Pawhuska, Barnsdall hold graduation ceremonies

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital
Phallen Clark, one of four Barnsdall High School valedictorians for 2021, addresses the school's commencement ceremony, held May 13 at the Bartlesville Community Center.

Barnsdall and Pawhuska high schools held their 2021 graduation ceremonies last week – Barnsdall on Thursday, May 13, and Pawhuska on Friday, May 14.

Overall, the two local high schools graduated 78 students. Amadeaus Reeves was valedictorian of the Pawhuska class, and Jozelyn Brace was salutatorian. Barnsdall had four valedictorians – Phallen Clark, Nichole Marullo, Lexi Patrick and Haley Tarwater.

Pawhuska graduated 46 students and Barnsdall graduated 32. For Barnsdall, this was the school’s centennial class – marking 100 years of producing graduates. Pawhuska graduating classes date back to 1910, when three students successfully completed their studies.

Barnsdall High School held its graduation at the Bartlesville Community Center, which was the choice of the members of the senior class. Pawhuska held its ceremony on the football field at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium. Pawhuska offered guests seating in the football stadium grandstand, and in chairs on the field itself.

David Cash, Pawhuska’s school superintendent, said the class of 2021 had an overall grade-point average of about 3.25 – the highest of all the classes over which he has presided as a school superintendent, in Pawhuska or elsewhere. He has been a superintendent for 16 years, three of them in Pawhuska.

Cash said that class members had attracted, so far, about half a million dollars in scholarship offers. He noted that 95 percent of Pawhuska’s seniors participated in at least one extra-curricular activity. The state average is about 53 percent, he said.

“We have a very involved group and a very smart group,” Cash said.

He encouraged the 2021 graduates to consider seriously that they have benefited from the kindness of a very supportive small town, and from the comradeship of one another. He pointed out that they would likely never all be in one place at one time again.

Cash advised the graduates to choose their friends carefully from here on out, understanding that the people with whom they spend the most time are likely to have an important shaping influence on them.

“You are the culmination of the four or five people you spend the most time with,” Cash said. He added that some 44 percent of enrollees at four-year public colleges and universities drop out, not finishing their courses of study.

“I know a lot of those people, and every one of them had the same story,” Cash said. “They got with a group of people, that studying wasn’t that important.”

He observed that smart and successful people tend to spend time with other smart and successful people.

“Make sure you choose wisely who influences you and who makes up your character,” Cash said.

The end of the 2020-21 academic year was also marked by the resignation of one of the five members of the Pawhuska Board of Education. Board member Addie Roanhorse resigned, citing a job opportunity that is requiring additional hours from her. Cash said that Roanhorse had been a dedicated board member.