Aynor High School’s 192 seniors said goodbye to high school last night during the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2019.

Valedictorian Morgan Thomas noted that a big part of the senior class’ year was spent serving others after Hurricane Florence.

“Aynor opened her arms to serve others, and [some of us found that] serving others is what some of us are meant to do,” Thomas said. “AHS is a family.”

Salutatorian Katie Allen said their teachers have taught them not only core subjects, but life lessons as well.

“Thank you for inspiring us to be the best version of ourselves each and every day,” Allen said.

She told her classmates to be fearless in achieving what they want for their futures.

“Pursue all this world has to offer, and don’t be afraid to jump,” Allen said.

Allen also won the J. Marion Shaw “Once a Blue Jacket, Always a Blue Jacket” award for her achievements, perseverance, performance, and attitude.

Senior Jarrett Joseph came to Aynor in the third grade, and after being introduced to the Technology Fair as a child, it inspired him to go on to the Academy of Art, Science and Technology.

“I have absolutely enjoyed growing up in a small town with so many opportunities in the technology field,” Joseph said. “I’m glad Horry County offered a STEM school like this because it allowed me the opportunity to further my knowledge but still allowed me to be a part of everything that Aynor High School had to offer.”

He plans to head to Coastal Carolina University in the fall to pursue a career in cybersecurity.

Graduate Madelyn Hardee will also be heading to CCU to major in business.

“My time at AHS has been amazing, and I will forever cherish the friendships I have made,” Hardee said. “To be a part of this community and go to school here is great honor. My favorite part … was the relationships that were built between the teachers and students in and out of the classroom.”

Cadence Cagle began going to Aynor Elementary in the fourth grade, and said her family has not been disappointed by Aynor schools.

Cagle participated in the PACE program (Program for Accelerated College Enrollment) through Horry County Schools and Horry-Georgetown Technical College, and was able to earn 24 college credits while still in high school.

“I’m very thankful to Horry County Schools for the opportunity to jumpstart my college career. Because I have most of my college core classes and electives behind me, this coming Fall I will be able to start my course work for my chosen field…”, Cagle said.

Cagle will be earning her nursing degree through CCU to become a trauma nurse.

McCracken told the graduates he often struggles to say something meaningful each year at graduation.

“It’s not because I don’t have anything to say, but I want to say something that matters. Something you will remember,” McCracken said.

He told the class how much the class meant to him, and how proud he is of them all.

“There have been many mornings on my way to school where I’ve prayed for you. For your safety and protection, for you to make good decisions, for peace in our school and in your life. That alone should speak volumes to you, because you matter,” McCracken said.

He encouraged seniors to unplug from technology often, have real conversations, and to be kind.

“Put your phone down and speak to other people … be kind to people at the grocery store and the gas station … Do good things and bless others. Not because of the attention or praise, but because doing good things always pays off. It may not pay off today, it may not pay off tomorrow, or in six months, but sooner or later you will reap the good that you sow,” McCracken said.

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