Natchez High bids farewell to 200 grads

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 19, 2012

Natchez High School seniors walk around the track before the start of their graduation ceremony Friday night on the football field. Natchez had 200 seniors walk across the stage and receive their diplomas.

By Mollie Beth Wallace

The Natchez Democrat

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NATCHEZ — Friends and family of the class of 2012 were all smiles as they filled the Natchez High School football stadium Friday night.

Waiting for the graduates to take the field, Linda Manuel, mother of NHS senior Delvin Mason, said she was ecstatic to see her son receive his diploma.

Mason, anxious to walk over to the stadium, said he plans to attend Virginia College and become a master barber stylist.

“I’ve been cutting hair since I was 12 or 13 years old,” he said.

Across the room, senior Cedric Carter said he plans to join the Air Force.

“I will miss my teachers,” Carter said. “My favorite class was ROTC.”

Carter’s mother, Gwen Carter, said she was very excited to see her third child graduate.

Straightening her cap, Paris Reese, who plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, said she will miss being around all of her friends.

“Every day was pretty fun with my friends,” she said.

Reese said she plans to study biology and later pursue a career as a veterinarian.

Shongela Reynolds was next in line with Reese, and she said she was very excited to graduate. Reynolds said she wants to go to Georgia Tech and study forensic anthropology.

After several minutes of anticipation, the 200 seniors made their way onto the field.

Quoting Mark Twain, Salutatorian Jonathan Weir spoke to his class and recounted the past four years.

“Twain once said, ‘A round man cannot be expected to fit into a square hole right away,’” Weir said.

Explaining how Natchez High School and the Natchez community had molded his class, Weir said his class is now ready to be on display.

“This is what Natchez has made,” he said.

Thanking his father first for teaching him right from wrong, Weir compared his class to cake batter, explaining that family, friends and teachers had carefully harvested each ingredient that went into the cake.

Following Weir’s analogy, NHS Valedictorian Debra Whitley challenged her class to keep its momentum going.

“Keep that fight in you, that strive and that motivation,” Whitley said.

As she reminisced about the past 12 years with her classmates, Whitley reminded them not to forget where they came from.

“We will never forget where we learned so many life lessons,” she said. “Graduation is a memory that we will cherish forever.”

Whitley said that her class had not let any obstacles keep them from success.

Quoting one of her favorite songs by Fun, she professed her faith in the class of 2012.

“Tonight we are young, so let’s set the world on fire. We can burn brighter than the sun,” she said.

Although they admitted being reluctant to say goodbye to their alma mater, the graduates of NHS said they are ready to go out and make an impact on the world.