2016-05-25 / Front Page

34 graduate at SGA

Thirty-four seniors, including 17 honor graduates received their diplomas Thursday night in the Wayne Proffitt Jr. Gymnasium.

All 17 honor graduates participated in the commencement ceremonies, including valedictorian Lily Kathryn Houston, salutatorian Rawls Bradley Grimsley and third honor graduate Katie Lyn Carver who reflected on their memories and challenged their classmates as they look to the future.

The following are excerpts from their graduation addresses.

Valedictory speech

“Tonight is not about reflecting on our past, it’s about looking forward to our future,” valedictorian Lily Kathryn Houston told her classmates.

Noting Grey’s Anatomy is one of her favorite television shows, she referenced a girl in a car crash, a valedictorian whose graduation speech might never be read. She recited it to her doctor, saying, “Today’s the day my life begins...”

“Our lives could be so magical if we had the courage to do things no one else had done,” Lily stated. “We have to do things that will be remembered...”

“Luckily, the girl on Grey’s Anatomy was given a chance to live and do amazing things. This is your chance to live, so do amazing things. Be outrageous, ridiculous, surprising. Be deafening. Be heartfelt, and demanding, and incredible. Be your own story.” “I promise it’s going to be worth it.”

Salutatory speech

“So what’s your dream?” salutatorian Rawls Grimsley asked his classmates.

“I’ll never forget the first time I ever watched Captain America. I looked at my mom and said, ‘Mama, when I grow up, I want to be Captain America.’ She looked right back at me and said, ‘Rawls, grow up. You graduate in two weeks.’”

“Whatever (your dream) is, don’t settle for not reaching that goal. So many people reach a certain point in their life where they settle. We know there is much better out there for us, but we’re too afraid to do anything about it. We settle.”

Rawls reflected on losing classmate Nathan Toal in the eighth grade. “Nathan’s death taught me life is a gift. Every breath we breathe is a blessing. It can be taken away in the blink of an eye.”

“If you have goals and dreams, don’t wait to go out and achieve them. None of us know the amount of time we have to do just that.”

“My biggest prayer is that God will continue to lead, guide, and protect all of us as we begin this new chapter in our lives.”

Third honor graduate

Honor graduate Katie Lyn Carver referenced Kahlil Gibran’s poem titled, “On Children” to discuss choosing the best path and encouraging parents to let us do so.”

Gibran says,”Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.”

“I am excited to see what the future holds for this amazing group of graduates. I ask each and every one of you not to change and as the great philosopher, Henry David Thoreau once said, ‘Go confidently in the directions of your dreams, live the life you have imagined.’”

Return to top