MHS graduate

Despite gray skies and a chilly wind, spirits were high in Martinsville on Saturday as families, friends, and school faculty came together to celebrate the graduation of the Martinsville High School Class of 2023.

MHS Principal Dr. Aji Dixon welcomed the graduates and guests, including all members of the MCPS school board, several members of Martinsville city council including the Mayor and Vice Mayor, and MCPS administrators.

“We love you. You’re always ours, no matter what,” Dixon told the graduates. “You can always come back to us.”

Following a performance from the MHS Gospel Choir, Superintendent Dr. Zeb Talley approached the podium to deliver his remarks. Talley told students, “If you dream it you can be it and you can have it… You deserve an opportunity to be great. You are great… You’re never going to be second class to anybody. You came from Martinsville.” He urged the graduates to hold on to their dreams and their visions for the future. 

Senior class president Papion Jolie Ritenour Shelton then addressed her classmates.

“Though our paths may vary, and we face different challenges, let us not forget the unbreakable bond that ties us together as Bulldogs,” she said. “Stay connected, support one another, and celebrate each other’s victories as your own.” She reminded her fellow graduates that “anything is possible as long as you believe it is.”

Charles Edwards, senior representative, also shared remarks with his fellow students. He reflected on the challenges of being a student during the pandemic and reminded the class that “we must continue fighting to succeed. Make it to the top … Though our paths may differ, we have one common goal and that common goal is success.”

Of the 116 graduates of the Class of 2023, nearly half (54 students) graduated with an advanced studies diploma. Twenty-three graduated with the Governor’s Seal and 25 graduated with the Board of Education Seal. Most students (114) graduated with the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Seal, 17 earned the Seal for Excellence in Civics Education, and 6 graduated with the Seal of Biliteracy. Eighteen graduates are members of the National Honor Society, 16 belong to the National Beta Club, and 21 are members of the National Technical Honor Society.