Bainbridge seniors handed diplomas at graduation ceremony

Published 4:21 pm Friday, May 25, 2018

Thursday night Bainbridge High School seniors commemorated the past four years as they took one final walk across the gymnasium and received their diplomas.

The ceremony began with the processional led by Principal Roy Matthews, followed by Superintendent Tim Cochran and the other Board of Education members. Once all of the graduates were seated, Jaquarius Davis held a moment of quiet reflection before giving a heartfelt prayer. Dewey Langston led the Pledge of Allegiance, before turning it over to Ben Mulkey for the welcome.

Mulkey quoted Alex Haley by saying, “Anytime you see a turtle up on top of a fence post, you know he had some help.”

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He compared the turtle to the class of 2018 and thanked everyone who helped them get to where they are today. He concluded that without their love and support they couldn’t have made this monumental accomplishment or made the memories they have these past four years.

Superintendent Cochran and School Board Chairman, Dr. Sydney Cochran then presented two awards: The Mary Davis Pilot Club Award and the Earl Carr Gragg Award. The awards are chosen by the faculty and staff and are given to students who exemplify character, commitment and service.

The Mary Davis Pilot Club Award winner was McKenzie Findley and the Earl Carr Gragg winner was Mark Loeffler. Both students were given a round of applause for this outstanding achievement.

Kamryn Williams gave the student speech, where she challenged the students to look within themselves. She asked, “Who are we?” While most people define success by a certain accomplishment, she reminded them success can be making a difference in someone life by kindness and empathy and that is what they should strive for.

Salutatorian, Natalie Edmunds followed Williams’ with an address to her classmates.

Edmunds began her speech by reminding her fellow graduates of freshman orientation. She said her brother walked her from class to class, because she was fearful of not being in the right place at the right time. But, before she knew it “she was thrown in the water without any floaties.” She found confidence in knowing everyone was going through the same situation.

She compared the beginning of high school to their Cinderella football season in 2015. The team started off weary and unsure of themselves, but over the months they grew and eventually ended with a 13-1 record. She explained that while as freshman they were lost and confused, tonight was their on-stage championship. They were confident and knew the direction they were going.

She challenged everyone to not let their high school label follow wherever they are going. She told them if they don’t like who they are, they have the power to rebuild themselves in the next chapter of their life. She ended with a quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be.”

After a round of applause, Valedictorian, Jacob Brown got up to speak to the crowd.

Brown spoke on how in the sixth grade he was the class valedictorian, and in that moment he decided he wanted to be valedictorian when he was a senior, but of course along the way there were setbacks.

In the seventh grade, he placed third in academic accomplishments, but was not content with his place. He used the experience to light the fire that was in himself the previous year.

Brown then spoke of a difficult time in his life, another major setback. He was on his way to Washington D.C., when his family was involved in a crash in South Carolina. While Brown suffered injuries, his parents passed away. Brown was shocked, but said he would not let this tragedy deter him.

“I remained determined to achieve the goal he had set five years prior, and I met it,” he said. “Here I am the valedictorian of the class of 2018.”

Brown went on to say never let adversity get them down.

“Look adversity straight in the eye and say, ‘I will not let you get me down; I will be successful’.”

Brown was met with a standing ovation, before the students were presented with their diplomas.

After the presentation, the faculty and students sang the Alma Mater before moving their tassels and throwing their caps in the air.