Destin Elementary School saw the end of an era Thursday morning as the last fifth-grade class walked across the stage during graduation.

Closing the door on their elementary school lives while simultaneously opening the window on their middle school journey; the remaining fifth-grade classes proudly accepted their certificate of completion in front of their family, friends, school staff and various guests including Dr. Diane Kelley, their soon-to-be principal at Destin Middle School.

As many of the graduating class are true Destin-ites, having studied at Destin Elementary School, home of the Dolphins, all or most of their scholastic careers, the ceremony was both emotional and exciting for the students.

Student council vice president Abbie Stanford and K-Kids vice president Lauren Adams lead the processional, starting with the Pledge of Allegiance. Like many of the students, the duo seemed to have mixed feelings about moving on to Destin Middle School and becoming a Marlin.

"It's going to be fun," said Stanford. "But I am kind of nervous too."

Baye Bowman is looking forward to the transition. "I'm excited to be going to middle school," she said. "I'm not too scared."

This year’s graduation theme was more than fitting, according to Shelley Weeks, the assistant principal at DES.

"This year’s theme is picture your future," Weeks said. "The principal, Marti Gardner (the principal at DES) and I both had the same theme idea."

Unfortunately, Principal Gardner had a prior family commitment which kept her from attending the ceremony.

"I know she hates that she can't be here," said Weeks.

Emily Nguyen told The Log that one of her best memories of fifth-grade at Destin Elementary was designing the yearbook.

"I designed the cover of this year's yearbook," said Nguyen.

Throughout the school year, the students have grown accustomed to being the big dolphins in a small gulf, but next year they'll once again be the small marlins in a big gulf.

With less than 70 fifth-grade students remaining at DES, they made their way across the stage, over the small bridge where they were greeted and welcomed to middle school by Dr. Kelley.

The three remaining fifth-grade teachers at DES; Cindy Huggins, Jessica Landry and Vicki Mathews, called their students up one-by-one to say goodbye and good luck.

The consensus of all three teachers was the same — while they were happy to see their students grow and move on, they were going to miss their students.

"This has been one of the best classes I've ever had," said Huggins. "I am really going to miss every single one of my students."

During the commencement ceremony, students were praised not only for their academic and athletic achievement at DES but their personal contributions to the school and the Destin community. The students were presented various awards including the Leadership award, an award for perfect attendance and the Top Miler award for most laps completed during physical education.

The Spirit of America award was presented to students who, "exhibit the qualities our country was founded on; honesty, patriotism, hard work, persistence and positive attitude" Jim Murphy of the American Legion Post 296 in Destin presented the award to Cole Harrison Farrah (Huggins class) and Jessica Scott (Mathews class).

The ceremony was rounded out by the presentation of the fifth-grade class gift; a picture of the sand Mandela created earlier in the year by the students.

As the ceremony came to an end, Kelley ended with a poignant and fitting quote.

"Begin with the end in mind," Kelley said. "Always look forward; picture your future."



Destin Elementary School

Fifth Grade

Lauren Adams, Zachary Alabata, Kaitlen Autrey, Fiona Bown, William Branham, Delaney Cookman, Jake Dever, Mariana Drumond, Cole Farrah, Taylor Ford, Connor Kelley, Clara Beth Lafollette, Madison LaRumbe, Blake McElroy, Emily Nguyen, Brooke O'Keefe, Payton Price, Caitlyn Ream, McKinley Reynolds, Savannah Rockwell, Abbie Stanford and Nicholas Tenholder.

Also, Zach Belardino, Baye Bowman, Noah Boyles, Jamison Brundidge, Jonathan Cheng, Giovanni Galvan, Breck Hart, Hayden Hubbard, Danae James, Hayden Mango, Kameron Murray, Kristian Murray, Brandon Pawson, Maddie Phillips, Jon Quintanar, Tatum Rogers, Brantley Smith, Sydney Spears, Maile Sweeney, Maggie Van Aken, James Van Landingham and Griffin Wilbur.

