GRADUATION 2024: A look back at West Stanly High

Published 2:53 pm Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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West Stanly’s graduation was May 24. The following speech was one of the ones presented that day.

Lydia Hill

Good morning, everyone, my name is Lydia Hill and I stand before you as a graduating student of West Stanly High School. It is my pleasure to welcome students, families, friends, and faculty to graduation day here at West Stanly. Each one of you has impacted the graduates who sit here on this memorable day. For some of you, you have been desperate to walk across this stage and move on with your life since you stepped foot in this school. For others, this is just another step in your educational career. Either way, today is still a noteworthy chapter in the Book of Life. As I stand here, I am overwhelmed with memories and emotions. Though they all may be different,. our journey through these halls has been nothing short of remarkable.
Speaking of those of us who are sitting here today in caps and gowns … it was no easy task, was it? I remember as a freshman hearing the question “So what college are you going to?” or “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and I had no answer to give. I’m sure I was not the only young student who felt like I did not have a specific purpose in this world. Every time I started thinking about my future I had feelings of frustration and confusion. Why do these adults expect me to know exactly what I want to do at fifteen years old? I did not even begin to know what the world had to offer at the time. Thankfully, my years here at West Stanly provided me with a path that I am eager to pursue after today . Over these four years, I have been blessed with learning opportunities, new friendships, and countless role models – just like I’m sure the rest of you have as well.
Now let’s revisit all of the obstacles that we have overcome in the last 4 years, starting with our good friend COVID-19. We spent 2 years trying to learn behind a screen and a mask, and afterward, we had to catch up on all the social connections and educational opportunities we had missed. Though we may have had a rough start to high school, we can still cherish the times we spent at home with family during the pandemic. Even though COVID was the main interference in our educational careers, we still had to endure becoming adults. Being a teenager is no simple task, and neither is raising one. We desire independence as we attempt to fight our battles and determine who we are as individuals. Whether we struggled with relationships, depression, academic challenges, or other misfortunes, we are all still sitting here together today. I can guarantee that anything detrimental that happened, happened to us for a reason. Brene Brown said in 2010,” Mistakes are the proof that we are human and flawed, but also capable of growth and improvement.”
As we reflect on the past 4 years, let us not focus on the bumps in the road, but on how we will pave the way for a brighter future. Finding your path is not supposed to be a nice, straight£ orward highway. In fact, life is much more like driving around Stanly County. There will be bumps in the road, like the many potholes that will never be filled in. There will be times when we have to slow down and find patience, like-when we are following behind somebody’s precious grandparents who can barely see over the steering wheel. There will even be times when we have to slam on the brakes, because a deer jumped at us out of nowhere, similar to when something bizarre happens and you have to put the rest of your world on hold. Make your drive your own, because after all, you do only live once. If you choose to take it slow and cruise with the windows down, by all means that’s what you should do. If you want to take the risks and go a little too fast down these country backroads, just please be safe and have fun. Personally, I model my drive after Ricky Bobby because “If you’re not first, You’re Last”. Sorry Officer Crayton. Though they will all be different, at the end of the drive, we will all find ourselves safe at our final destinations. I believe Dr. Seuss said it best: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” So let’s not just dream about our futures, let us steer our futures where we want them to go.
We have made it this far, and I have faith that each of us will do great things after we walk across this stage. So I leave you with this question: how will YOU steer your way through life after today? Thank you.

