River City Early College graduates Class of 2022

Published 10:42 am Friday, May 27, 2022

River City Early College held its graduation ceremony for the 59 students in its class of 2022 on Wednesday at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

The welcome address was given by graduating senior MaryKatherine Archer.

“This is a moment of joy and celebration of the new,” she said. “While this moment marks our last memory at River City Early College, it marks the first of the rest of our lives.”

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29 of the graduates also received college-level associate’s degrees from Hinds Community College in addition to their high school diplomas. The school had a 100-percent graduation rate.

Run by the Vicksburg Warren School District, River City Early College is a four-year high school program that students can apply to in 8th grade. Along with their required high school curriculum, accepted applicants also complete the coursework required for associate’s degrees during that time.

Two students tied for the honor of valedictorian: Caleb Whitney and Taylor O’Leary. Whitney was the first to address his classmates.

He began by speaking about his difficulty writing a speech that would do justice to the experience he and his classmates have had.

“Because nothing can live up to that. No speech could capture the experience this senior class has had at this school,” Whitney said. “This school is undeniably special. So is this group of seniors.”

Whitney also spoke about his appreciation for those involved in his experience at the academy.

“I’d like to thank our great staff, my fellow seniors, my family, my friends and our guests here tonight for making this school what it is,” he said. “For making this place so special. And for having an impact on my life that I will never repay.”

Later in the ceremony, O’Leary took to the podium to address her fellow students.

“I can tell you guys what I see right in front of me,” she said. “I see a room full of students that strive to be fearless, ubiquitous, courageous, kind, intelligent, thoughtful, wise, eccentric, bold, ambitious, loving and laudable.

“I see a room full of family members, friends, teachers, district staff and board members who want us to be all those things and more as we walk out of reach of their loving grasp on to our separate journeys,” O’Leary added.

The principal of the River City Early College, Dr. Tammy Smith, also addressed students and guests.

“One thing that makes this extra special for me is that I’ve been the principal of many of these graduates for 11 of their 13 years in this district,” Smith said. “Not many principals can say the same. However, whether I’ve had them 11 years or four years, the love and joy shared has been equal. Their accomplishments and successes are so evident.

“But I’d like to mention the one thing that makes my heart overflow even more,” Smith added. “The class of 2022 formed amazing relationships with one another and with the staff which have proven to be life-changing and unforgettable.”

The full ceremony can be viewed online at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/vicksburg-high-school-vicksburg-ms/evt87deec4f51?fbclid=IwAR3Gcpzs23jTN2I_LsPNVzVLJnkJdi4oQXBkKv9wxeHvjaP5h8gWqBT72Yc