Ivey challenges PLAS grads to ‘be good citizens’

Published 9:51 pm Thursday, May 19, 2011

PLAS Class of 2011 grads were challenged to be good citizens by state Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey. Above, the grads walk into the stadium prior to the ceremony. (Photo/Holli Keaton)

Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey challenged the Pike Liberal Arts School graduating class Thursday to “stand up and be good citizens.”

“Now that you are graduating, it will soon be time for you as a young adult to stand up and be good citizens,” Ivey said to the students, gathered in front a stadium full of supporting family and friends. “Are you ready?”

Ivey presented students with three ways to make sure the PLAS Class of 2011 was ready to do just that.

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The first was to have love and respect for God and country. “To have love for God and country, we must have respect for military men and women,” Ivey said.

The next step to being a good citizen, Ivey said, is participation.

“That means you listen, you learn, you help, you lead,” she said, encouraging students to be involved in their communities. “We all have certain freedoms. We cannot buy these freedoms or earn these freedoms. But to keep them, we must defend them from the enemies, and the greatest enemy is apathy.”

The third piece of advice Ivey gave these future “good citizens” of PLAS was to excel in their career paths.

“Whatever career you choose, do it well. Commit that you will do whatever you choose as your vocation to the best of your ability,” she said. “Give plenty of thought to defining your dreams, big and small, and pursue them.”

And, as Salutatorian Martin Meeks said, PLAS seniors have the ability to do just that.

“This class has an amazing amount of personality,” Meeks said. “We are capable of being whatever we aspire to be, but it will not come without a lot of diligence and hard work.”

Valedictorian Kelsey Starling left her classmates with eight points to remember, using the school’s favorite word as her guide: PATRIOTS.

Perseverance, Attitude, Trust, Regrets — to not have any, of course —Intelligence, Opportunity, Troy — never to forget their home — and Strength, quoting Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.”

“It’s great to be with Patriots, and besides that, y’all are champions. Y’all win state championships year after year,” Ivey said to the Patriots of 2011. “As you commence on your journey, be good citizens.”