The Class of 2014 from Starmount High School received diplomas Friday night during a commencement ceremony in a packed event in Yadkinville.
Where: Peace Haven Baptist Church
When: May 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Number of Graduates: 149
Speakers: Dr. Todd Martin, Yadkin County School Superintendent; R. Cody Hemric, Starmount Principal; seniors Madison McLellan, Whitney Pardue, Kirkland Harris and Ty Ashley
What the speakers said: Yadkin County School Superintendent Dr. Todd Martin welcomed parents, students and guests to the graduation ceremony for Starmount High School’s class of 2014.
“This is a special day in the lives of these young people,” Martin said. “This is the day that marks the close of one chapter in their lives and marks the time when we turn the page to begin a new chapter.”
Martin told the graduates, “you’ve worked hard these last thirteen years to get to this day and I congratulate you and I am so very proud of you.”
He encouraged the graduates to think back to the teachers and educators that made a difference in their lives and to think back on the support of their parents through their school years.
“Always appreciate your parents or those who brought you up,” Martin said. “They have made it possible for you to be here.”
“After you leave here tonight I know you will make your parents and all of Yadkin County proud,” Martin said to the 149 graduating seniors. “I just want you to go out of here and do good and make the world a better place.”
Starmount Principal Cody Hemric welcomed the superintendent, Assistant Superintendent Myra Cox and members of the Yadkin County School Board and thanked them for all that they do for the students of Yadkin County.
Hemric also congratulated the seniors.
“This class has accomplished tremendous things at Starmount High School,” Hemric said. “Just this spring Starmount High School was named a bronze medal school by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best high schools in America and that’s in part to these seniors sitting right here.”
The top five students each spoke during the ceremony. Madison McLellan gave the invocation.
Whitney Pardue gave the senior address. She got a laugh from the audience by beginning her speech saying, “after 18 years of being shy and quiet I guess it’s time to let everyone know that I can speak.”
Pardue said graduation was a time for herself and fellow classmates to face what was ahead of them. Quoting several verses from the Bible, Pardue summed up her thoughts for the Starmount class of 2014.
“As we graduate and go to college, join the military or begin our careers we are merely entering into another season in our lives,” she said. “It can be intimating at times especially when we do not know our exact plans, however, we must continue on courageously and without fear because the season has come for us to establish our individuality and independence.”
Following a performance of the song Compass by the Starmount Show Choir, senior Kirkland Harris addressed the class of 2014.
Harris thanked the educators at Starmount “for caring enough about us to get us to this spot.”
“I don’t have to be up here for you to know that this is a pivotal moment in our lives,” Harris said to his fellow seniors. “You and I both know it but your teachers, parents, grandparents and whoever else is in attendance know it even more and they couldn’t be more proud. But hopefully this is the first of many moments for all of us. Everyone in this room wants nothing but success for us and after making it this far there’s no reason for us not to have it. We’re no longer just some high school kids, we’re the unrivaled and unparalleled Class of 2014.”
Senior Ty Ashley gave the farewell address to his fellow classmates, recalling that they were the inaugural class to attend Starmount Middle School.
“So we’ve survived five years together instead of the usual four you have to put up with,” Ashley joked. Ashley also joked about the many changes in testing policies and school administration the class had experienced during their four years at Starmount High School. He also recalled a number of sports related accomplishments the students and teams had achieved, to much applause from his classmates.
“I wouldn’t trade my experience here for the world,” Ashley said. “Finally I’d like to leave you all with this, just a little something I’ve always been wanting to do.”
To much applause and laughter from the Starmount class of 2014, Ashley quoted Lynyrd Skynyrd, “If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on now because there’s too many places I’ve got to see. But if I stayed here with you things just couldn’t be the same cause I am as free as a bird now…and this bird you cannot change.”
Recognitions: Hemric said that 80 percent of the graduating class would be going on to two or four colleges, 19 percent would be entering the work force and one percent would be joining the armed services.
What graduates did: With arms raised in the air and a final “Go Rams” from Ashley, the graduates cheered, threw beach balls and then their graduation caps into the air.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.