Seniors receive honors
Thomas Jefferson Academy held its high school graduation in the school gymnasium on May 22.
Five special awards given by the school are the Maron Rabun Award, David Thanepohn Torchbearer Award, B.J. Jones Spirit Award, Pamela Gibson Memorial Scholarship, and the James P. Hight Memorial Scholarship. The recipients of these awards were selected by the high school faculty.
Maron Rabun was a student at TJA when he was killed in a farming accident. His parents, William and Allene Rabun, established the Maron Rabun Award in his memory.
It is presented each year to a member(s) of the senior class who is well rounded and excels in academic and extra-curricular activities. The recipient must also be a good leader.
This year Abigail Haythorn was presented the award. Haythorn is the daughter of Teresa Haythorn of Avera and Mark Haythorn of North Carolina.
David Thanepohn lost his battle with cancer over 17 years ago. His parents, Ron and Sally Thanepohn, helped TJA establish the David Thanepohn Torchbearer Award in his honor.
This award is presented to an athlete or athletes who have made a significant contribution to the athletic program of TJA through service in the name of the team and teammates. The torchbearer “is one who places himself in the shadow by holding high the flame so his teammates may feel the warmth of glory and see the way to victory.”
This year Molly Durden received the award. Durden is the daughter of John and Anne Durden of Wadley.
B.J. Jones died in December 1999. Her parents, Stan and Jane Jones, established the B.J. Jones Spirit Award in her memory.
Jones was always enthusiastic about her school and had a charismatic influence on her fellow students. Her contagious spirit influenced her parents to recognize other students who possess this quality. The award is not based on athletics or academics, but on a student’s commitment to “school spirit.”
The award’s recipient was Madison Gaston. Gaston is the daughter of Greg and Jan Gaston of Wadley.
Pamela Gibson was an active parent and cheerleading sponsor at Thomas Jefferson Academy. Gibson died in 2002 after a long battle from cancer. Her husband and son, Dan Gibson and Bradley Arrington, established the Pamela Gibson Memorial Scholarship in her honor.
The scholarship is given to a student who possesses the same character qualities that Gibson possessed. The student chosen to receive the scholarship should be an outgoing person who demonstrates good Christian morals and a desire to succeed.
The recipient should be involved in extra-curricular activities at Thomas Jefferson Academy as well as volunteer work throughout the community. He/she should display leadership qualities to his/her peers and superiors. Most of all, the recipient should demonstrate a strong love and affection for Thomas Jefferson Academy as Gibson did.
The scholarship’s recipient was Abigail Haythorn.
James P. Hight was a lifelong teacher at Thomas Jefferson Academy. He gave unselfishly of his knowledge and love to each of his students. The Hight family established the James P. Hight Memorial Scholarship in memory of Hight, who died in 2006.
The scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior who is college bound, excels in academics, and who demonstrates good Christian morals.
The scholarship’s recipient was Alissa Bennett. Bennett is the daughter of Wendy Torres of Wadley and Robert Bennett of Wrens.