Graduation is a joyous time for high school seniors, and over the past weekend several students from the Alamance-Burlington School System walked across the stage to receive their high school diplomas.
Eastern Alamance High School was no exception. With bleachers filled with family and friends the Fieldhouse at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex held its last graduation ceremony of the day Saturday afternoon, June 15.
As students made their entrance the crowd cheered and applauded them. Many students waved to loved ones and smiled as they made their way to their seats. Once the crowd settled into silence, senior Courtney Keeler provided graduates with inspirational words and asked everyone to participate in a moment of silence for friend and classmate Allison Widderich.
“Today starts the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. Not only are you going to walk across the stage and receive our diplomas, but today is the last time that we will be considered high schoolers,” Keeler said. “After today, we’ll be one step closer to being adults which means our lives will change forever.”
“Your diploma not only represents the ups and downs that you have experienced throughout high school or maybe it symbolizes the hard work and dedication that you have[exhibited] over the past four years,” she said. “Although, our diplomas will mean something different to each of us I am sure we can all agree that we are happy to be graduating. We have been going to this school our whole lives for this moment, so we should celebrate. Furthermore, as we prepare to walk across the stage I encourage you to think about the people who helped you get to this point, including parents, teachers, friends and others.”
After speaking Keeler received applause, and Eastern Alamance principal Dr. Diane Hill gave a welcome.
“Thank you for taking the time to celebrate this amazing group of young people. We are very proud of their accomplishments and excited for their future,” she said. Hill completed her speech and welcomed ABSS Superintendent Dr. W. Bruce Benson to the podium. Benson offered graduates words of wisdom and wished them luck in their futures.
“You guys are really a close-knit group of graduates and clearly value the time you spend with each other,” Benson said. “So, behalf of the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education congratulations to the Class of 2019 of Eastern Alamance High School.”
The salutatorian address was given by Jean Kim, who began with congratulating the Class of 2019 and by welcoming family members and friends for their support.
“We are here today to celebrate and recognize all of our accomplishments we have made within the past four years at Eastern Alamance. We would never have attained such achievements without the support of those around us,” Kim said. “To some, graduating high school may not seem like a big deal, rather it is just another step in their day to reaching their aspirations. However, to others graduating high school may be the biggest accomplishment of their life thus far.”
“Regardless of one’s perceptions of this event we are attending today this graduation symbolizes an end to a chapter within our lives and a new one begins,” she added. “Throughout our four years of high school we have grown mentally and academically and although we encountered various hardships and changes that are unique to each of us, these adversities are what shaped us to who we are today.”
“Rather you are attending a college or university in the fall or pursuing another educational or career route graduating high school is one of the first major stepping stone to accomplish one’s goal,” Kim added. “To my fellow classmates, I wish all the best in your future and to our strong, tenacious and aspirational Class of 2019 congratulations.”
Following her speech valedictorian Alex Kreider took the podium to address his fellow classmates. He said writing his speech is somewhat similar to life and he also said everyone one has been given tasks they didn’t want to do.
“In our lives such as this speech we all have encountered situations that have come up even though we don’t necessarily [know why],” he said. “The one thing you’ve gotta do is that you need to always do the best you can do, no matter what the given situation, no matter what comes up against you. You do the best you can do, and you never give up. Never quit.”
“In life we either get bitter or get better,” Kreider added. “You either take what has been dealt to us and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to us.”
“Sometimes looking up to others is helpful as well all need people to look up to,” he continued. “When we start to idolize them, we stop relying on our own strength. As Steve Jobs once said, your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma by letting the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
After Dr. Hill gave her remarks she acknowledged Steven Anderson, Madison Culler and Kameron Lynch three students who are currently serving in the United States Military.
Assistant Principal Michelle Thompson called out the names of 282 students who walked across the stage and although she is no longer here, Allison Rose Widderich had her named called. The entire senior class and those in attendance honored her memory with an applause.
Once all students we back to their seats John Moyle gave the closing remarks.
“Personally, I would like to congratulate all of you on earning this achievement,” he said. “When we leave this building we’ll no longer be EA students. We’ll no longer be high schoolers, we will be whatever we choose to be. Whether you’re entering the workforce or joining the military or pursuing further education we have the hardest challenge ahead of us.”
He continued, “I also wish success and happiness in your future. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle. Congratulations Class of 2019!”
Friends and loved ones cheered and applauded the Eastern Alamance Class of 2019 as they turned their tassels and closed the book on the final chapter of their high school endeavors.