2018-05-23 / Front Page

SGA graduates turn tassles

Fourteen Southwest Georgia Academy seniors received their diplomas during graduation exercises Thursday, May 18 in the Wayne Proffitt Jr. Gymnasium. Seven honor graduates participated in the exercises.

The graduates marched into the gym to “Pomp and Circumstance.” The invocation and Pledge to the Flag were led by honor graduate Jessica McKinzi Andrews.

Graduation speeches were given by Valedictorian Sydney Alexa Thompson, Salutatorian Miller Wilson Pickle and Third Honor Graduate Justin Scott Grimsley.

The Class of 2018 was recognized by Mrs. Harold Thomas Gordon Jr. followed by the presentation of awards by Headmaster Matthew Trigg Dalrymple, Mrs. John Franklin Godwin, assistant headmaster and counselor, and John Maddox Bridges Jr., Chairman of the Board.

Mrs. Godwin recognized the Junior Marshals and faculty, followed by graduation comments by Headmaster Dalrymple.

The Roll Call of Seniors was performed by Mrs. Gordon and diplomas were presented by Headmaster Dalrymple, Assistant Headmaster Godwin and Chairman Bridges.

The Farewell was given by honor graduate Ellie Karsyn Massey.

Honor graduate Andrew Thomas Collins introduced the singing of the Alma Mater by the Class of 2018 and gave the benediction.

The graduation concluded with jubilant graduates marching out to “War March of the Priests.”

Members of the Graduating Class include: Jessica McKinzi Andrews, Morgan Marie Cannon, Andrew Thomas Collins, Landon Thomas Durden, Hannah Catherine Goings, Cameron Quashun Granger, Joshua Eric Grimsley, Justin Scott Grimsley, Harrison Lee Hall, Ellie Karsyn Massey, Miller Wilson Pickle, Benjamin Bryant Tedder, Sydney Alexa Thompson, and Kevin John Warren.

The graduation speeches — laced with inspiration — recalled the Class of 2018’s school days and appreciation for everyone who helped them get to one of the most special days in their lives.

Valedictory address

“Those of us that have belonged to SGA since before we could tie our own shoes will walk away with memories that we will never forget,” Sydney told the graduation audience.

Eluding to a senior year that started off a little rocky, she noted the class was able to strengthen their bond and sense of pride.

“I think we best described that feeling with our senior homecoming sign” — “Bigger Hearts, Stronger Bonds, Harder Hits, Older Traditions, and Fewer Weaknesses.”

She opened her speech quoting from Christina Rossetti’s critically acclaimed poem “Up-Hill.”

“Does the road wind uphill all the way?

Yes, to the very end.

Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?

From morn to night, my friend.”

“We are here today because we are finally ready for the up-hill climb before us,” she stated. “...the journey in which we are about to embark will be long and difficult... wherever we end up in the world, we will find a new resting place.”

“However, we will always have a place to come back to and our SGA family will always be our home.”

Salutatory address

Some of my best friends sit over here... I wouldn’t trade any of them for anybody else out there,” Pickle stated. “I loved this ride with them and my only regret is not coming to SGA sooner than I did.”

“Though I’ve only gone here for two years I feel like I’ve been here my entire life. This whole school is like a big happy family.”

“I knew SGA was the place for me after that first day. There was no doubt in my mind.”

“...I know that we will all he great in our own special ways. ... I urge every person sitting here next to me to go after your dreams.”

“The greatest thing you will ever do for yourself and your family of the future is to commit to the journey.”

“Thank you to my parents and all of those who taught me that accepting failure is not acceptable and that success is achieved through hard work and perseverance.”

Third Honor


“After studying the works of Walt Whitman in Miss Becky’s 11th grade English class, Miss Becky showed us the movie Dead Poets Society,” Justin told his classmates.

In the movie Mr. Keating that makes a point to teach his students to pursue their dreams, seize the day, and make life extraordinary.

Mr. Keating encourages his students to “pursue their dreams regardless of what anyone else thinks.”

“This is our only opportunity to define what we do for the rest of our lives,” he stated. As Mr. Keating says, “There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.”

We also learned “carpe diem”, or “seize the day”. Mr. Keating advises his students to not take any moment for granted and live every day to the fullest.

This next step may be scary, but I believe if we seize each day and make life extraordinary, we will all succeed in whatever we pursue.

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