Vidalia, Monterey grads say farewell

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 16, 2009

VIDALIA — After four years of hard work, good memories, occasional academic strain and finally reward, Vidalia High School’s 74 graduates entered a new phase of their lives Friday with the turning of a tassel and a short walk across a stage.

Salutatorian Emily Cavin reminded the graduates that there were many people who helped them get to where they were.

“As we continue through our journey of life, we need to remember those who helped mold our lives — our teachers,” Cavin said.

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The teachers at VHS encouraged students not only academically, but also morally, Cavin said.

Likewise, graduates need to remember their friends, she said.

“They were the people who were there through the hard times,” Cavin said. “They were also the ones who spent countless hours helping us study or write our English papers.”

Last, but not least, students’ parents played a key role in their education, Cavin said.

“Without (our parents), we would not have been able to receive this education that will surely be the foundation for the rest of our lives,” she said.

Valedictorian Trista Demby tried to give the graduates a little perspective.

“Although it seems as if it has been a century, it has only been 108 months,” she said.

But she didn’t stop there — Demby went on to break down the graduates’ time in high school into weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds.

“Who would have thought that this day would have come so soon?” Demby said.

Encouraging her classmates to realize their goals, Demby told them to set their minds that they can achieve those goals and try until they accomplish them.

“Whatever you do can make a positive impact on the world,” Demby said. “No matter what you choose for the future, I dare you to be bold enough to fulfill your dreams.”

She also expressed love for her classmates.

“It is our time now to make new memories with new people, but we must never forget the old,” she said.

The graduates said they were glad to graduate, but the gravity of the moment had not escaped them.

“I feel different, to be honest,” graduate Brent Evans, who wants to attend fire fighting school, said. “All that time we had to go to school, and now we don’t.”

Evans’ fellow graduate, Chris Johnson — who plans to attend Northwest Community College before transferring to Ole Miss to study criminal psychology — echoed similar thoughts.

“I’ve been in high school for a pretty long time,” Johnson said. “It feels great to graduate.”

Graduate Kasi Steele, whose plans include attending Louisiana Tech University to study either biology or psychology, said the best part of graduation is what is to follow.

“I’m excited about going to college,” she said. “The best part of it is getting to step out on my own.”

Monterey High School

MONTEREY — Most of the members of the 2009 graduating class of Monterey High School don’t think of themselves as a class; it’s more of a family.

And on Friday evening that family graduated together — all 17 of them.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Austin Lispey, class valedictorian. “It’s like a family.”

And over the years that family has gotten close.

“We all know each other, we’ve just spent so much time together,” he said. “It’s hard to believe it’s over now.”

Standing in the front of the gym, the classmates hugged and joked until the music signalling their entrance started.

And for most of the class of 2009, their family has been growing together for more than just the four years of high school.

Salutatorian Charlie Harris said she and many of her classmates have known each other and gone to school together since kindergarten.

“This is it. I’m going to miss a few of them,” Harris said jokingly.

The music started and the soon-to-be graduates headed to the stage.

In Lipsey’s speech as valedictorian he recalled being a lowly freshman, then a junior wishing he was a senior, then a senior wishing he was out of school.

And just about an hour later, Lipsey and his fellow family members were out of school.