On a perfect Friday night, Natchez-Adams School District graduates its Class of 2022

Published 10:44 pm Friday, May 27, 2022

NATCHEZ — The night was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky. The bright sunshine gave way to colorful hues of yellow, pink, orange and red as the sun set. A pleasant, cool breeze blew in as if ordered from above as Natchez-Adams School District 2022 graduates marched to their places to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance.

The blend of pride and joy — mixed with a good measure of relief  — was intoxicating Friday night as enthusiastic friends and family packed the home bleachers at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium for the 33rd Natchez High School annual commencement.

It was also the sixth annual commencement for Natchez Early College Academy at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

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Seats were gone by 6:45 p.m. before the 7:30 p.m. ceremony, leaving standing room only for many of the thousands who attended. A good number sported t-shirts with images of the graduates they were supporting. Some highlighted sayings like, “The best is yet to come.” Others designated the wearer as proud mom or dad, grandmother, little brother, nephew or favorite auntie.

Natchez High graduated 155 students, including the awarding of two diplomas posthumously to students Cameron Jakel Jones and Eric Terrell Davis Jr.

Natchez Early College awarded diplomas to 46 graduates. Of those, 40 also earned their associate’s degrees from Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

The theme of the night was the tremendous obstacles the Class of 2022 had to overcome because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an exuberant voice, Natchez High Salutatorian Alex Christopher Ambeau roused the crowd when he proclaimed, “We have charted waters unknown before. For two years, we went from virtual classes to hybrid classes and then back to in-person classes. We have overcome obstacles unimaginable and still accomplished our goals. We should be praised through the roof!

“We are the best, better than the rest. We are the mighty, mighty bulldogs,” Ambeau exclaimed, and the crowd roared.

Natchez Early College Valedictorian Timothy Bryan Blalock also discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted most of high school life for the NHS Class of 2022.

“Whether we go into the workforce or an internship or to college, it can be easy to forget the determination we used to accomplish this goal,” he said. “If you fall down seven times, get up eight. No matter what path you take, I know you’ll make it.”

Blalock thanked his parents, teachers and principals for the effort they put into making him and the Class of 2022 successful.

“I am a mosaic of everyone here, all who had a part in me receiving this honor,” Blalock said.

“I promise to go far in life and I promise you will, too. I ask of you two things: Look before you leap; and when you do leap, go as far as possible,” he said.

Natchez High School Valedictorian Mercedes Sewell also thanked her teachers and school faculty, administration and staff.

“It has taken a village to get us here, the culmination of childhood to early adulthood,” she said. “Although this chapter has been penned, it’s not the end of the book. We do not stop learning when we receive these diplomas. We all must want more, strive to be better and lift up those behind us.”