Also, Christian Actis, Rafael Canseco, Jordan Cantu, Landon Chambers, Nick Coffey, Skylar D'Angelo, Cassidy Deramus, Deanna Dufault, Connor Ellis, Isabelle Griffith, Chloe Guyn, Sawyer Henderson, Chasity Horton, Joey Jones, Alejandria Laureles, Jade Long, Eduardo Lozano, Diego Martinez, Trinity Miree and Trish Mungmee.


Destin Middle School

Fifth Grade

Ainsley Barousse, Tyler Contreras, Nickolas Greer, Rebecca Holguin, Savannah Key, Tristen Mapes, Lindsey Mayo, Brady McCann, Cailyn McGary Jacob Miller, Anna Moran, Abigail Mullins, Dylan Ogle, Nathan Payne, Melina Rush, Sailor Scheinkman, Kasey Seeling, Faith Snavely, India Wartes and Jennifer Zapotocky.

Also, Cassidy Berry, Christian Ford, Wesley Heyse, Dyanni Hidalgo, Theresa LaNasa, Skyla Markham, Jared Marquez, Broc McPherson, Kayla Melton, William Pankratz, Phoenix Price, Madison Pridgen, Claire Robertson, Avery Rooney, Nathan Saczynski, Claudia Semaniuk, Zoe Turner, Lauren Turpin, Cameron Van Meter and Brandon Vanhoy.

Also, Callie Carlyle, Jackson Clark, Allison Colvin, Tanner Garrison, Madison Gilmore, Abigayle Jennings, Samantha Jane Lirag, Christian Mendoza, Miguel Mendoza, Alivia Metropolit, Mckenzie Monsees, Mathew Moran, Skylar O'Bryant, Pierce Parmer, Austin Rawson, Robert Rush, Lillian Wagner and Nicole Wiedemann.

Also, Ethan Conerly, Bryar Duncan, John Carter Dunphy, Jaylen Eason, Alex Fowler, Maguire Holahan, Aubrey Jourdan, Morgan Ketchersid, Ana Laura Merino, Aryn O'Dell, Evan Olsen, Logan Pakiz, Gavin Petty, Lucas Pierce, Heaven Pybass, Sarah Sievers, Lauren Slattery, McDaniel Sumrall, Jade Taylor, Elisabeth Toler, Anna Haisten Williams and Noah Womack.


Destin Middle School

Eighth Grade

Jacob Louis Abraham, Kristen Elizabeth Allen, Summer Bethanie Allen, Jenna Lean Alsop, Alexa Marie Altamura, Skylar Faith Angelovic, Katherine Elizabeth Armstrong, Nathan Ross Armstrong, William Tyler Armstrong, Alexander Carlisl Baker, Andrew Collin Baker, Kenneth Lamar Ball, Jacob Andrew Bari, Skylar Post Barrett, Parker Alexander Benz, Quinlan Daniel Benz, Alyssa Bay Bettinger and Ana Kate Blanchard.

Also, Matthew Alessan Bomparola, Matthew Reagan Boswell, Eric Scott Brubaker, Colt Alan Buckingham, David Lee Burns, Cayenne Elyse Caluger, Chandler Ridge Carlyle, Saylor Dae Carnley, Riley Kennedy Carr, Carson Maxwell Christian, Katherine Rose Curch, Christopher Trinity Cloud, Brandon Peale Collette, Caitlin Sue Collins, Melanie Laura Collins, Jackson Crista Cooper and Matthew Jay Crowther.

Also, Olivia Kira Danner, Kacie Marie Daughtery, Cody Donovan Davis, Mary Hannah Degraw, Maya Marie Dupas, Samantha T Durkin, Shayla Rose Eason, Marie Lou Echoles, Tyler Fredrick Elbert, Logan Ross Elder, Abigail Joelle Ellis, Trey James, Edward Fell, Jennifer Fenger, Laura Fernandez, Kyle Alexander Farris, Kara E Fisher, Tanner Anthony Fleming, Maria Juanita Fogal and Michael Stephan Fogal.

