Fort Knox Middle High School faculty batted that word “perfect” around a couple of times Friday in the school gym to describe the Class of 2023 during their graduation ceremony.
The word surfaced when describing the valedictorian and later when it was announced that every senior had graduated.
Even the director of Department of Defense Education Activity, Thomas Brady, attended to sing their praises, acknowledging their 100% graduation record with 90 students attending the school this year and 90 students graduated.
High school principal Dr. Stacie Lamoureaux said she got to know the students over the past year-and-a-half and will miss them. It’s her first graduating class since taking over her role.
“I have developed a fondness for this group of students,” Lamoureaux said. “They’re exceptionally talented. They’re highly motivated, and they are high achievers. But most importantly, they’re just a great group of kids.”
The crowd cheered when Lamoureaux announced the perfect graduation record, but she said there was much more to announce.
“Our students earned 134 college acceptance letters, $6.7 million in scholarship money, 11 ROTC scholarships, one military academy appointment, four athletic scholarships, 61 ROTC college credit recommendations … and 100% of our JROTC seniors earned college credit recommendations.”
Returning to speak at the commencement, previous Fort Knox High School Principal and current Southeast District Chief of Staff Lonnie Gilmore said it was good to be back in front of his former students.
“I am home,” he said.
Gilmore reflected on his time as a high school graduate in 1996 and encouraged the graduates to celebrate fully but be ready for change.
“You’ll be high school graduates with new expectations, new responsibilities and new decisions to make that will impact the trajectory of your future,” said Gilmore, who reflected on how his time as a U.S. Marine helped him focus on what would become his future path as a teacher and administrator.
One experience in particular, when he was faced with the possibility of failing out of boot camp because of a swim qualification that he was unable to complete, shaped his thinking.
Gilmore said the drill instructor insisted that he “get back in the water.”
“Life is waiting for each of you in some form or another,” Gilmore said. “Life doesn’t care where you’re from, where you’ve been, how much you know, your fears — life doesn’t care. It will grab you by the collar and toss you into the deep end of the pool.”
Gilmore told the class that mistakes happen, feeling overwhelmed happens, successes and failures happen “and make you want to get out of the pool — but get back in the water.”
One of the more unusual highlights happened when salutatorian Thomas Landis veered from what he called a typical speech and instead decided to read to the class. He read from the children’s bedtime story “Goodnight Moon” to the thunderous approval of his classmates.
As Landis read, Dr. Laura Alvarez, language arts teacher and senior class sponsor, held up a large version of the book, helping flip the pages so all could follow along.
Landis said the book held an important parallel meaning to their graduation.
“A great story about the end of the day being read on the last night of our high school days,” Landis said. “But I think it’s important that we keep in mind that as Mr. Rogers once said, ‘Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.’
“Here’s to something else. Congrats, Class of 2023. Thank you, and goodnight.”
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.