Local schools to hold graduations this weekend


Seniors will be busy in the coming days as Perryville, St. Vincent, and Saxony Lutheran will hold graduation ceremonies in the coming days. Perryville will hold its ceremony on Friday, May 19 at 7 p.m. in the Perry Park Center and will graduate approximately 150 students.
The ceremony will have a pair of speakers with the Commencement Speaker being Dr. John Cross, a mathematics instructor at Perryville High School.
Dr. Cross is a 2023 graduate of Grand Canyon University where he earned his Ph.D. in General Psychology with an emphasis in Cognition and Instruction.
This year marks Dr. Cross’s 25th total year of teaching and his 21st year of teaching at Perryville High School, having taught mainly upper level Mathematics. Dr. Cross is also marking 20 years of teaching as an adjunct professor for Mineral Area College at the Perryville Higher Education Center.
Over his 21 years at PHS, Dr. Cross has also sponsored various clubs and organizations. He is currently sponsoring the National Honor Society and the Sophomore Class, and is serving as the class sponsor liaison.
His favorite memory of the class of 2023 is the level of exuberance and passion each member of the class brings to every challenge they endeavor to overcome.
The student speaker is Drew Layton, the son of Jeffrey and Meg Layton, and Andi Bogenpohl. He will graduate Summa Cum Laude, Elk’s Student of the Month, Above and Beyond Award, A Honor Roll (all four years), Scholar of the Week, Social Studies Department Award. He will be attending The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and pursuing a dual major in political science and public administration, with a minor in international relations.
For Saxony Lutheran Principal Mark Ruark, it feels like the school year just started.
“The school year has just flown by and it seems like it goes faster every year,” he said. “We have had a great year.”

Saxony will hold its ceremony on Sunday, May 21 at 2 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium and recognize 56 students.
“It’s not the largest class we have ever had, but it’s among the top 10 in terms of students,” he said.
Saxony seniors will have a lot of scholarship money again this year with more than 1.4 million in accepted schloarships.
“That’s going to be close to the record of money our students have earned.” Ruark said.
The student speaker this year will be Aaron Zoellner.
“He’s a very versatile kid with being an All-State goalie, but is also an All-State band member,” Ruark said.
The senior class selected Max Wieser to be the commencement speaker. Wieser is a history teacher as well as the cross country and track coach at Saxony.
“He does a great job of building relationships with kids in the classroom,” Ruark said. “The kids wanted to honor him.”
St. Vincent will hold its graduation ceremony Sunday, May 21 at 2 p.m. at St. Vincent De Paul Church, where they will be recognizing 42 students. The commencement speaker will be Mark Mattingly.
The valedictorian of the class is Gracie McKinney, while the salutatorian is Jacob Hennemann.