PLAS graduates celebrate end of era

Published 10:38 pm Thursday, May 20, 2010

It was no ordinary commencement for the 2010 graduates of Pike Liberal Arts School.

The weather threatened of a storm, doors slammed, a baby cried, bugs pestered on-lookers, a cell phone rang and some of the stadium lights blacked out, but none of it was enough to utterly distract the ceremony.

Anticipation arose as the 52 graduates marched proudly to their seats on DeWight Ward Field to “Pomp and Circumstance,” by Elgar.

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“I’m going to miss seeing my friends all at once,” said Josie Griffin, a graduate of PLAS. “It’s bitter-sweet.”

“Football games,” said Justin McLaughlin, a graduate of PLAS. “Football games and all of the camaraderie and the family atmosphere,” added Parker Smith, a graduate of PLAS.

During the commencement, the salutatorian addressed the graduates, families and friends with encouraging words.

“We can reach our full potential if we believe in ourselves and look forward, not backward,” said Shelly Cox, PLAS graduate and salutatorian. “Obstacles are those frightful things we see when we take our eyes off our goals.”

The first alumna of PLAS to speak at commencement, Stephanie Baker, “offered some truth” that the “real world” wanted to share with the graduates with her very own “Reality Checklist.”

“Check number 1. This is NOT the time of your life,” said Baker, as she encouraged students to make new memories and use high school as the foundation for anything they will ever do.

“Check number 2. Life is not about You, I’m sorry,” she said.

“How can you contribute? … The world is not yours for the taking, but it is big enough to leave your footprint.”

“Check number 3. Don’t go out in the world searching for who you are, figure it out now,” she said.

“Check number 4. Turn off the GPS system and start thinking for yourself,” she said. People have their personal opinions, but the students have to find their own way.

“Check number 5. Put down the cell phone,” she said.

She mentioned that people have lost their voice in text messaging and Facebook statuses and the importance of conversation.

“Check number 6. You are not in control of your destiny,” she said as she spoke highly of God and encouraged the graduates to build a relationship with them.

As Baker took her seat and the valedictorian, Kelly Cash, rose to the occasion, one of the stadium lights turned back on.

“If we are ever going to succeed, seniors, we must consider this: The only way we every learned to walk, to read, to act or to build a tooth pick bridge was by failing and trying again,” said Cash.