Class of 2021 - Gleason

Gleason Graduation Highlights
Posted on 05/19/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Gleason Graduation HighlightsThe Gleason Class of 2021 includes 9 Tennessee Scholars, 4 graduating with Honors and Distinction, 6 additional graduating with Distinction, 17 students attending a 4-year university, 1 attending Tennessee College of Applied Technology, 4 going to community college, 1 joining the United States Navy and 1 entering the workforce. The total scholarship monies earned by the class exceeds $380,500.

The Tennessee Hope Scholarship is designed to provide financial assistance to Tennessee residents who attend Tennessee colleges and universities. Students eligible for the Hope Scholarship must score a 21 on the ACT or have a 3.0 GPA for their entire high school career. Ten students received the Hope Scholarship.

The Wilder-Naifeh Skills Grant was created to allow any student who is a resident of the state of Tennessee to attend a Tennessee Technology Center and receive certification in their chosen field.

The Tennessee Promise program is a last-dollar scholarship that ensures tuition and mandatory fees are free at community and technical colleges.

Students receiving scholarships are:

Elizabeth Jane Bailey -- Tennessee Promise Scholarship

Aayden Kumar Black -- Academic Merit Scholarship to Keiser University and Student Life Scholarship

Chasney Renee Brawner -- Austin Peay State University Dean’s Scholarship, Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, J.C. Carey Memorial Scholarship, Weakley County Sports Hall of Fame, Tennessee Scholars

Cory Danae Burke -- Bethel University Trustee Honor Scholarship, Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, Tennessee Scholars

Paige Cheyenne Chandler -- Volunteer Distributing Educational Benefit Trust Scholarship

Haley Anne Clark -- Tennessee Promise Scholarship

Jacob Jefferson Cochran -- University of Tennessee at Martin Dean’s Scholarship, David Gatewood Scholarship, recognized by the Tennessee National Guard Child and Youth Program

Caitlin Elizabeth Cook -- Murray State University Opportunity Scholarship, Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, Gleason FFA Outstanding Senior Scholarship, Tennessee Scholars

Jacqueline Roseaaron Ferrett – Bank of Gleason’s Bob Owen Scholarship, Bethel University Promise Scholarship, Tennessee Promise Scholarship

Jenna Belle Fowler -- University of Tennessee at Martin Achieve Scholarship, Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, The Ronnie Arnold Memorial Scholarship, Tennessee Scholars

Bryan Austin Gallimore -- plans to join the United States Navy, Wilder - Naifeh Technical Skills Grant, Tennessee Promise Scholarship

Christina Marie Henry -- University of Tennessee at Martin Achieve Scholarship, Bank of Gleason Scholarship, Gleason High School Beta Club Scholarship, Tennessee HOPE Scholarship

Cayden James Hughes -- Tennessee Scholars

Cheyenne Elizabeth Lamb -- Tennessee Promise Scholarship

Jetta Victoria Latch -- Bethel University Promise Scholarship, Tennessee Promise Scholarship

Lance Tyler Montgomery -- Murray State University Dean’s Scholarship, Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, Tennessee Scholars

Olen Ty Reed -- Gleason Gazelles Scholarship, Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant, Tennessee Promise Scholarship

Aliyah Naira Rosa Sanchez – Tennessee Promise Scholarship

Lillian Jayde Ruesken -- University of Tennessee at Martin Achieve Scholarship, Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, Gleason Gazelles Scholarship

Lexia Elizabeth Snider -- University of Tennessee at Martin Achieve Scholarship, Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, FSB Insurance’s Darreen Shaw Owen Scholarship, Tennessee Scholars

Cole Haiden Turnbow -- Tennessee Scholars

Elijah Malik Young -- University of Tennessee at Martin Dean’s Scholarship, Advanced Orthopedics Scholarship, 2021 Weakley County Young Professionals Scholarship, Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, Derek Hagler Memorial Scholarship, Weakley County Sports Hall of Fame, Tennessee Scholars

Top Ten

Chasney Renee Brawner, daughter of Chad and Sherri Brawner, has been ranked at the top of her class for all four years of high school. She earned a total of 19 college credits in high school; thus graduating with distinction and as a Tennessee Scholar. She currently serves as the Student Council President, Beta Club Vice President, G-Club Vice President, Science Club Secretary, Spanish Club Student Council Representative, and she is the Secretary for the class of 2021. Chasney has been a member of the clubs previously mentioned for all four years of high school. Chasney has also been a member of FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America), Fine Arts, and FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) for the past four years. In 2018-2019, she was chosen to represent Gleason in Weakley County Youth Leadership. Chasney was chosen as the female participant of Gleason for SCOPE (Student Congress on Policies in Education) in 2020, and she represented Weakley County by attending Girls’ State through a virtual platform in 2020. She was chosen for the Woodmen of the World History Award with a cash prize of one hundred dollars. Chasney played on the Gleason Lady Bulldogs Basketball Team the past four years and served as the team captain her senior year. She was chosen for the 2021 All-District and 2021 All-Academic Basketball Teams. She was the recipient of the Dudley Sanders Award and the Weakley County Press Prep Player Award in 2021. She attends Gleason First United Methodist Church, where she is an active member in the youth group. Chasney will be attending Austin Peay State University in the Fall and has earned the Dean’s Scholarship and the Tennessee Hope Scholarship. She plans to major in cellular and molecular biology with a goal of attending the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee in her future.

