Trinity graduates learned through adversity in 2010

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2010

NATCHEZ — It has admittedly been a tough year for the Trinity Episcopal Day School class of 2010, but they made it through the tribulations by staying together.

Salutatorian Emory Smith, 17, couldn’t make it through her speech without a few tears. She couldn’t even make it through the first sentence without crying, but after this year, the Rev. Brandt A. Dick said if you weren’t crying, you weren’t paying attention.

“You can’t expect to live life and not weep,” Dick said. “But there were also times of laughter, friendship and sharing.”

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The good moments were what Smith said she wanted to remember.

“When I first came here three years ago, I never thought I’d fit in,” Smith said. “I have never been more wrong in my life.

“You all warmed up to the new girl.”

Smith said the graduating class of 26 members all came together to accept each other for their quirks and built a foundation of love.

“I don’t know what the future holds, but I know for sure that we will all miss each other,” Smith said. “We will be forever grateful for the friendships.

“I want us to remember what we have learned from each other, the teachers and what we have meant to each other. Just remember.”

Valedictorian Jheri Dupré Ogden said she would never be thankful for the New Year’s Day vehicle accident that sent five of her classmates to the hospital.

“Facing uncertainty, we have kept together and were able to gather around a common goal — love,” Ogden said.

Matthew Rymer, 19, who was paralyzed from the shoulders down during the wreck, said he was happy to be at graduation.

“It feels good,” Rymer said. “I’m glad to get out of high school.

“I’m going to miss all of the memories we made — all of the good memories of my friends and everything.”

Jennifer Scudiero, 18, whose leg and collarbone were broken in the accident but had healed in time for graduation, said the ceremony was going to be a blur.

“I just hope I don’t trip going up the stairs,” Scudiero said. “I am really excited to be graduating, but really sad to be leaving everyone.”

Ogden, who started at Trinity in pre-school, said she looks back on the experience fondly.

“I see 18 years of pure happiness,” she said. “Together, we have had it all.”