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St. Joe says goodbye to Class of 2011

When Allison Stump was just 4 years old, she decided she wanted to be a dentist.

Friday evening, she moved one step closer to her goal when she joined the other 14 seniors at St. Joseph High School in Ironton at the 85th commencement, finishing high school and moving on to the next phase of her life.

“It’s bittersweet,” Allison said about graduating high school, knowing she will miss the rest of her graduating class. But she is excited about starting school in the fall at the College of Mount St. Joseph.

For David and Dawnette Stump, Allison’s parents, it was an emotional moment to see their only child moving from this part of her life.

“It’s wonderful,” Dawnette Stump said. “This has been a wonderful experience.” She said her advice for Allison was summed up in a senior page her family submitted for her yearbook, telling Allison, “Pursue your dreams, listen to your heart, believe in yourself and smile often.”

“So much ahead of her and many good times to come,” David Stump said.

Mark Boykin said graduating, for him, is pretty awesome.

“Those might be trite words to use, but they describe it,” Mark said. He plans on going to the University of Chicago in September, possibly majoring in astrophysics.

He said there are a lot of things he will miss about high school.

“Hanging out with my friends,” he said. “Being crammed in that school, 15 of us, and five years of that.”

A class so small can become a second family, and that was the underlying feeling of many of the students and staff at the ceremony at St. Joseph Church on Friday evening.

Kayla Elkins, senior, said that’s exactly what she will miss after graduation.

“How close we all are. We are like a family at St. Joe,” she said. “I’m going to miss all the people I’ve had classes with since kindergarten.” Kayla plans to go to Ashland Community and Technical College to study early childhood education or special education.

Paul Baker, senior, has attended St. Joseph High School for four years and said he will also miss his friends and people he has gotten to know over the years, but is still excited about the accomplishment of graduation.

“It feels pretty good,” Paul said. “I’m pretty happy about it.” Paul will be going to Ashland Community and Technical College in the fall to study physical therapy.

Jim Mains, school administrator, shared his feelings about the class graduating.

“We’re excited about it and we’re going to miss them very much,” Mains said. “They’re a great class to come through here.”

Mains shared some advice for the students beginning this new phase of their lives.

“For them to keep their values and morals and dedication to studies alive as they proceed,” Mains said.