YoungSALUTATORIAN Elijah Young, son of Roger and Becky Sawyers, is the Salutatorian of his graduating class. He has earned a total of 18 college credits and will be graduating with Distinction and as a Tennessee Scholar. Elijah has been the class president all four years. He is the President of the Beta Club and G-Club. He is a member of the Student Council and Science Club. Elijah has played football and basketball all four years of high school. In football, he received All-Region and Offensive MVP for Region 7A. In basketball, Elijah received All-District honors all four years and TSWA All-State his senior year. Elijah was also named Weakley County Male Player of the Year. Elijah is a member of Gleason First Baptist Church. He also participated in Weakley County Youth Leadership and attended SCOPE (Student Congress of Policies in Education). He was also selected to Boy's State. Elijah has been accepted to The University of Tennessee at Martin. He plans to major in Molecular and Cellular Biology in the pursuit of a career in Medicine.

CookCaitlin Elizabeth Cook, daughter of Wade and Stacey Cook, is ranked third in the class of
2021. She earned a total of 18 college credits in high school, thus graduating with distinction.
She has been an active member of Future Farmers of America (FFA), where she has served as an officer all four years. She is the class vice president and has served as a class officer all four years. Caitlin is also a member of the Beta Club, Science Club, G-Club, and FFA. She has been in the top ten of the class all four years of high school. She has played on the Gleason softball team all four years. She was chosen to attend the 2020 Girls State. She attends Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, where she is an active member of the youth group. Caitlin has been accepted to Murray State University, where she
plans to major in communication disorders, in hopes of pursuing a career in Speech Language Pathology.

HenryChristina Henry, daughter of Cynthia Harbison and Cassie and Joseph Henry, is graduating fourth in her class. Christina has actively participated in Beta Club and Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) throughout high school. She has been named Student Representative of her class. She will be graduating with Distinction, as she has successfully completed 15 hours of college credit. Christina will be attending the University of Tennessee in Martin in the fall working towards a bachelor’s degree in History. Christina plans to pursue a career as a Museum Curator.

BurkeCory Danae Burke, daughter of Larry and Marilyn Burke, was awarded the Top Ten award of her class for the fourth time this year. She earned a total of 21 college credits in high school; thus graduating with Distinction. Cory has met the requirements to graduate as a Tennessee Scholar. She is president of the Science Club, the vice-president of FFA, and a member of Beta Club. Cory is a member of the Gleason Lady Bulldogs softball team and has played for the past five years. Cory was chosen for the 2018, 2019, and 2021 All-District Softball team. Cory participated as a delegate for the 2020 American Legion Girls State program. She attends Union Grove Baptist Church in McKenzie, Tennessee. Cory will attend Bethel University in the fall and she plans to major in Pre-Professional Heath.

FowlerJenna Belle Fowler is the daughter of Steven and Karen Fowler. Belle is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Gleason, Tennessee, and the Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) group. She was also a member of Beta, Student Council, and served as Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) President her Junior and Senior year. Belle has cheered on the Gleason High School Cheer Squad, was co-captain of the team her Sophomore year, and cheerleading captain her Junior and Senior year. She was a member of the 2018-2019 Weakley County Youth Leadership class and was a member of the 2020 Girls State program. Belle attended the 2019 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camp, and the 2019 Tennessee Leadership Summit camp hosted by the Tennessee Farm Bureau. She was awarded the Top Ten award of her class all four years of high school. She was also awarded the Coach’s Choice Award her Freshman year for cheerleading, the Leadership Award her Sophomore, Junior, and Senior year for cheerleading, and the Mitchell Parham Spirit Award for cheerleading. Belle plans to attend the University of Tennessee at Martin, where she plans to major in Communications.

RueskenLillian Jayde Ruesken has attended Gleason School since sixth grade. She lives in Mckenzie, Tennessee, with her parents, Candy and Josh Lowe, and her two step-brothers, Nathan and Grayson Lowe. Lilly has been in the following clubs for all four years of high school: Spanish Club, Future Farmers of America, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She was in student council and G-Club during her freshman and sophomore year. During her junior and senior year, she was in Beta Club, Top Ten, and Science Club. Lilly has played on the Gleason Lady Bulldogs Softball Team since eighth grade, and she cheered during her sophomore year. She has earned a total of 18 college credits and is graduating with Distinction. Lilly has met the requirements to graduate as a Tennessee Scholar. Lilly plans to attend The University of Tennessee at Martin this fall, to earn a Bachelor's degree in Geosciences in hopes of becoming a Research Meteorologist.

