Photo Gallery: Wolves leave the den as Monterey High School graduates

Published 3:28 pm Sunday, May 14, 2023

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MONTEREY, La. — Thirty-one members of the wolf pack turned over their tassels and graduated from Monterey High School on Saturday morning while surrounded by friends, family and teachers.

It was the third and final high school class to graduate from Concordia Parish public schools last week after Ferriday High School, Concordia Parish Academy and Vidalia High School all held their commencement ceremonies Thursday and Friday.

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Monterey High School’s Class of 2023 is also a class of trailblazers who’ve had many firsts through their educational experience, said principal Melissa Doughty.

In January, Monterey dedicated its new gymnasium to Monterey head coach Jack Bairnsfather and named the new gym in honor of him. He coached the Wolves for 33 years and was a teacher at the school for 41 years. On Saturday, the Class of 2023 became the first graduating class to have its commencement ceremony in the new gym.

“They were the first to start a kinder program. They were the first to sponsor a homecoming parade and has Mr. Jack Bairnsfather be the one to lead it,” Doughty said. “They had a lot of good memories for us this year. All year, they have shown us how much they love Monterey High School and value its traditions. So how fitting is it for them to be the first class to graduate from the Jack Bairnsfather Gymnasium? The positive things you have done have left a legacy for others to follow, and we appreciate you very much for that.”

In her salutatory speech, Lillie Bazille said the teachers, administrators and staff of Monterey High were like a “second family” who gave “unselfishly in and outside the classroom.”

“Thank you for the countless hours you have invested in us,” she said. “To our coaches, you taught us the importance of discipline and sportsmanship. Thank your for making our school about more than just classwork. To our parents and family, thank you for supporting us in more ways than can possibly be counted.”

After thanking her parents, tears developed in her eyes as Bazille said an emotional goodbye to her classmates.

“What we’ve done together over these past several years is truly incredible. We stuck together and grew together and you could not have been a better class to be a part of. I think that each and every one of you, no matter which road you choose to travel, you will make it your own and you will succeed. So, goodbye, my friends. Remember to rest, relax and grow stronger, let go and let God share your load. I leave you with a quote from Dr. Seuss. ‘Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.'”

In her valedictory speech, Storm Edwards agreed, “Monterey High School has always been more of a family than a school.”

“I believe the sense of care and attention given to each student’s education is something that can only be found here at Monterey High School and I can say with confidence that it will only make each of our futures even brighter,” Edwards said. “When we leave here today, we will no longer be high school seniors. We will be graduates. We will be the future. Sitting in this very room are the next doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers and so much more.”