DCHS class of 2024 receives dilplomas

The 350 members of Daviess County High School’s class of 2024 walked Reid Stadium one last time Wednesday night to receive their diplomas and stride into the future.

The class, who were freshmen in the fall of 2020, began high school during the COVID-19 pandemic. That period was full of stops and starts, as schools adapted quickly from in-person to online learning and back again as the pandemic raged.

Gill Nicodemus, the school’s honor graduate, said working virtually for a time actually made the friendships he established at DCHS stronger.

“There are people I’m definitely going to miss, but I’m excited for the future,” he said. “The teachers have been wonderful. Everyone wants to see you succeed in class and help you however they can.”

Lah Htoo received his DCHS diploma. It was his second graduation in seven days.

Last week, Htoo received his associate in arts and an associate in science from Owensboro Community & Technical College, through the county school system’s early college program.

When Htoo came to Owensboro with his family in 2011 from Thailand, he didn’t speak English, but learned quickly in kindergarten.

“Coming at a young age helped a lot,” Htoo said. “I was learning what (all) kindergartners learn.”

Htoo said staff and students made him feel at home.

“Everybody was so nice to me,” he said. “I was very welcome when I came here.”

Htoo, who will attend Western Kentucky University to study health science, said the early college program was a lot of hard work, but he was encouraged by Amanda Jerome, the district’s college and career readiness coordinator.

“She’s very supportive,” he said. “She helps students succeed.”

“I feel very excited right now,” Htoo said of graduation. “I’m excited to get out, but I’m sad to leave high school.”

DCHS principal Matt Mason told the large audience the students had a lot to be proud of and had shown their dedication by earning numerous scholarships.

Although the total is not yet complete, the students had earned at least $6.8 million in academic scholarships, Mason said.

Mallory McClure, the class’ student body president, also said the graduates deserved praise for their accomplishments.

“I’m proud of each and every one of you, for the hard work and dedication it took to get here,” McClure said. While the graduates can’t know what lies in the future, she said “the best is yet to come.”

Nicodemus, who will be starting at the University of Louisville in the fall, said he will miss the teachers who helped him and the friends he made. Nicodemus said a special moment for him was after he’d dislocated his shoulder during a football game and Mason showed up at the hospital that night to check on his condition.

“It made me feel I was a part of the school,” Nicodemus said.