SniderLexia Snider is the daughter of David and Anna Stout. She attends Tumbling Creek Baptist
Church and is part of the youth group. For all four years of high school she has been an active
member of FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) leadership team, a class officer, Beta Club,
Future Farmers of America Secretary during her senior year, G-Club, Spanish Club sophomore and junior year, and Student Council. She has also been in Top Ten of her class since freshman year. She has played on the Gleason Bulldogs softball team since eighth grade and the golf team her junior and senior year. Lexia was chosen to be a member of the 2018-19 Weakley County Youth Leadership Class and the 2020 Girls State program. Lexia will graduate with Distinction as she has completed 18 hours of college credit. Lexia will attend The University of Tennessee at Martin in the fall, where she plans to major in health science Biology.

CochranJacob Jefferson Cochran is the son of Stephanie and Marcus Hopper. Jacob is graduating with Honors and Distinction as he has met the ACT Benchmarks and has earned 18 hours of college credit. Jacob plans to attend the University of Tennessee in the fall. He plans to major in Computer Science. His future plans include starting a Software Development company.

MontgomeryLance Montgomery is the son of Amanda Vaughn. He has been a member of the Beta club, Science club, and Future Farmers of America. He has been a member of the top ten his junior and senior years of high school. Lance has played on the football and basketball teams every year in high school. Lance was chosen to represent Gleason School at the American Legion Boys State conference his junior year. Lance has been accepted to Murray State University, where he plans to major in Film and Television Production.

Chasney Renee Brawner

Class of 2021: we have finally reached our dream.
Good evening parents, friends, teachers, administrators, school board members, and of course the graduating class of 2021.

It is truly an honor to be speaking as the Valedictorian. Today is a day of celebration: a time of reminiscing, a time of fellowship, and it is a time to begin our journey. It is finally OUR time. Fellow graduates, we have waited for this day for 14 years and as I stand before you tonight, I realize this special day has come so quickly. Tonight - we are here - WE HAVE MADE IT!

We have overcome many obstacles throughout the days of our senior year - and we should be so proud of ourselves. A year ago, we didn't know if and when we would get the opportunity to return to class in person, and if our senior year would have the special events that the previous graduates were able to experience. Our administration has made sure that we were able to enjoy our last few days as a Bulldog, and for that, I am so very thankful. Yes, life at Gleason High School is extremely different than most other area schools, but this small town is amazing. We have an incredible support system and without our families, teachers, special friends, and community members, we would not be sitting here tonight. Our grandparents and parents always astonish us when sharing their memories as a teenager and how different life was back in their days, and now it is OUR turn to be able to reminisce. What a story we will have to tell!

Even though several events did not take place our senior year, we will always have many great memories: homecoming week and dress-up days, pep rallies and trying to win the spirit stick, field days, being called crazy nicknames in a class by teachers who love us, trying not to get our name in the BOOK in fourth grade, watching the teachers at the Kiss a Pig event, having Mrs. Paige in class 3 different years, begging Mrs. Paula to turn down the heat when it was hotter in the classroom than it is on a summer day in mid-July, Mr. Aguilar telling us to “just do the math” because we would not stop asking questions, standing on our desks in Coach J’s class as if we were in the “Dead Poet’s Society” movie, and, most importantly, knowing everyone in our high school by their first and last name. Spirit days in t-shirts of black and orange and polos of solid colors have come to a conclusion. As you can see, our days as Gleason Bulldogs have come to an end.

We will always remember walking through our halls, where we might run into a four-year-old, or an elementary class headed into the library or perhaps passing a middle- schooler during class change. At Gleason, we could always find pre-k students singing and dancing, elementary children learning multiplication facts, junior-high students learning how to live without drama, high schoolers trying to make plans for the weekend, and lastly, faculty and staff members trying to decipher the new state mandates for the year. Our school experience is definitely a unique one, and for that, I feel blessed.

Memories of the friendships we have made will last a lifetime. Each of you has those certain friends with whom you share a special bond. We are all connected in some way or another, but there is one in particular that has made my days at Gleason more meaningful. Elijah, you took me under your wings all the way back in the early days of pre-k and for that, I am so appreciative. I would not be the person that I am today without you, Elijah. Thank you for always being there to challenge me in so many ways. It is so special to be able to share this podium with you tonight. Thank you for being a true best friend from the beginning and for helping me get to this point. Your constant encouragement and challenges are what have brought me to this point of me standing before you.
Maybe we have been known as the smallest class, the very first Pre-k class, a class that teachers have dreaded because we were all together and not split into two sections, but look at us now. We have made it to this day. When the worldwide pandemic began, everything was so uncertain. But, today, we sit here as classmates, friends, and soon-to-be alumni of Gleason High School. We are amazing individuals and now it is our turn to go out into the unknown and show the world how incredible we truly are. Our senior year definitely has not been easy with wearing masks, social distancing, quarantines, and wondering if we would even stay in person, but through all of these valleys of uncertainty, we have persevered. Fellow graduates, WE are the future, and WE are going to prove that we know what success is.

