Four years ago, a kind and sweet-spirited freshman walked into my classroom. She took her place in Advanced Honors English I, prepared to work and ready to learn. However, she did not realize that although she would indeed learn about Shakespeare’s Four Great Tragedies and Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, she would also teach her classmates, as well as her English teacher, an important lesson about character and integrity.
Our associations with a queen consist of grandeur and pomp. Power and status. However, a true queen leads with a servant spirit, prioritizing others instead of herself. Jaina perfectly embodies what it means to be a servant leader—she is filled with a sincere love for those around her. On a stressful day filled with insurmountable stacks of papers to be graded, I can always rely on Jaina’s sweet smile and a “Have a great day, Ms. Glenn!” to lift my spirits. Jaina is an encourager: she sees the good in her friends and classmates, and she builds them up with true displays of love and camaraderie. Jaina’s authenticity in her interactions with others is evident as she lives out her favorite verse from Scripture: she “rejoice[s] always, pray[s] continually, give[s] thanks in all circumstances.”
Over the course of the past four years, the freshman girl with the sweet smile has blossomed into a gracious and confident young woman who has realized the impact she has on her community. She has found her voice—a voice that cheers on her fellow runners at cross country meets when the race seems too tough to finish. A voice that encourages her fellow EE’s to practice those splits one more time, despite the aching muscles. A voice that prays for the needs of her friends, family, and teachers when they are facing hardships or are feeling discouraged. A voice that produces sweet melodies of love and friendship to any who will listen.
Jaina, it has been such a privilege to serve as your teacher, and I am so very proud of the compassionate and kind young woman you have become. Your AP English family loves you, and we congratulate you on having been elected Cedar Creek’s 2016 Homecoming Queen. You are truly a Queen of Hearts!
The definition of perfection says "the act of having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; being as good as it is possible to be."
For as long as I have known MacKenzie this is what she has strived for. MacKenzie has an inner drive that is second to none in being able to push herself to be as close to perfect as is humanly possible.
When MacKenzie and I first met in her freshman year in Geometry class, there were times when I am sure that I caused her much grief and stress because I constantly found something to mark wrong on her work. Mind you, they were minor things, but in her mind they were huge because perfection is what she wanted.
I guess over the years of teaching her in several math courses, she learned how to handle this new stress and discovered that correcting these little things moved her closer to her goal - perfection. What a delight it is to teach a student who can learn and grow with each and every critique and become that student who excels and rises to new levels.
So MacKenzie, through all the stress, worry, and tears as well as the fun, smiles, and good times, here we are in your senior year at Cedar Creek. I have loved watching you perform with the EE's, watching you run and jump in track, and most of all having the opportunity to share all my mathematical knowledge with you.
Maybe in the future you will need to know some little part of that math to be able to achieve your next big goals, or maybe not! Whichever is the case I am very proud of you and will hold the memories of our times together near to my heart.
I wish for you the best-ever senior year with each "last" event being special in its own way. Congratulations on being selected to this year's homecoming court; you certainly are deserving of the honor in every way. I can’t wait to see how beautiful you will be on Homecoming Day 2016. Your sweet smile and inner beauty and compassion will take you far in your future endeavors.
I love you MacKenzie!
Caroline Hill is a walking example of JOY. She has a contagious smile and is always reaching out to help others. I have known Caroline since she was a young girl when I taught her private piano lessons, and it has been my pleasure to work with her in private voice for two years and this year in the Music Fine Arts Class. Through school and our church (FBC Ruston), I have watched her grow into a spirit-filled, kind, loving young lady. I see her reach out on the sidewalk to younger students as she passes them, and they feel loved by this young lady. Caroline has a strong faith and the assurance of that faith is in her treatment of others. She attends church activities for the youth and is a dependable member of the youth fellowship! She is a disciple and she actively uses all the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
It is an honor to be asked to share a few words about Caroline. As I read through the first football program book, I stopped on Caroline’s page to read what her parents had written. They wrote these words: “Before you were born, we dreamed about the young woman you would become and you have turned out even better than our best dreams!” I have watched the Hill Family come in to church on Sundays with smiles and happiness. Anyone who has been a part of getting more than two children ready for church on Sunday knows that you do not always arrive with a “smile” on your face! The Hills came in with joy and that joy is evident in their oldest daughter, Caroline.
Her Aunt Andy had these words to say about Caroline:
Even at first glimpse, it is very obvious that Caroline is an outwardly beautiful young woman. More importantly, anyone who is fortunate enough to be around her soon discovers that her inner beauty is even more apparent. Our family has had the honor of watching her grow up from a precious, curly haired baby into an intelligent, independent, dependable, and lovely Christian young lady. Her inner strength has certainly been tested with the diagnosis of Type I diabetes several years ago. Caroline has shown such poise and grace in not letting diabetes control her but rather, learning to control her diabetes.
Her determination and strength has allowed her not only to participate in the things she loves; but to make them look easy. Whether it’s dancing with the Emerald Entertainers, playing Lady Cougar basketball, or running with the CC track team, she continues to challenge herself and works hard to make certain she completes those challenges. She serves as a wonderful role model to younger children to look up to and emulate. I am so proud of the life she has led, the goals she has set for herself and the manner in which she sets her mind to achieve those goals successfully.
Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face. It’s about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart, and a pretty soul.
The first time I met Elizabeth-Kate (“KK”) she was bubbly, bright eyed, middle school student with the sweetest smile. She would walk into my classroom every afternoon and welcomed me with the best hugs. Elizabeth-Kate has always had a special place in her heart for her fellow classmates. She helped me start a Middle School Bible study when she was in the 6th grade. We would meet at recess and do a small devotion and just encourage one another. I have enjoyed watching her through the years, continue to reach out to others and encourage them on their journeys. Elizabeth-Kate and I sometimes still meet at lunch, and these are days that I will always treasure.
Elizabeth-Kate has accomplished so much in her time here at Cedar Creek. She has been a Cougar guide and a member of Art Club, French Club, Key Club, FBLA, and Drama Club. She plays varsity basketball and is a member of the state championship Lady Cougar softball team. Her determination and the love she has for the game, as well as the love she has for her school and teammates, shine when she is playing on the court or field. Elizabeth-Kate will always give you more than you expect, and I admire that quality in her.
KK, Thank you for letting share a small part in your journey. You have had challenges in your life that you have handled with such grace … You inspire me with your dedication and determination to your family, friends and teammates.
I am so proud of you, and I look forward to seeing the wonderful things that you will be accomplishing this year and in the future.
Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes,
I have known Maryanna Spillers since the day she was born. She was so small and so full of life from day one. One of the first things you notice about Maryanna is her lovely eyes. Those eyes, to me, reflect the beautiful, sweet, kind hearted, funny, loving life girl I have watched grow up over the years. I have so many memories of her … from the blonde little girl with the cutest curls, hanging out at the Peach Festival Parade, to watching her race Scott in the gym and finally to the talented dancer who amazes me when she steps on the stage or the football field.
Maryanna has many talents that she has shared while at Cedar Creek School. She is a member of the Prestigious Performing Company and Louisiana Delta Ballet with Missy Crain Dance Studio for the past 13 years. She is a member of Key Club, French Club, Art Club, FCA and No White Flags. She is the captain of the Emerald Entertainers ,where she is a role model and leader, on and off the field.
Maryanna is a member of the varsity track and field team, where she earned a state title in the 4 x100 meter relay and set a new school record.
Maryanna, I am so proud that you were chosen to represent your fellow classmates on the 2016 Homecoming court. I am enjoying having you in my first hour class. Your senior year will go by so fast, and I am thankful I get to be a small part of it. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for your life. I will be cheering you on, as always!
While finding it a privilege and a pleasure to have been asked to share my thoughts and impressions of Mary Terral, I am very apprehensive. It is very hard to put into words to totally portray a person like Mary. She is one of a kind!
First, let me say, it is an honor for Mary to have been chosen by the student body to represent Cedar Creek on the 2016 Homecoming Court! I have known her most of her life. She grew up in church right in front of my eyes, and I had the pleasure of teaching Mary in junior high science. Also, I have had the opportunity to coach her in softball over the last six years. I found her to be beautiful, intelligent, curious, very athletic, goal-oriented, and determined to achieve. Mary has given me so many lasting memories. I admire her tremendously for the way she overcame several setbacks and persevered.
The opinions on what makes for a "tough" softball player are countless, but I feel passion should be at the top on every list. Passion is an interesting word because most assume it means a deep love, but the Latin root of the word means "to submit to something" or "to sacrifice." I think Mary exemplifies the true meaning of passion. She has worked and continually works tirelessly to achieve her personal goals for the good and success of her team. It may come as a surprise to some, but pitching is not Mary’s first love. She only accepted this role after several pleading conversations from her coaches. She knew when making the decision to pitch that she would be sacrificing her personal desires to help her school team reach its goals. Yet, she met the challenge “head-on.”
Defining toughness should have Mary Terral as a definition. She does not know the meaning of the word QUIT! Life has thrown Mary some devastating blows. Her ACL and meniscus were torn her freshman year, preventing her from participating in the state championship of the Lady Cougars that year. After surgery, Mary rehabbed and worked, hard pitching most every day during preseason in spite of the pain and discomfort.
After returning the next school year, Mary tore her ACL again during one of the first games of the season. I feel most individuals would have given up when the first injury occurred and would have certainly been done when the second injury happened. Unselfishly, she opted to continue pitching and playing the rest of the softball season with a braced knee. Her perseverance, along with her teammates, helped to lead Cedar Creek to being state runner-ups in 2015. She has responded to these tragedies with determination to achieve. No one can outwork her. Many hours have been spent in practice, physical therapy, lessons, and playing in the summer, traveling all over the United States. Because of her determination to achieve, Mary has been chosen as an All-State Softball Player more than once, as well, as numerous other softball awards. Even others recognize her talent, because she will be playing collegiate softball at Ole Miss University next year. Mary will be trading her green for red.
A quote comes to mind when I think about Mary graduating this school year: “Things end, but memories last forever.” I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to spend so much time around Mary. I want to thank you, Mary, for my awesome memories. I will personally miss hearing you eagerly ask, “Glo, what are we doing today?” I can say with all confidence that Mary can, and will be, whatever she wants to be in our society, and it is my earnest feeling that our society will benefit from it all.