Ben Hillyer & Rod Guajardo  / The Natchez Democrat — 2013 Cathedral graduates link pinky fingers and pray in a circle before Friday night before processing into St. Mary Basilica for their commencement ceremony. At left, ACCS students throw their caps into the air to celebrate their graduation.
Ben Hillyer & Rod Guajardo / The Natchez Democrat — 2013 Cathedral graduates link pinky fingers and pray in a circle before Friday night before processing into St. Mary Basilica for their commencement ceremony. At left, ACCS students throw their caps into the air to celebrate their graduation.

Facing their futures: Cathedral, ACCS celebrate graduations

Published 12:11am Saturday, May 25, 2013

 

Cathedral High School

By LINDSEY SHELTON

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ As they tossed their green caps into the blue sky Friday night, Cathedral School’s class of 2013 graduates got a glimpse into the great unknown.

Valedictorian Pepper Taylor told her fellow graduates that the time has come for them to step out of their comfort zone.

“We have reached a turning point in our lives, not fully knowing what lies ahead of us,” Taylor said.

She encouraged the class to discover themselves, meet new people, remember where they come from and not fear the future.

Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Cathedral graduate Ashley Sandel cries on her dad Adrian Sandel’s shoulder before handing him a red rose .
Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Cathedral graduate Ashley Sandel cries on her dad Adrian Sandel’s shoulder before handing him a red rose .

“You must know that God has a plan for

each and every one of you,” she said. “We can fully embrace His plan by steering away from our comfort zone and discovering new people and places.”

Salutatorian Zoe Flattman told her class that life is all about progress, and they face a long road ahead of them.

“But I urge all of you to never give up and to follow all of your dreams,” she said.

Flattman recalled playground and high school memories and encouraged her classmates to hold on to their Cathedral memories.

“Never forget who you were born to be and never forget all of the lessons learned and all of the memories made here at Cathedral School,” she said.

Sister Deborah Hughes, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, echoed the sentiments of Taylor and Flattman.

Hughes told the graduates that their education at Cathedral has given them the opportunity to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.

“This is the thing that will hold you steadfast through the ups and downs of the years ahead,” she said.

The Most Rev. William Houck told the class that they are going into a world that needs them and their Christian values.

“May your Catholic and Christian faith be the prism through which your life and your faith reflect the beauty of Christ,” he said.

Adams County Christian School

By Josh Bergeron

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ Life is not like high school, said Sixth Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson as he addressed Adams County Christian School seniors at the school’s 43rd commencement.

“When you come out of high school, you think you know, but you don’t really know anything,” Johnson said. “Life is different than high school. People call life a dance, but it’s more like a wrestling match.”

He told soon-to-be graduates that they wouldn’t remember a word he said. But Johnson said graduates would remember how excited they were to graduate from high school.

Rod Guajardo / The Natchez Democrat — ACCS student Braxton Elveston holds back tears Friday night during the school’s commencement ceremony.
Rod Guajardo / The Natchez Democrat — ACCS student Braxton Elveston holds back tears Friday night during the school’s commencement ceremony.

Johnson said education is important but the classroom was just a starting place. He told graduates to set a goal, a respectable goal.

After wrapping up the formal portion of his speech, he turned to address the graduates directly.

“Your stock has probably never been higher with your parents than right now,” he said. “Now would be an excellent time to ask them for a large gift or a lot of money.”

The crowd laughed in approval.

Johnson walked off the stage to thunderous applause.

After Salutatorian Mac Lindsey and Valedictorian Holly Richardson thanked the ACCS family for their help and challenged fellow classmates to do something great, smiles grew even bigger as ACCS headmaster David King presented diplomas.

King initially asked the crowd to hold their applause until all 29 graduates received diplomas, but proud family and friends couldn’t hold their excitement for long.

“Hallelujah, praise Jesus,” yelled one proud family member as Brandon Walker received his diploma.

The rest of the crowd followed suit, clapping and cheering as each graduate was announced.

In his first year as headmaster, King described the graduates as a fun loving, close knit group.

“As my first class, they will always hold a special place in my heart,” he said.