LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Red and black meshed in a flurry of celebration as South Laurel High School graduates commemorated their achievements of high school on Saturday morning.
With the gymnasium packed with friends and family, the graduates listened to their final tributes of high school by valedictorians and salutatorians who reminisced on their 12 years of school.
Salutatorian Taha Mandviwala reflected on the journey of the graduates through high school, reminding his classmates that they must accept the responsibilities of adulthood and “put aside” the ways of high school.
“How many times have we dreamed of this moment? How many times have we gone into a daydream rather than listening to the lecture?” he asked. “On this day, the daydreams become a bittersweet reality.”
Mandviwala touched on the many after school activities, relating how “in the time after the halls have cleared, how we struggled together,” and encouraged his classmates to have courage, endurance and seek justice as they went their separate ways after Saturday’s ceremony.
Hannah James, co-valedictorian, talked about childhood dreams, with two of her favorites being dreaming about dinosaurs and playing dress-up, stating that many of the fondest memories are those of childhood. But graduation brings the entrance into adulthood and she reminded graduates, “Fun and games are nice, but we all have to grow up someday.
“We now have to view the world through the eyes of an adult,” James said. “We have one moment in childhood when the door opens and we enter adulthood. That day is today.”
Liza Bustle, co-valedictorian, said she had no speech but rather a story. That story revolved around a little girl who dreamed of princesses and the happily-ever-after endings, but soon learned that life didn’t always happen according to fairy tales.
“She realized that happily ever after came only once in a blue moon,” James said. “She realized that the world needs less Sleeping Beauties and more people to make the happy endings. She accepted that ordinary people can do anything and to never let go of a dream. This is the end of one chapter of our lives and we must never give up.”
The 2012 South Laurel High School graduating class was one of the most memorable classes in the school’s history, said Principal David Cummins, with approximately $3.44 million in scholarships presented to graduating seniors. This year’s class also had 34 graduates from 224 high schools across the state who exceeded their ACT composite scores, and three of 51 students to receive the Singletary Scholarship.
“This is one of the most outstanding classes in the history of South Laurel High School,” Cummins said. “We’re proud of you.”
While some graduates fought back tears and others cried openly, Mark Sizemore directed the band in “Suite from Bohemia: Movement I” by Vaclav Nelhybel, and Mark Felts directed the Chorus in “All My Life.” The tears were also present as the graduates made their final march through the gym, past their friends and family, and into the world that awaits them.