Daviess County High School had 425 students in its graduating class, and 404 of those walked the line Tuesday night on Daviess County’s football field. Principal Matt Mason said last year was the first time they held the graduation on the field, and they had such positive feedback that he hopes to continue it annually.
The class of 2022 persevered through the pandemic without letting it affect their success. This past school year allowed a relative return to normalcy with events, and the students unified to make the most of their high school years.
Mason reminded the students to continue challenging themselves, to live a life of service, and to surround themselves with quality people.
“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great,” Mason said. “You have greatness within you. You’re a miracle looking for a place to happen.”
Senior Lauren Jian Howe embodies all of Mason’s talking points by being chosen to represent Miss Echoes for her class and receiving the coveted award of Honor Graduate, which is voted on by the faculty.
She said she was surprised when she was awarded Miss Echoes because her peers chose her.
“It was incredible knowing how much they thought of me,” she said. “Being recognized as the Honor Grad was even crazier to me … I had no idea I would be receiving that honor until Senior Awards Night. Both titles are huge deals as it means that my classmates, teachers, and faculty see me as an involved and well-respected student of the school.”
DCHS Family Resource Youth Service Coordinator Megan Nicodemus said that Howe embodies a truly involved student.
“She is involved and active in almost everything. She could frequently be found serving on various student representative panels, National Honor Society, and the cross country and track teams all four years,” Nicodemus said.
Howe recognized that her accomplishment and involvement have challenged her to work hard, but she knows she was successful.
“Knowing that I have worked hard every year to gain them makes it even more rewarding to know it has paid off,” she said. “I have been blessed with so many more things than I could ever imagine and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
In addition to her accolades, Howe also was a yearbook staff photographer, and she plans to major in photojournalism and minor in marketing at Western Kentucky University.
“I am unsure of what I want to do as a full-time career, but I know that I want to do what I love,” Howe said.
Howe said after surrounding herself with quality people, even during the “epic highs and lows,” she will miss the community she was part of in high school.
“Countless hours of laughing, talking and enjoying the moment are some of the best moments I’ll cherish forever,” she said. “Surrounding myself with people that I wanted to be like makes me a better person. My friends and teachers helped shape me to become a better leader and now I can use what I learned from them to lead more people to change the world.”
Howe said she did not rise to this success alone and thanked all of her teachers — from preschool to the present.
“I know I was just one kid out of the hundreds you have each year, but you all have pushed me every step of the way,” Howe said. “You’ve not only challenged me both in and outside of the classroom but also cared for me and took time out of your day to check on me when I wasn’t at my best.”
Howe spoke to her peers Tuesday night during her Honor Graduate speech.
“Daviess County Class of 2022, never forget that it’s not about the degree we get, the college we’re going to or how smart we are, but instead about the talents and skills each of us possesses and how we’ve used them to get where we are now,” Howe said. “Now it’s time to go out and change the world.”