The East Wilkes High School Class of 2014 entered a staging area mid-field on its football field to receive diplomas. The celebration included a presentation by the East Wilkes Band. Also performing in the ceremony were the East Wilkes Madrigals.
Where: East Wilkes High School
When: June 6 at 8 p.m.
Number of graduates: 112
Speakers: Edward Elgar, ShaNisha White, Zach Crabb, Kehlyn Jarvis, Ashley Wagoner, Hannah Jolly, Dr. Marty Hemric, Hardin Kennedy, Stone Bauguess, Katie Huffman, Hannah Welborne, Dr. Jodi Weatherman
What some speakers said: In a reflection address, Keylyn Jarvis reminisced accomplishments and mishaps experienced by seniors at the high school. Jarvis also said, “Graduating college, your wedding day, your first kid born. It will all top this, but you should still hold this day close.”
A second reflection was provided by Ashley Wagoner who said she will look back and sum up her years with one word. “Change. We became aware of the needs around us and gave a helping hand… We made an impact in each others’ lives. We have always been there for each other,” said Wagoner. “We take with us the growth and education we’ve learned over the last four years. It will always be with us.”
Guest speaker Dr. Marty Hemric, superintendent of Wilkes County Schools reflected on his journey as a former graduate of East Wilkes High School. “The 112 graduates have given me such an honor to participate in this ceremony. It’s a blessing looking forward to their success,” said Hemric.
“The $1.1 million in scholarships given to students of this class is a very strong number,” Hemric told spectators of the ceremony. “To watch youth philanthropy, how they reached out to give back at this age, we commend the graduates, wish them success in their careers, and hope many of them return in later years back to the county.”
A guest provided an interactive speech. Hardin Kennedy of the Wilkes County Board of Education distributed a white piece of paper to all graduates. He asked the students to make a paper airplane. Kennedy described phases in life, from birth, primary education, to years in high school. Each fold served as a reflection on a milestone in their educational success. Graduates released each airplane in unison.
Kennedy also added, “Take a moment to reflect on the teacher you couldn’t stand (pause). That’s the one (teacher) you will call when you graduate telling them how wonderful they were. It’s the things you realize after you graduate… Now you’re already a smart class. Stay winners, and soar.”
Valedictorian Stone Bauguess urged students to be mindful of items they have yet to experience, such as injustices. “In the world we live today, injustice runs rampant. It’s not about if we’re going to face it, but when. Our lives will be judged according to how we face it. Face them head on and always, not only when it effect you, but when it effects anyone. Don’t be the one who should have, could have or would’ve. Be the one that did something. Don’t be afraid to try new things and take some chances.”
Dr. Jodi Weatherman, principal at East Wilkes High School thanked faculty for their continued commitment on helping the children over the five years she’s presided at the school. “It has been a true honor to serve as principal,” she told the students. I have watched you grow and mature from middle school to now,” said Weatherman. “In any race, there is a beginning and an end of the race. We are minutes from the end of a race. We now have to train for a new race… You now have to set goals along the way. However, take time to enjoy the run.”
In a notable moment students interrupted the ceremony for a graduation selfie. A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. Selfies are often shared on social networking services.
Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-835-1513 or follow on Twitter @newsgonz