NORTH AUGUSTA — Ten terrific teenagers got a tip of the hat in the midst of their senior year Friday morning, with the announcement of this year's inductees into the North Augusta High School Hall of Fame.
This year's honorees, sporting an assortment of accolades in athletics, academics and community involvement, are Ben DeLaughter, Abby Thornton, Carson Allen, Anna E. Mercer, Isaac Johnson, Bryson Parler, Jonathan Lykins, Taylor Hays, Mya Burns and Abby Rowell.
The induction process starts with students – all seniors – having the chance to apply for consideration and then undergoing a vote by the senior class. This year, 47 names were presented for a vote, and 23 of those were nominated for faculty consideration. Each wrote an essay on the theme of why they love the high school, and from among those 23, the top 10 were chosen.
Rowell, whose parents are Bruce and Lauren Rowell, was honored in absentia, as she was out of the country. Burns, whose parents are Miguel and Michelle Burns, was the first to walk up on the gymnasium's stage, to receive a plaque and a handshake from the principal, John Murphy.
Joining her, in order, were Hays (whose parents are Jay and Nicole Rogers), Lykins (David and Karrie Lykins), Parler (David and Cindy Parler), Johnson (Raymond and Betty Johnson) and Mercer (Zeke and Angel Mercer).
Completing the list, in order, were Allen (David and Jennifer Allen), Thornton (Tim and Jane Thornton) and DeLaughter (Scott and Haley DeLaughter).
The winners' writings touched on a variety of memories. Burns mentioned "the relationships I've established with so many people and the countless joyous memories I've created," and Hays wrote, "I made my foundation by building a family with my teachers and my friends."
Lykins, recalling homecoming-related events, cited "the spirit we have, the fun and the camaraderie." Parler expressed thanks for "knowledgeable and passionate teachers," including those who are in the Advanced Placement program and are "equivalent in knowledge and rigor to that of a professor."
Johnson touched on excitement related to athletics (as both a participant and spectator) and his thankfulness for "smiling faces and laughter" in the hallways and lunchroom. Mercer expressed gratitude to God and noted, "North Augusta High School has been my home away from home for almost four years now."
Allen noted that the school has provided "a great education and even better friendships and memories," and described himself as grateful for every day along the way. Thornton wrote, "North Augusta High has not only woven a tight bond within my own family but has also blessed me with a multitude of smaller families."
DeLaughter, concluding the procession, wrote, "If it weren't for making the choice to attend North Augusta High School, I would be a completely different person and probably someone I wouldn't like very much."