PATRIOT GRADS: PLAS class of 2014 graduates (PHOTO GALLERY)Published 11:24pm Friday, May 23, 2014
Pike Liberal Arts Coach Mendy Avant wept as she hugged each member of the graduating class Friday evening. As sponsor of the class of 42 and mother of one of them, emotions overwhelmed her.
“My son’s Chandler,” she said. “I’m just kind of having a break-down.”
Hers weren’t the only wet eyes watching students – some who had attended the private school for 13 years – accept their diplomas.
Salutatorian Chandler Cox shared a few memorable moments of his PLAS experience. “From the first day of kindergarten to tonight, we’ve had so much fun together,” he said, recalling a trip to Washington DC and numerous parties.
Cox shared some advice and hoped all of his classmates would find what they were looking for when they left PLAS.
“We will all fail at some point,” he said. “But we can never let that stop us from achieving our goals.”
Valedictorian Sara Saunders continued the nostalgic tone. She mentioned the 350 Club, the senior lounge and how fascinated they once were with the number three.
She also had some advice. “Be kind,” Saunders said. “Show compassion and understanding of others.”
Retired Major League Baseball player and Auburn University two-sport star athlete Gabe Gross gave the graduation address. He reminded the graduates to read God’s word every day.
“I don’t believe you can make quality decisions, quality choices in your life without His word stamped on your heart,” he said.
Gross stressed the importance of attitude and perseverance. “Never shy away from a battle.”
Near the close of the ceremony, Principal Ceil Sikes shared her pride in the graduating class. “Of these 42 students, 31were honored with scholarships totaling over $1 million.”