BIG MOMENT: Graduates encouraged to savor memories

Published 11:02 pm Thursday, May 17, 2018

As eyes became misty and a few tears were whisked away, Pike Liberal Arts School Headmaster Becky Baggett quoted I Timothy 4:12 in challenging the 2018 PLAS graduates not to let anyone look down on them because they are young, but to set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

And, that is a challenge that Baggett said the PLAS Class of 2018 is ready to meet.

The graduation ceremony for the 32 members of the PLAS Class of 2018 was held at the Claudia Crosby Theater on the campus of Troy University Thursday night.

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“The Pike Liberal Arts School Class of 2018 was a focused group,” Baggett said.

“They set goals and worked hard to accomplish those goals and they now have $1million in scholarships to talk about.”

That’s how the PLAS headmaster described the graduating seniors who entered the Claudia Crosby Theater as high school seniors and walked away as high school graduates who are ready and excited about the opportunities and challenges that await them.

The PLAS Class of 2018 will be off in many different directions.

“They are going to many several different colleges – Troy, Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Southern Union, Enterprise, Samford and Harding – and to work opportunities,” Baggett said. “They have been a joy to work with. I know they will be successful in whatever careers they chose. I wish them all the best.”

Mike Thompson, a 1990 PLAS graduate who is a highly regarded Birmingham attorney, was the guest speaker for the Class of 2018’s “special night.”

In recognition of the Class of 2018’s impending graduation, Thompson encouraged the classmates to “savor the moment.”

“Life is full of challenges,” he said. “From here on, school will be harder; military training will be difficult. Those who play sports will find everything much faster. But work diligently. Build your careers on a strong foundation, on something that you can fall back on when hard times come. Have high expectations but handle any failures that come with class.”

Thompson said life’s path will not always be smooth; there will be stumbling blocks along the way.

“You might stumble and fall,” he said and quoted Oprah Winfrey in saying, ‘a fall is not a failure’ and added, it’s how you rise up when life knocks you down.”

Thompson challenged the graduating seniors to use the successes that they will have in life to help others. Much has been given you; much is expected.”

PLAS 2018 Salutatorian Hailey Sasser congratulated her classmates on the eve of the “next chapter” their lives and thanked their teachers and parents for “molding us into the next generation.”

“Preserve the memories,” she told her classmate. “We have spent 13 years together but now we go forward into the unknown. Some of us may never see each other again. These are our last moments together. Preserve the memories.”

Sasser closed by saying, perhaps, what her classmates were thinking, “I wish for just one more day together.”

Caroline Kirk, class valedictorian, spoke of the lessons learned in kindergarten and said many of those lessons still apply as the PLAS Class of 2018 takes its place in a world of wonder.

She thanked the teachers, parents, friends and classmates who have made the journey from kindergarten to graduation a wonderful adventure.

“It’s up to us now to make a positive impact wherever we are and whatever we are doing,” she said. “We can make a difference. We will always cherish these memories, this moment, right now.”