Winston Churchill once stated, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” We must remember to celebrate the road to success even before reaching our final destination.

Each of us will travel our own paths to success. Some of us will join the military, some of us will enter the workforce, and some of us will further our education in the field of our choice. Being successful is not about how much money you make; it is about the difference you will make in peoples’ lives. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. I challenge you to find what makes you happy. I challenge you to create your own success story. I challenge you to find your purpose. I challenge you to follow the path that was created for you.
Our new chapter begins tonight. Set personal goals, and work hard to achieve them. Your goals will help to keep you focused. Upon successfully reaching your goals, you will be closer to reaching your destination. Now go out, work hard, focus on your goals, do not look in any direction but straight ahead, and most importantly, believe in yourself and remember that failure is not the opposite of success, it is actually a major part of it. Hard work, dreams, and dedication all add up to equal success. That is what has brought us to this day, and that is what will take us into our next chapter. As Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Our journey will not be an easy one, and we will face many trials and temptations along the way. Always remember to be strong and to stand up for what you believe in and do what you know is right. It will be tough at times, the Bible tells us that trials will take place but with God’s strength and our faith in Him, we will overcome. Deuteronomy 31:6 states, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” We also have to lean on each other even though we are leaving and going our separate ways. Together, we can take a stand to overcome obstacles. Together, we are a team. Together, we are the class of 2021!

Thank you.

Elijah Young

Once again, welcome everyone, and thank you all for being here! It is an honor to be able to speak to you as the Salutatorian of the Class of 2021. Tonight, we are all thinking of “lasts”. Not only us, but our parents, our friends, and the administration. Today is our final official day as high school students, so, let’s all take a moment and thank those who helped get us to this point, no I’m not talking about, Photomath, Quizlet, and most importantly, Slader. In all seriousness, we thank first and foremost our parents and family, for their love, support, and encouragement. We would also like to thank faculty, administrators, cafeteria staff, and custodians for all they have done for us.

2,555 days - We are teenagers for 2,555 days. One day we are walking into high school as freshmen, not quite sure what to expect, and the next, we are walking out as graduates ready to face the world. Life passes quickly and no one gets to press rewind. Nor are we able to press pause or fast forward. If we've learned anything in the last few years it's to TAKE IT ALL IN.

Let’s carry that lesson into our future - Let’s live fully and never take anyone or anything for granted. Play your hardest in the game even if you are tired. Go out with your friends even if your heart has just been broken. Surround yourself with those who keep you the happiest, but who also keep it the most real. Appreciate the arms that hold you when you are down and then reach out to help you up. Fall in love with someone that makes your heart stop and your head go crazy. Study for the test, you WILL be glad. Eat the burger. ORDER THE MILKSHAKE! And by all means, record it all in pictures and videos.

The future is and should be bright, but, like our brief four years in high school, what makes life valuable is that it does not last forever. What makes it precious is that it ends. We know that now more than ever. And I say it today, of all days, to remind us that time is luck. So, do not waste it living someone else’s life, EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE! Find your true self and fight for what matters to you. Even if you fall short, is there a better way to live? Love who you are and never let hard days get you down or cause you to doubt your worth. We have to be greater than what we will suffer. Remember that every bad day is followed by a new day and that in all things, “this too shall pass”. So, be hopeful in hard times and humble in good times. And importantly, do not be afraid to TAKE A CHANCE!

Do not be afraid to fail. Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Do not allow fear to freeze, stop, or worry you. Do what you love - art, work, family, or ___ - whatever it is, DO IT knowing that doing something is always better than doing nothing. Have faith in yourself and do not let fear - which comes in many forms - keep you from living the life of your dreams.

“It is impossible”, said pride.
“It is risky”, said experience.
“It is pointless”, said reason.
“Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

In closing, as I look around here today, at you and all the people who helped us become who we are, I know it feels like we are saying goodbye, but we will carry a piece of each other into everything we do next. For 13 years, we have walked the same path. Now, we will embark upon 24 individual journeys. And as we do, it is my hope that we will remember at least these three things:

Take it all in - time flies but you’re the pilot.
Be yourself - everyone else is taken.
Take a chance on your dreams - you’ll win some, you’ll lose some … you’ll learn a lot.
Thank You. 

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