A new chapter

Published 11:00 pm Friday, May 24, 2013

Pike County High School graduates Gavin Shackleford, left, and Charlie Davis celebrated Friday night and give notice to world, “Here we come!”

Pike County High School graduates Gavin Shackleford, left, and Charlie Davis celebrated Friday night and give notice to world, “Here we come!”

‘Now the world is ours’

Beneath a rising full moon, 65 members of the Pike County High School Class of 2013 received their diplomas and tossed their mortarboards high into the air, signaling, “Here we come, world.”

Principal Willie Wright said the graduation ceremony was a time of great achievement for the Class of 2013.

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“Tonight, we are here to honor these graduates,” he said.

Tyra Griffin told her classmates and the audience that, after six years at Pike County High School, she had written many essays but none as difficult as the speech she had to write as class salutatorian.

“I wanted it to be a perfect speech because this is the happiest, the saddest and the greatest time of my life,” she said. “As classmates, we have shared wonderful friendships. We have laughed together, cried together, argued when it didn’t really matter and eaten baked chicken day after day in the lunchroom. We’ve shared wonderful times.

“Now, it’s time to go our separate ways out into the real world. Hopefully, we will make wise decisions and follow our hearts. Let’s stay true to our goals. Our lives have started. Now the world is ours.”

Valedictorian Lance Johnson joined Griffin in thanking the parents who have journeyed with them and the teachers, coaches and administrators who have inspired them.

“Tonight is a time for celebration,” he said. “Our future begins now.”

For the Pike County High School Class of 2013, there has been a collective goal – to receive their diplomas and take their places in the big world.

“From now on, our goals will be individualized,” Johnson said. “We all have different ideas of success. We all will have specific goals that are stepping-stones to success. To achieve those goals, we must be committed to hard work. We must not give up and, although we are working toward a larger goal, it’s the little goals that will give us the edge.”

Johnson challenged his classmates to work hard and stick to it.

The class valedictorian had a check list for success in any endeavor and one that each of his classmates could use as a guide to their individual successes.

“First, surround yourself with quality people,” Johnson said. “They bring out the best in you. We all start the day with the same amount of time. Learn to manage it wisely. Be self-disciplined. Consistency is the key.”

Again, Johnson reminded his classmates that failure should not be an option.

“Never give up. Michael Jordan missed more than 300 important shots but he is one of the greatest basketball players ever,” Johnson said. “Coach ‘Bear’ Bryant said to set goals and not quit until you reach those goals.”

Johnson said that, as graduates, the Class of 2013 will leave the hallowed halls of PCHS with different goals. Some will go to college, some to the workplace, some to the military and some to raise a family.

“We part now to pursue our individual dreams,” he said. “The best of luck and God bless us all.”