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185 graduate at Natchez High School commencement ceremony

Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Natchez High School senior Damian Washington, second from left, takes a photo with fellow graduates, left to right, Daysha Brown, Whitney Jackson and Jasmine Davis, before the school’s commencement ceremony Friday evening.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Natchez High School senior Damian Washington, second from left, takes a photo with fellow graduates, left to right, Daysha Brown, Whitney Jackson and Jasmine Davis, before the school’s commencement ceremony Friday evening.

By April Garon

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — On the last balmy evening of May, a crowd of family and friends filled the stadium at Natchez High School to witness a ceremony students have looked forward too all their lives.

JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Natchez High School graduate Diamond Nicholson, left, smiles after Natchez High golf coach Jerry Baldwin, right, called out her name as she waited in line before the school's commencement ceremony at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium on Friday evening.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT
Natchez High School graduate Diamond Nicholson, left, smiles after Natchez High golf coach Jerry Baldwin, right, called out her name as she waited in line before the school’s commencement ceremony at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium on Friday evening.

Daysha Brown shared this sentiment with her class as she gave her welcome address.

“We have finally embarked on a weekend we have all awaited,” Brown said.

The 185 students that made up the class of 2013 have indeed completed a journey and accomplished a significant life goal.

“My class has come across many challenges during this educational journey,” salutatorian and student council president Michael Cleveland said. “For many of us, tonight seems like a dream.”

Valedictorian Jasmine Davis shared that it seemed like only yesterday that she and her classmates were dropped off at pre-school by their parents.

“Our backpacks were bigger than us,” Davis said.

Once young children, the Natchez graduates now have a depth of knowledge from their years of study and hard work.

“The minds of this class have been sculpted into works of art,” Cleveland said.

Though the students reminisced about the past, their main focus is on their new and exciting future. Both Davis and Cleveland included this message in their speeches to their class.

JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Natchez High School graduates, left to right, Dillon West, Aaron Wesley and Kristopher Weatherspoon are silhouetted against the setting sun before the school's commencement ceremony at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium on Friday evening.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT
Natchez High School graduates, left to right, Dillon West, Aaron Wesley and Kristopher Weatherspoon are silhouetted against the setting sun before the school’s commencement ceremony at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium on Friday evening.

“Some may view this as an end of a journey, but instead it is truly the beginning of our lives as young adults,” Davis said.

Cleveland encouraged graduates to look positively on their future.

“We will rise from the ashes and take hold of our future as though it is a mighty ship,” he said. “No matter what happens, God specializes in things that seem impossible. Tonight, you see before you not just students or young adults, you see the future leaders of America taking their first steps into a new and wonderful life.”