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Dooly County High graduates 68

By BECKY CRISSMAN

becky.crissman@cordeledispatch.com

CORDELE — Though rainy weather forced Dooly’s Friday night graduation indoors it did not dampen the spirit of the occasion.

Becky Crissman/Cordele Dispatch  Dooly County High School Valedictorian Christopher Small gives his address during Friday nights commencement exercises.

Becky Crissman/Cordele Dispatch
Dooly County High School Valedictorian Christopher Small gives his address during Friday nights commencement exercises.

The gymnasium of Dooly County High School was packed with hundreds of family and friends who turned up to cheer on the 68 members of the graduating class as they said good-bye to their alma mater. Graduates entered the gymnasium to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” which was followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Mrs. Amelia Hayward. Tahj Morrell led the assembly in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance after which Tamaya Merrell offered a meditation.

Lewis Evans presented a welcome to the assembly. DCHS Guidance Counselor Beth Campbell introduced graduating seniors who received a variety of scholarships to assist as they move on to the colleges of their choice.

Class Salutatorian Josh Thomas began his address by expressing his appreciation on behalf of the graduating class to God, their parents and others who have supported them throughout their journey.

“Thank you for your assistance throughout our lives. You have taught us more than any formal education could,” he said. “Thank you for the life lessons you have taught and for teaching us how to think for ourselves. We will always and forever be grateful.”

Speaking to fellow graduates, Thomas said their choices in the future will take them all down different paths, that may lead to success or hardship.

“The outcome is never known until the decision is execute,” he said. “After the tribulation cometh the blessing.”

In closing, Thomas left his fellow graduates with a scripture, Joshua 1:9 which reads

Becky Crissman/Cordele Dispatch DCHS Salutatorian Josh Thomas speaks at graduation.

Becky Crissman/Cordele Dispatch
DCHS Salutatorian Josh Thomas speaks at graduation.

“Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a courage be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed. For the Lord thy God is with thee, whether so ever thy goest.”

In his valedictory address, Christopher Small lead with a quote from author Maya Angelou “I am the dream, and the hope of the slave. We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

The epitome of his speech circled around that quote. He talked about overcoming life’s many adversities and finding strength in himself to do all things necessary and not all things popular.

“Despite the strifes of life; long nights of homework and the overwhelming pressures of my grandmother’s health – like dust I rise,” he said. “If it was not for the care of my parents, the support of my family, and the diligence of educators, I would not stand here today honored to speak.”

Small credited his academic success to his faith in God, his ability to overcome adversity and make rational decisions.

“Had I not believed in dreaming the improbable, I would not stand here today; honored and humbled to be the first male valedictorian in my family with more than $100,000 in scholarship money.”

In closing, Small advised his fellow graduates that life “is a battle and we are all fighting in efforts to succeed and defeat that which wishes to hinder us. And remember, this is not the end, for the beginning is always today.”

DCHS Principal, Dr. Ed Mashburn approached the podium, presenting the candidates for graduation and Superintendent Celeta Thomas certified those candidates and the pair joined together in presenting diplomas to the graduates.

After the last diploma was awarded LTC. Robert Koester, JROTC instructor for DCHS, led the singing of the school’s alma mater. Graduates then turned their tassels in unison before exiting the gymnasium amidst the cheers of family and friends as they said a final good-bye to Dooly County High.