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Crowd gathers for NHS ceremony

If you didn’t arrive at Natchez High School for the 2010 graduation early, you didn’t get a seat.

More than 1,000 people packed Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium Friday night to watch their favorite senior of the 181-member graduating class receive his or her diploma.

Salutatorian Jazmyn Stewart challenged graduates to use what they learned at NHS to become better citizens and to never give up.

“I want you to think of yourselves as a bird learning to fly,” Stewart said. “You may fall once. You may fall twice. But you will learn to fly.”

Chris Bolden, 18, said he could still feel the excitement from his senior dance and could recall the memories of the senior trip like it was yesterday. But he said receiving his cap and gown topped all of those memories.

“I believe Natchez High has given me a full background in academics,” Bolden said before graduation. “It has been a great learning experience, and the school helped me receive a $20,000 scholarship to (the University of Southern Mississippi).”

Fellow graduate Chandise Martin said graduation is something that not all get to experience because they do not stick with it.

“Every graduate should be happy for making it this far,” said Martin, 18. “It is really something to graduate in the class of 2010.”

Valedictorian Esteban Roman said he knows the four years of high school have been tough, but that the struggle was worth it.

“It has developed us and taught us to set goals and achieve in our next step in life,” he said. “Whether that step is a new job, junior college, a four-year university or the military — we know we have started that today.

“I challenge each and every one of you to be the best you can be.”

Before the graduation, Rendy Clark, 18, said she was looking forward to walking across the stage and receiving her diploma.

“I worked so hard for it,” Clark said. “It will be an exciting and sad moment.

“It will be exciting because I am moving on to the next stage of my life, but sad because I am leaving so many friends behind.”

Ro’chelle Williams, 17, was excited beforehand about delivering the welcome and directing the band during the ceremonies.

“The sea of blue and gold you see represents the hard work we have gone through over the past four years,” Willams said in the welcome. “It represents the hard work and dedication of not only the students, but also the parents and teachers.”

When Williams arrives at Tougaloo College in the fall, he said he’d be ready.

“Natchez High has absolutely prepared me for college,” he said. “It has been a wonderful experience.