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Graduation night

Charles Henderson High School graduates Rebecca Jordan, left, and Jessica Benoskie take a picture before the 2011 CHHS Commencement in Troy, Ala., Thursday, May 26, 2011. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

CHHS grads excited about future

Excitement shone on the faces of the students of Charles Henderson High School’s senior graduating class of 2011 at Sartain Hall in Troy University’s Trojan Arena on Thursday night.

For many seniors, the ceremony signified a journey’s end, where 12 years of hard work and late night studying finally paid off.

For two senior graduates, Thursday evening’s graduation ceremony represented a milestone in their family’s academic achievement.

Teirny and Tiffany Neal, twin sisters of Troy, will be the first in their family to graduate high school.

“I am very excited and glad I was able to make it,” Teirny Neal said, with a smile on her face.

Teirny’s sister shared in her sister’s joy.

“I am just happy and glad I came to see this day,” Tiffany Neal said. “My sister and I are the first ones to graduate and we’re both proud.”

Teirny and Tiffany both plan on attending Troy University in the fall and will pursue degrees in nursing and social work.

Calvin Oden, of Anniston and father of Teirny and Tiffany, said he was filled with pride.

“Seeing them graduate makes me feel great,” Oden said. “I’m very happy and very proud.”

There was no guest speaker to impart any special insights on the graduating class, however, CHHS principal Kathy Murphy and the CHHS valedictorian and salutatorian Emily Melton and Courtney Wood shared words of wisdom to encourage graduates to do everything in their power to achieve their goals.

Murphy described the evening as being the “most memorable of life events.”

“Today is a beginning to a new world of opportunities,” Murphy said.

Jimmy Mathews, interim superintendent for Troy City Schools, encouraged the senior class never to settle for second place when they could be first.

Melton encouraged her peers to “live life with intent.”

“Decide where you want to be when you grow up and start making decisions that will get you there,” Melton said.

Another adventure begins for the CHHS graduating class and Wood, during her speech, said she has seen many changes take place over the past four years.

“Never lose sight of your dreams,” Wood said. “And have no regrets.”

After the pomp and circumstance is over, the seniors in the graduating class of Charles Henderson High School have a summer of well-deserved relaxation to look forward to before they begin yet another journey filled with many challenges that will help them to change and to grow.