South Stanly graduates told to ‘embrace the journey’

Published 9:28 am Monday, May 27, 2024

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Ninety red-clad seniors received diplomas at commencement ceremonies at South Stanly High School’s K.L. Young Stadium on Friday.

SSHS Career and Development Coordinator Sharon Huggins delivered the commencement address, encouraging the seniors to take time to enjoy their experiences while moving toward future goals.

“Embrace the journey, stay open to new possibilities and trust that each step you take, regardless of the direction, contributes to the person you are,” she said.

Additionally, Huggins exhorted graduates who may be faced with setbacks.

“You will have triumphs and disappointments, but I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. Even when the path ahead seems daunting or uncertain, remember that progress is made by simply putting one foot in front of the other,” she said.

To begin the ceremony, graduating senior Julia Rogers welcomed those in attendance by leading the Pledge of Allegiance before imploring classmates to strive for goals outside their comfort zones.

“Will we go for only those goals that are attainable, or will we go for the goals that we really are passionate about, regardless of the outcome?” she asked.

Class of 2024 speakers Emma Curlee and Gabriela Salazar both reminisced on the journey from kindergarten to graduation, while reminding classmates to thank those who have supported them during their journey.

“I encourage you today to thank the people who have gotten you here,” said Curlee, “the people who see you as that little kid running to them because you are still their whole world. The people here who are rooting you on and wishing only the best for you in this next season of life — they are your biggest fans and will always love you, and they can’t wait to see you succeed.”

Salazar echoed Curlee’s thoughts, saying, “Thank you to our families and mentors who have helped us get here today. Personally, I know that I have my parents, my brother and my role model of a sister to thank for my individual journey. I’m sure you all have similar people who have made your journey better. Remember to embrace the time with these people daily.”

SSHS Teacher of the Year Billie Conte recognized and offered thanks to graduating seniors who will be entering branches of military service.

“Thank you for your courageous choice. We honor you today,” she said.

Following the presentation of diplomas, Principal Julienne Fallen closed the ceremony by delivering the official pronouncement of graduation, while offering congratulations and best wishes to South Stanly’s 61st graduating class.

“I hope that, as graduates, each of you will leave with fond memories,” said Fallen. “Throughout your high school years, you have shown reliance, endurance and commitment to conquering whatever is in your path. Graduates, I wish you all the best.”

Toby Thorpe is a freelance writer for The Stanly News & Press.