VHS graduates moving on

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 17, 2008

VIDALIA — The pre-commencement mood was celebratory in the Vidalia High School cafeteria, and students clapped, cheered and stomped even as Principal Rick Brown gave a few last minute instructions.

For graduate Dana McKnight, who plans to get a veterinary technician’s certification, the final formality of high school education came as a relief.

“It feels really good for (high school) to finally be over,” McKnight said.

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With plans to study something in the medical field while attending Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University of Louisiana at Monroe, graduate Meagan White agreed.

“I am excited because I had a long, hard, struggling senior year,” White said.

But for Mike Ray, who plans to study business and eventually open a restaurant in Dallas, graduation was a logical conclusion to the years of education.

“After a long, long, trying time of a senior year, this is our reward,” Ray said. “Now, we have the potential to go anywhere.”

Senior Mallory Guidroz said she would cherish the times she spent with the other graduates.

“It has been an honor and a privilege for me to be accompanied by my classmates at Vidalia High School,” Guidroz said.

The times they shared have changed the seniors, Salutatorian Tiffany Thomas said.

“Today we stand as very different people than when we entered high school,” Thomas said. “We have all accomplished very much, including earning scholarships and even just graduating.”

Whatever the graduates do after Friday night, there is one thing that ties all of them together, Valedictorian Anna Beth Baker said.

“Whether you choose a career or just to have a family, God has a plan for your life,” Baker said.

However, how that plan plays out depends on what the graduates decide to do from there, Baker said.

Thomas agreed.

“Our actions have a great effect on our future,” Thomas said.

Hopefully, the graduates will go on to do good things and inspire others to do the same, Baker said.

“When we let our lights shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same,” she said.

During the ceremony, Senior Stephanie Roberts presented Brown with a painting she completed and the rest of the senior class signed.

In a time when the seniors often felt stressed out and insane, they wanted to give “the most stressed out and insane person at Vidalia High School” something to remember them by, Roberts said.

Graham Roberts, the son of late school board member Jerry Roberts, who died in an accident in late 2006, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Doug Logan Jr.

Jerry Roberts was a tremendous supporter of both education and sports, and served as a volunteer coach for both baseball and football at Vidalia High School, Graham Roberts said.

A total of 81 graduates marched across the field to receive their diplomas, and of those, 22 were honors graduates and five were special honors graduates.