Bainbridge High School graduates more than 350 at Thursday ceremony

Published 5:46 pm Friday, May 26, 2017

After four long years, the Bainbridge High School class of 2017 took their first steps out of the gymnasium as BHS alumni on Thursday. 352 Bearcats walked across the gymnasium as students to receive their diplomas, and walked away graduates.

After the procession into the gym, all the students participated in a moment of silence followed by the speeches from the valedictorian Teairra Jenkins and the salutatorian Emily Calhoun. The class also heard a speech from Emilee Poppell, the Mary Davis Pilot Club Award winner.

Poppell started a series of speeches for the class of 2017, taking them on a lingo-driven trip down memory lane. Recapping their four years in a way that brought laughter from the students and confused smiles from the adults.

Email newsletter signup

“Finally it was our turn, as a class we came together despite our differences to make this year the best one yet,” Poppell said in her speech. “From our first senior parade, to our last days we walked the halls of BHS, we have ‘high-key’ become one of the best graduating classes there has ever been.”

Calhoun spoke next and spoke about how life will be full of challenges that will not be easy to overcome.

“I want each and every person in this room to know that no matter how down you get, no matter what kind of ball life throws your way, it is possible to survive through those hardships and still achieve whatever goals you set out to accomplish,” said Calhoun.

Calhoun told her story. She has overcome a rare disorder that causes severe pain in her head.

She told her classmates she did not wish for pity, but she only wished to show the class how it is possible to overcome true hardships.

“I wanted to give up, completely,” said Calhoun. “But instead of doing it, I decided last summer I would not let this disease beat me and I came back to school for my senior year.”

Class valedictorian Teairra Jenkins rounded out the speeches for the class of 2017.

Jenkins poured over her options for the topics of the speech. She paid her thanks for support and the inspiration for her success, yet she landed on the topic of advice for her speech.

She began by reading a quote from Vidal Sassoon that says “the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

She proceeded to explain that while that quote is bad news, the inverse is true.

“Work is the key to success,” said Jenkins. “If you could not work, you would not have made it this far.”

Jenkins’ next word of advice to the class of 2017 was for each classmate to create their own path.

“Whether you set out to be a doctor, general, or mother,” said Jenkins. “Just be the best doctor, general or mother there has ever been and you can be and I guarantee you it will be worthwhile.”

Jenkins’ last word of advice was to take advantage of opportunities while young.

“We’re so focused on deadlines these days, just stop it,” said Jenkins. “Don’t wait until the first day of college, or the first day of basic training, or your 18th birthday to seize the opportunities and begin your journey.”

The speech stirred a round of applause as she ended it by saying “let’s begin our journey tonight.”

After the applause passed, Jenkins thought of one last bit of advice to add for the graduating class of 2017.

“When you wake up tomorrow or any day, just remember what one very, very wise man once told me,” said Jenkins. “Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours.”