Patriots graduate 89%

Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, May 31, 2017

brightly as 88 students took their final steps to receive their graduation diploma.

All eyes were on each individual student, who was allowed to have their moment in the spotlight.  They entered the gym one at a time and when that student was at their designated spot, then the next student proceeded accordingly.

Patriot pride continued as the WCHS Tri-M students sung the National Anthem  and the high school chorus performed two beautiful selections directed towards their peers.

Salutatorian Dani Warren took to the podium to deliver her farewell speech.

“Parents, family, friends, administrators, faculty, and other special guests, I am honored to welcome you all here today to celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2017.

If you were to ask any of us about our journey through high school, I believe we would all say that the long road to this day has not been an easy task. We worked hard to accomplish all of our goals and faced every trial with dignity and determination to sit here before you.

Although this day will go down in history as an accomplishment for the 2017 graduates, I would also like for everyone in the audience to take this day and count it as your own personal lifetime achievement. I believe that I speak on behalf of all of my fellow graduates when I say that this journey would not have been possible without the love, support, and encouragement that you all have consistently offered to us throughout our lifetime.”

Warren continued her address to WCHS staff,  parents, and onlookers saying:

“To the teachers and administrators, thank you for educating and preparing us for the bright future that each and every one of the students graduating here today will have.

To the parents in the audience and those who are unable to be here with us today, I would like to say on behalf of my classmates, thank you for constantly pushing us to be better people and loving us unconditionally.”

She closed congratulating the Class of 2017  on their accomplishment saying, “I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us.”

Valedictorian Autumn Tripp greeted the audience with “Good morning,” and offered thanks to WCHS Staff.

Tripp informed listeners that she really didn’t like to give speeches.

“It is such an amazing honor to stand here where so many others have given inspirational messages, but I am not a public speaker, and writing this speech has been one of the toughest assignments of my high school career,” confessed Tripp.

“On Sunday night, I laid down to pray and asked God to move through me and to allow me to speak what He wanted me to say to you all today. In that moment, I realized that I wanted to speak directly to my classmates. Therefore, to the Class of 2017 we finally made it! It has been a tough 14 years and not only are we proud to be finished with school, but I also think that our teachers are happy to get rid of us! We will no longer walk the halls as Wilcox County students, but we will join the countless other graduates from this school as Wilcox County Alumni. Some of us have been together since Pre-K, and some of us have only been together a few years, but I am proud to say that this class is more than just a class. I look at each face and see not the color of your skin, your gender, or your background, but I see family.

Tripp’s words continued passionately as she stated, “Being a high school student is hard enough on its own, however, when all the school work is added like Mr. McCall’s history classes, all the essays that we half-heartedly wrote, and the projects that we made the night before they were due, school becomes even more complicated, but knowing friends’ support is available helps make all the difference. When I say, support makes all the difference, I mean receiving help from a classmate is how some of us are receiving this diploma; therefore, it does not matter how we got here. What matters is that we are graduating!

In closing her address, Autumn left her class with meaningful and potent words.

“Today, is a bittersweet moment. Some of us will remain here and build families while others will travel far away from here and create lives. Most of us believe that we are ready to begin our lives, and I am one of these people. However, as graduation came closer that feeling finally “hit” me. I realized that I will not see some of my classmates that I grew up with anymore. We are all headed in different directions, and today we must say goodbye. Hopefully, these goodbyes will not be forever, and we see each other later in life. I think about how my parents discuss the different paths that their former classmates took and how they rarely see some of their high school friends. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for each of us. I fully expect to see some of us become doctors, teachers, coaches, artists, and farmers. I am so happy that I was able to share my school career with you all, and I wish the best for each of you. At this time, I would like to ask all the seniors to please stand and grab the hand of the person next to you. I want you to look at each other one last time as high school classmates. This is your family! We have and will continue to be as the years go on. No matter what paths we take, we will always be the Wilcox County Graduating Class of 2017. We have finally accomplished our most important tasks! I pray that you all cherish this moment together, and I wish you all the best in the future!