POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - A total of 358 students graduated from Poplar Bluff High School on Thursday, May 24, at the Black River Coliseum. It's the most graduates since 1980 topping last year's distinction.
According to district records, the past two consecutive years have produced the largest numbers of alumni in the history of the school system, with the exception of a stretch of years starting in the mid-1960s when the baby boomer generation began to complete high school.
"I am exceedingly fond of graduation ceremonies – they indicate that the school district has completed its primary mission," R-I Superintendent Dr. Scott Dill told the Class of 2018. "Tonight's ceremony is not just an end cap to your career as a high school student. Rather, it is the cumulative celebration of 13 long years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication."
This year's salutatorian was Alyssa Cook and Kaitlyn Lloyd was named valedictorian. In a speech to her classmates, Lloyd purposely rattled off a string of clichés such as "we did it," "believe in yourself" and "change the world" since, she said, she is forever compelled to do the opposite of what she is advised.
"I've prospered in a world of 'no's.' Today, I prove all the 'no's' wrong, even the ones that developed from within," the top student said, later adding: "When people tell you 'no', you smile and prove them wrong."
The Class of 2018 earned nearly $3.4 million in scholarships, A+ funding and other grants to attend college, the PBHS counseling department reported. The most recent graduation rate for PBHS is 91.8 percent, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.