores. Sixty-three percent have maintained 3.0 [GPA] or better and, to date, 75 percent of this class has earned scholarships totaling [more than] $15 million.

“You are truly a special class,” he added.

The Class instituted a new tradition this year, “The Tolling of the Bell,” for classmate Carson Howard, who passed away this school year.

“The tolling of the bell is a Navy tradition,” graduate Amy Catherine McGinnis said.

“A long time ago a bell was sounded in a time of danger and sailors were called to their stations. A second bell was sounded when the danger had passed and sailors could return to their quarters.

“Today a bell is rung as a means of sending a fallen friend home to his final resting place,” she added.

McGinnis led the class in a moment of silence while senior class vice president Adam Carr rang the bell to “honor Carson Howard and all Farragut alumni who have been called home,” McGinnis said.

Hari Ganesan, son of Ganesh and Veena Ganesan, is the Class of 2009 valedictorian.

In addition to having a weighted grade-point average of almost 4.6, Ganesan was very active in both sports and extracurricular activities.

A member of Environmental Club and president of Science Club, Hari also played tennis for FHS and was a member of the rock climbing team.

Hari will be attending Yale University in the fall.

“For the most part of April I was deciding between Yale and Columbia. I visited both schools last week and Columbia — I liked it because it was in the middle of New York, but I didn’t really find the city to be a big part of college life.

“There were a lot of other things I liked about Yale,” he said.


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