Senior Spotlight

Class of ’21


Senior Pep Rally Picture Opp.

Bethany Kilpatrick, Staff Writer

This year our high school has to say goodbye to some of the best athletes, biggest brains, most driven thespians, and the most school-spirited Bobcats to walk the campus. The Class of 21 have ambitions and dreams to follow including college, careers, and so much more!  

The Class of ‘21 will be graduating in the high school gym on Friday, May 21.

“No matter how much you say you hate it here, it’s still going to be… even if it’s the tiniest bit sad, it’s going to be a little bit bittersweet when you’re graduating,” senior Gracie Johnson said. “So don’t hate every second, because there’s still good things.” 

As sad as it is, this year our very own Miss and Mr. GHS, better known as seniors Gracie Johnson and Ryan Ecker graduate. However, we are more than excited to witness the next chapter in their life unfold.

Gracie Johnson

“I’m going to Panola first, and I’m going to do my basics there,” Johnson said, “and probably going to transfer to somewhere like SFA or another university somewhere close by, most likely to obtain a degree that I have not yet decided on. I have kind of thought about journalism. I have kind of thought about somewhere in the medical field. I thought about coaching a little bit, but I haven’t really decided. It’s between something of the sort.”

Johnson was voted Class Favorite, and Cutest Couple with Clayton Grimes, and she has also participated in journalism, tennis, basketball, and even the singing of the national anthem in her years here. Johnson was a star volleyball player all four years of high school on varsity. 

In fact, she says,  “I can’t exactly pinpoint an exact one, but probably every volleyball game ever. I just loved playing volleyball, and every game was a good memory for me, whether it was a good game or a bad game because, you know, you learn from them all.” 

In addition to volleyball, Gracie’s family played a big role in her high school career.

 “Ever since I was little my mom held me to a really high expectation of completing everything to the best of my ability, and completing it to what God has allowed me to be able to complete,” Johnson said. So I’m always just striving to do the best that I can because of her and my parents just influencing me to complete all my goals to the best of my ability.”

Ryan Ecker definitely has represented our school well over the years. 

“Enjoy your time while it lasts because it flies super fast, so enjoy every second of it,” Ecker said. In addition to Class Favorite, he has achieved in varsity basketball, two district MVPS, two All-Regional, and one All-State in his four years.

 “My best memory probably is hitting the game-winner against Henderson my junior year, in the semi-finals, it was a Gary tournament,” Ecker said. “It was super loud in the gym, and everybody went crazy. They’re a big 4-A, and we’re a small 2-A, so it was a good underdog win.” 

Ryan Ecker making a layup in this year’s playoffs.

Ecker definitely has high hopes for his future!

 “I plan on playing college basketball at a junior college for two or three years, and then transferring to a university,” Ecker said. “I plan on studying kinesiology, and I want to become a coach. Whenever I settle down with my family it would be no more than four hours away. It would still be in Texas probably, so I can just be close to my family.”

In fact, his key to success in high school was his family.

 “They always wanted me to succeed, and some people in our family didn’t get to graduate high school,” Ecker said, “So they held me to high expectations, so it’s good to see them happy that I graduated.”

You probably recognize her from the huge smile she always wears Summer Stuart will also be leaving us this year. Stuart is definitely worthy of being voted Most Athletic. Over her four years in high school, she participated in basketball, softball, track, cross country, cheer, and volleyball. Actually, she received second-team All-District in volleyball one year. As athletics is her main focus, she was indeed secretary of FFA for three years.

Summer Stuart serving in this year’s season.

Stuart says she does intend on attending college, she is just not sure where yet. 

“I plan to find a job and start figuring out what I would like to do in college,” Stuart said. “I’m going to spend this summer for me.” 

You can always find Stuart making memories with her friends, actually, her favorite memory she shared was with them.

“I went to pick Gracie up, and I had Rachel and Carlee with me,” Stuart said. “Then Gracie sat down, and then she pressed the gas pedal, but didn’t know, and we went FLYING, like flying everywhere. I just remember screaming like, “PLEASE GET OFF THE GAS!” I was about to cry. I kept sitting there begging whoever it was to get their foot off the gas pedal, I remember just smacking Carlee, and telling her to get her foot off the gas pedal. She’s like, “It ain’t me.” She was so chill, and Gracie was like, “Man Summer really knows her way around my house!” And I’m like, “AHHHHHH!” Yea, it was terrifying, but it was my best memory.” Stuart said. 

Stuart’s family has also played a big role in her career. 

“My sister and my mother motivate me best. Valerie because she went to college, and I look up to her. Then my mother because she grounded me every time I didn’t go to school.”

Senior Ty Ransom is also graduating this year and leaves us with good advice. 

“Do everything you can possibly do because it’s going to go by fast,” says Most School-Spirit and Personality Plus Ty Ransom. 

There is no doubt why Ransom was voted school-spirited either. In his four years, he indeed did everything he possibly could. 

 “Baseball and tennis for four years, cross country and basketball for two, track for one, Beta Club, FFA, Student Council, Yearbook, that’s it,” Ransom said.

Ransom is not one to hold back and loves to chat with anyone and everyone, actually he said what he would miss the most about high school is “socializing with everyone and maybe the sports.”

 While several of his classmates have not yet pinpointed exactly what they would like to do with their futures, Ransom knows almost to a T what he wants his future to look like.

 “Go to Panola for two years, get my associates of science, and then hopefully transfer to Baylor, and get into the RN program there,” Ransom said. “If I feel like it or if I want to, I might pursue nurse practitioner, but I’m not really sure about that, yet, but for sure an RN.” 

 Senior Dylan Essery was voted Most Likely to Succeed and Best Actor!

“I’m excited to take on life, go to new places, and actually literally start my life,” Essery said. ”Because the first 18 years of  your life is kind of just practice.”

Essery, the theater sensation himself, is graduating this year. Saying he has a passion for the stage is definitely an understatement. He has been a part of Mr.Powell’s production class all four years of high school, and has been with them to state twice now! Along with that achievement in itself, he also has been awarded Honorable Mention All-Star Cast one time, All-Star Cast twice, and Top Performer three times now! If you don’t recognize his name, you would recognize him for his roles over the years! Especially Tevye, from The Fiddler on the Roof. His song,If I were a Rich Man”, will get stuck in your head for hours!  

He also started his own special tradition while in high school, the Dylan Essery Variety Show. This year it was hosted by Essery for the second time at the Esquire Theater in Carthage! He says it is his favorite memory. 

“The variety show this year was pretty fun, singing on stage with my friends, it was fun!” Essery said.

However, just because his high school career is coming to an end, definitely does not mean his theater career is. He plans on attending SFA in order to pursue theater or theater education, and further plans to live his life in the big city!

 “I definitely want to move off,” said Essery. “I would like to go to New York maybe or Los Angeles, somewhere big city, but if not there probably Houston or somewhere like that.”

Essery gives credit to his family for motivation to graduate due to the fact that he will get to be the first to attend college in his family!

“My family mostly because none of them have gone to college, so it’s kind of cool that I’m going to be the first person to go.” 

Essery will definitely be missed by many, but what a legacy to leave behind. Essery’s advice to the lowerclassmen is, “Just follow your dream no matter what, do what you want.”

Seniors battling it out with in a tug of war at the pep rally.
Senior Selfie