Class of 2022: Passionate speeches as 130 students graduate from Owen High

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
On June 11, 130 seniors graduated Owen High in Warhorse Stadium as the class of 2022.

On the sunny summer morning of June 11, 130 students graduated Owen High as the class of 2022. 

Two student speakers provided personal speeches of their experiences before keynote speaker Jack McMahan, the new principal of Owen Middle, and Owen High principal Meg Turner closed the ceremony.

"We should all be very proud," said valedictorian Emma Bailey Mundy during her graduation speech. "Thank you classmates and teachers for some of the best years of my life. Each of you have positively impacted me in one way or another."

Owen High graduates listen attentively to keynote speaker Jack McMahan.

Daniela Chavez, the second student speaker, delivered a passionate speech on her experience as a Mexican immigrant, leading to her leaving Owen as a first generation high school graduate.

"My mother taught me to never get carried away by what other people might say," Chavez said. "She knew that being here would be difficult and there would be situations I would not want to do but they made sure that they would be with me no matter the distance."

Chavez said her family remains in Mexico. She thanked the Owen community and acknowledged the difficulties the graduating class faced during the pandemic.

Student speaker Daniela Chavez delivered a passionate speech on her experience as a first generation high school student and immigrant from Mexico.

McMahan addressed the graduates as the keynote speaker of the ceremony with a lengthy discussion of the foundational individuals who helped build the Swannanoa Valley community.

"The first class of Owen High School graduated in 1955," McMahan said. "I've told these seniors that they're the best looking high school seniors in Buncombe County as their pictures have been displayed throughout the storefronts in Black Mountain."

Jack McMahan, the new principal of Owen Middle School, delivered a lengthy speech as the 2022 graduation keynote speaker, thanking local teachers and community members.

In her final graduation speech as principal of Owen, Turner expressed her admiration of the graduating class and her thanks to the community for its support over the years. Recognizing many Owen alumni in the audience, Turner said 18 staff members are former Warhorses.

In her last year as principal, Meg Turner said the class of 2022 may just be her favorite.

"I've said it every year for 11, all good things must come to an end," Turner said. "What a wonderful ceremony to celebrate the years of hard work. It has certainly been my honor and a privilege to serve as the principal for Charles D. Owen High School for the past 11 years."

Ezra Maille covers the town of Black Mountain, Montreat and the Swannanoa Valley. Reach him at 828-230-3324 or Please support local journalism with access to more breaking news by subscribing.