Also, Faith Anne Ford, Lauren Ann Forester, Isla Gabriel Forte, Savannah Lee Gahagan, Amanda Nicole Garrison, Aaron Armand Garza, Ashton Taylor Geary, Bailee Elizabeth Giana, Caymon Riley Godwin, Reilly Laine Griggs, Evan Michael Groth, Shawn Mikel Gulow, Season Nichole Halstead, Gabriel Aaron Hamilton, Lilli Grace Hardiman, Jake Hardy, Hannah Grace Hellerstedt, Madison Nicole Henry and Analisa Maria Hernandez.

Also, John Roy Hess, Ashley Kate Hesselbarth, Lindly Adele Hill, Jacquelin Annette Hoey, John Joseph Hovenden, Megan Elizabeth Hovenden, Makayla Grace Howell, Sawyer Anthony Howell, Gabriel Ryan Hristovsky, Sean Francis Hromadka, Myleena Consuel Hurtado, Victoria N Jordan, Tara Lynn Joubert, Harrison Charles Jourdan and Brandon Jacob Kelley.

Also, Evan Winfiel Kelly, Joseph Timothy Kersanac, Alexus Hope Kilgore, Kimberly Hope Kroll, Hunter James Labbie, Diana Katherine Lafollette, Garrett Wesley Langen-Muir, Adia Jade Langley, Sylvia Maria Laureles, Katherine Blair Lay, Ana Paula Lemire, Nicole Marie Leurinda, Abigail E Liebetreu, Sabrina Michell Locht, Crystal Emily Lord, Alena Hunter Lovell, Carter Royce Lurk and Samantha Renae Macomber.

Also, Marcus Damen Makela, Gabriel Christo Mapes, Matthew George Markham, Jannelle Christine Marquez, Micah Ismael Marquez, Helene Nicole Masone, Peter Vincent Masone, Logan Gage Massingill, Cameron Kieran May, George Ernesto McCann, Nicholas Kendall McClure, Elle Kimble Mchargue, Jason Blake McRae, Isabelle Lee Meadows and Trevor Cole Morea.

Also, Reagan Deborah Murphy, Josie Belen Myler, Emmanuel Lemi Nadela, Bonnie Nazirova, Sabina Ann Nielsen, Steven Scott Nordlie, Piper Leigh Norris, Zachary Edward O’Brian, Alexa Marie Olsen, Emily Stewart Oswalt, Lillian Kae Paradise, Jacob Alan Payne, Tony Christopher Payne, Zachary Chase Peek, Richard Jimmy Perez and Taylor Marie Petty.

Also, Caden Sims Phillips, Lauren Casey Phillips, Kaylee Marie Pho, Mieko Pace Pretlow, Ivan Ramos, Sky Lauren Rivera, Lauren Ashley Robinson, Logan Kendall Rodgers, Sidney Eve Rodgers, Casey Skylar Russell, Mayseka Stephanie Sand, Jada Nicole Sanders, Jacqueline Felicia Schamroth, Grayton Emily Scheinkman, Brandon Justin Scott, Mollie Frances Seeling and Ashley Morgan Sexton,

Also, Grayson Walding Shackelford, Deonte’ Ray Sheffield, Navie Gayle Shelton, Joseph Eligah Shirah, Jason Tyler Shirley, Dairen Alexander Shoults, Matthew Skylar Shoumaker, Quinton Raashau Sistrunk, Bethany Rose Slack, Alaina Brooke Smith, Brenden Lane Smith, Austin West Spann, Logan Scout Spence, Stephen Wesley Spivey, Caroline Spurlock and Elizabeth Sharon Stepp.

Also, Cameron Albon Storey, Corey William Summers, Lindsay Elise Tanner, Christian Jacob Thomas, Anysha Mashayl Thompson, Blakely Anne Tokheim, Arthur Richard Troell, Abby Marie Tucker, Haylee Anne Tucker, Ranveer Singh Uppal, Adam David Van Belkum, Alex Vizcarra, Ashley Jeanine Wagner and John Cole Robert Warner.

Also, Skye Warton, Avery Anne White, Michael Andrew Whittle, Carson Wicke, Justin Kyle Winter, Brock Glenn Woerl, Matthew Durham Woods, Kiera Noel Wrobel, Jenna Michelle Young, Holden Michael Zielinski and Montana Lynn Rogers.