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ATWOOD (May 9) — West Carroll graduated 64 seniors during the May 9 commencement exercises in the school’s gymnasium. Jacob Mims gave the valedictory address, P.J. Odom gave the …
ATWOOD (May 9) — West Carroll graduated 64 seniors during the May 9 commencement exercises in the school’s gymnasium.
Jacob Mims gave the valedictory address, P.J. Odom gave the president’s address, and Aaron Heckert was recognized as the salutatorian.
Parents of the students were seated on the floor-level near their graduate children. At the conclusion of the ceremony, graduates presented their parents with a rose and a hug.
Jacob Mims, valedictorian, said, “I stand before you tonight very honored and humbled to be Valedictorian of the Class of 2019. Believe me, there are many other very intelligent and dedicated students here at West Carroll. As for those I’d like to thank, I would be hard-pressed to name them all, but countless teachers, administrators, family and friends have helped me get to this point. With that being said, I’d love to thank my Mom, Dad, and three little brothers for their support. ..I would like to warn all West Carroll teachers about the inevitable gray hair my three younger siblings will decidedly give you in the years to come. Again, you have been warned.
“To the Class of 2019, here we are! I think we can all remember being trepid, anxious freshman wandering the halls on day one of our high school career. Since then, we’ve grown in so many ways. Our individual growth has only served to grow us as a community; I truly feel that our class has fostered a sense of cohesion analogous to none. It’s an incredibly bittersweet feeling knowing that we have finished our chapter in the annals of West Carroll history. The accomplishments of our class are remarkable. Trust me, our chapter is tremendously lengthy, but we can’t let our accolades in high school define us forever. I know that a lot of passions were developed for me here, whether it be in Math class with Mrs. Hopper or Band with Mr. Randy and Mr. Nelson. I hope that every one of you found and developed your passions here at West Carroll and take them with you.
“Seeing as we are all about to go on our own paths and chase our dreams, I’m going to issue a challenge: just three words, never stop learning! Don’t think of this in an academic sense. Whether you learn a valuable life lesson from an elder, or tips of a trade from a coworker, never cease your quest for knowledge. This path of learning requires us to understand that we don’t know everything. My senior quote, “I’m smart enough to know that I’m dumb,” comes from a Nobel laureate in physics. Richard Feynman wasn’t ousting his own intelligence; he was only stating he understood that there is much that he didn’t know. This man is exalted in history for his knowledge in quantum physics, and even he recognizes there is much to learn. So, never stop learning!
“I am incredibly proud to be part of the class of 2019! We have shared so many great moments that we’ll take with us, and I know that we will continue to do anything to help one another. I can’t wait to see what our class will be able to accomplish in life. Aim high, and best of luck to the Class of 2019,” concluded Mims.
Paul (P.J.) Odom, class president, said in his speech, “Thank you, Mr. Stratton. Good evening everyone, and welcome to the graduation ceremony of the West Carroll Class of 2019. Fellow classmates, we made it! After countless hours of school and lots of changes, we made it. It seems like just yesterday we were nervous about starting our freshman year. Now, I look out at our class and I see heads held high and proud faces.
To the parents, friends, and family, thank you for your unconditional love and support. You put up with endless nights of complaining about new rules, a bad grade, or an absurd amount of homework. You were the ones we went to for guidance when we didn’t know what to do. You do not know how much you mean to us.
To the faculty and staff of West Carroll: On behalf of the class of 2019, I thank you. You helped us every step of the way. The coaches in every sport, whether we played or not, showed us compassion. Every teacher in this school system cared for our well-being and did his or her best to make sure we would be sitting here today. You showed us that you not only care about our education, but you care about us as students, and without you, we would not be here.
To my fellow classmates, we are gathered here today to celebrate our biggest, most challenging achievement so far: graduating high school. I know it was rough at times to carry on, to finish that homework, or even to study for that test, but as you see, it paid off. In life, you will be faced with obstacles that you won’t know how you will overcome. I want to let you know that you will make it through. I dare you to trust in God and let him guide your path. Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” I promise he will never send you in the wrong direction.
After tonight, some of you will go to college, technical school, the military, or straight into the workforce. Some of you will never see each other again. Some of you will go out and start families on your own. However, I challenge you with the task to grow. Where ever you find yourself, I dare you to grow. Whether you are in an entry-level job or the boss, I dare you to put yourself in a position to grow. Step out of your comfort zone and charge head first into a new challenge. No matter what you do, be the best at it. Grow past the stereotypes. Grow past the odds. Grow past your obstacles and show the world who you really are!
“As I come to a close, I want you to remember to never forget where you came from. As I said earlier, life will get hard, and you won’t know what to do. Just think back on everything God has brought you through, and it will give you the strength to carry on. Remember who you are and never let anyone convince you otherwise. Finally, I want to leave you with these wise words of wisdom from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you are nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth.” Class of 2019, We made it,” concluded Odom.
The top 10 students were: (1) Jacob Mims, son of Jared and Jenny Mims of McLemoresville; (2) Aaron Heckert, son of Virgil Heckert and Bonnie Wells of Atwood; (3) P.J. Odom, son of Sheila and Herb Odom of Trezevant; (4) Heather Baugh, daughter of Lynn and Marsha Nelson of McLemoresville; (5) Amelia McAfee, daughter of Paul and Tonia McAfee of Atwood, (6) Levi Hays, son of Lee Hays and Jeannie Hays of Lavinia, (7) Anna Woodall, daughter of Daniel and Eva Woodall of Lavinia; (8) Darrell Williams, Jr., son of Angela and Darrell Williams of Trezevant; (9) Zachary Heckert, son of Virgil Heckert and Bonnie Wells of Atwood; (10) Kendall Hicks, son of Tracy and Chad Hicks of Lavinia.