LaFAYETTE — Chambers Academy held its annual grand opening at 7 p.m. CDT Thursday at Torbert-Allen Field. A total of 40 seniors received diplomas. It was the largest graduating class in school history.
Addressing a large crowd gathered for the ceremony, principal Jon Owens said Chambers Academy had seen massive growth since this year’s seniors were in kindergarten. There were 13 children in this class. The numbers increased slowly when this base group was in elementary school, but started to increase when they were in junior high school. There were 23 students in seventh grade and there have been 40 this year.
There were 272 students enrolled at Chambers Academy this year. That’s up from 240 last year and 218 two years ago.
“This school had low enrollment when these students started kindergarten, but the class grew and grew until it was this year,” Owens said. “We had 40 seniors and 272 in the building this year thanks to the sacrifices made and the work done by the parents. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It is a beautiful evening for our seniors and their families. A chapter closes for you, but there is a whole book to write. No matter where you go in life, Chambers Academy will always be at your home. This is where you grew up. It’s a great place. It will mean something when you step out into the world as a rebel of Chambers Academy.
Twenty-five of the senior graduates will go on to college and 15 will enter the job market directly. This year’s senior class received over $1.3 million in scholarship offers.
This year’s valedictorian, Mattie Reese, carried on a family tradition. Her two older sisters had been valedictorians at Chambers. Mattie said her sisters gave great speeches at their graduation parties, leaving her with a tough standard to live up to.
“They were both funny and moving,” she said.
She got the fun part right when she remembered some of her classmates singing “Big Green Tractor” as loud as they could in kindergarten one day and thanking some local cops for helping them roll the yard. coach Jason Allen on homecoming night.
Mattie said she and her classmates could be proud to set the bar high for Chambers’ future classes.
“Members of this class have played in nine state championship games,” she said. “Our class has been through the best and the worst. We’ve been through the heartbreak of losing a much-loved classmate, Holden Messer, in an accident in July 2021. We’ve had the good times of winning state football championships. We learned to have fun in the good times and be strong in the bad times.
“We will go our separate ways after graduation,” she continued, “but we will never forget going to school here. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for her. class of 2022.”
Classy salutatorian Claire Allen said graduation parties are always a time for reflection and anticipation.
“This school will always hold a special place in our hearts,” she said. “We had memories that will last a lifetime. We look forward to the next phase of our lives. We look forward to what awaits us. »
Claire added that success means different things to different people.
“The real meaning of success is following a path God has laid out for you,” she said. “I want to follow this path and have as few regrets as possible when I get old.”
A number of awards presented at graduation night are named after CA alumni and supporters. Mark Stevens Award for Best Sportsmanship by a Senior Basketball Player went to Jarquez Banks, Carla Blackmon Cheerleading Award went to Natalie Lovelace, Bo Clark Senior Athlete Award to Claire Allen, Jeremy Smith Goodwill Ambassador Award to Joseph Hendrix , the Dr. Richard Lowe Citizenship Award to John Robert Ramirez and the Billie Ann Tucker Drama Awards to twins Jenna and Lauren Fuller.
A $500 Larry East Scholarship went to Ashton Chambers, a $500 John Wayne Perry Scholarship (for highest grade point average) went to Mattie Reese, Legislative Scholarships presented by State Representatives Debbie Wood and Bob Fincher and State Senator Randy Price went to Jarquez Banks and Nicholas Ford, $1,000 Chambers County Family Survivors Scholarship went to Alexis Smith, Douglas F. Harmon Memorial Scholarship from $1,000 was awarded to John Robert Ramirez, a $2,500 Holden “B”. The Messer Memorial Scholarship went to John Robert Ramirez and a $3,000 Cord Dodgen Scholarship to Hunter Knox.
Each student received their diploma on a stage set up near the middle of the football field. They marched into “Pomp and Circumstance” from the south end of the stadium and were seated at the north end of the field. Bailey Allen gave an opening prayer, John Ramirez led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, Natalie Lovelace gave the welcome speech and Lauren Fuller sang a song appropriate for the graduation party – “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus.
Alexis Smith poked fun at her classmates with a humorous poem about them.
Emily Milford announced the awards and scholarships. She also did the roll call for the elderly. Jon Owens and Kyle Jackson presented the diplomas.