Autumn Allen
Sara Allman
Emily Amaya Turcios
Alondra Anaya
Cameron Arrington
Alexsander Avila Torres
Camryn Barbee
Hailey Barbee
Jared Barbee
Jonathan Barbee
Lainie Barbee
Allie Barringer
Nathan Barringer
Carson Bazinet
Berenice Benitez Gutierrez
Dalton Birchett
Kaytlen Blackmon
Sophia Blackwelder
Evan Boone
Colby Bowers
John Bradford
Wyatt Britt
Ali Broadaway
Ellen Brown
Samantha Brown
Lauren Bucholz
Caleb Bumgarner
Conner Burleson
Andon Butler
Cody Carter
Shayla Chance
Thomas Chavez-Alvarado
Tyler Chen
Elijah Clark
Coby Clontz
Hannah Coleman
Aubrey Collins
Ryan Collins
Trevor Creed
Mardecia Cribb
Marisol Cruz Zelaya
Andi Daniels
Jacob Deese
Samuel Dorokhov
Ava Douglas
Breanna Douglas
Jesse Dover
MaKayla DuVarney
Abigale Ecenbarger
Elliott Ecenbarger
Blythe Elliott
Faith Ellis
Sawyer Elwood
Austin Eudy
Solomon Eudy
Lanee Eury
Brendan Fulcher
Avery Funk
Hannah Furr
Trenton Gaddy
Gisela Garcia Martinez
Tere Garcia Ramirez
Irineo Garcia Soria
Hannah Gerdes
Daniela Gomez
Joana Gonzalez Avila
Alking Green
Kirsten Greene
Tytus Greene
Austin Griffin
Lane Grismer
Isaiah Grosz
Emma Gullickson
Kaelynn Guyette
Shianne Hansen
Alexander Harper
Lillian Hartsell
Holly Hatch
Paul Hawks
Eli Helms
Shaler Henry
Riley Her
Lydia Hill
Bradley Hines
Jaxson Hinton
Alexander Holt
Madison Honeycutt
Rylan Honeycutt
James Horton
Annie Howard
John Howard
Colby Hudson
Cooper Hudson
Gracie Huneycutt
Jaret Huneycutt
Roman Huneycutt
Smith Huneycutt
Jevon Hurt
Mia Jamar
Elliot Jimenez
Leevi Johnson
Allora Jones
Sierra Keith
Jacob Kerns
Colby Kirkland
Jerzie Kivett
Vanessa Labra
Ethan Ladd
Bradley Lambert
Alexandria Lanham
Thea Laws
Emma Lee
Jayden Lee
Caden Lemly
Ana Leyva
Jaydan Lilly
Connor Lindsey
Michael Little
Bryson Long
Berenice Lopez Herrera
Daniela Lopez-Cruz
Brooklyn Lovin
Braedyn Lowder
Bryan Lowder
Makaleigh Lowder
Ryan Lowery
Daniel Lucier
John Marks
Emma Marshall
Cian Martin
Payne Martin
Oscar Martinez Lopez
Eric Martinez-escobar
McKenzie Mason
Emma McIlwaine
Megan McLary
Grayson McLester
Mason Meachum
Gage Medlin
Kyndal Metheny
Andrew Miller
Sarah Miller
Brendon Mills
Elijah Moffitt
Gavin Monaghan
Hayden Morgan
Lindsey Morris
Jason Morrison
Tien Nguyen
Caiden Nickel
Jasvely Nunez Garcia
Amy Olea Gonzalez
Naomi Ortiz Sosa
Kailey Osorio
Jy’qurian Peay
Nash Pennell
Tanner Pickering
Macy Preslar
Keoke Quichocho
Cesar Rivera
Cameron Rochelle
Aliyah Rush
Lexie Rushing
Rene Salazar
Brianna Sandoval-Luna
Tristan Santiago
Bryson Schadt
Kert Scheimreif
Caitlin Sellers
Raegan Sharpe
Jessalyn Simpson
Caitlin Slater
Mariangel Slim Manrique
Erica Smith
Kristen Smith
Luke Smith
Nathan Snellings
Rhiley Sorlaesith
Yehor Sotnykov
Yatziri Soto Reza
Yuliza Soto Ugarte
Yuriza Soto Ugarte
Briley Speights
Brysen Speights
William Starnes
Melanie Stockton
Steven Swigert
Reagan Talley
Abbie Thomas
Jett Thomas
Preston Thomas
Iyanla Tripp
Taryn Troutman
Camden Tucker
Jaxon Tucker
Jayden Wade
Ashtyn Webb
Carson Wells
Blythe Whitley
Imari Whitley
Joseph Whitley
Kenzie Whitley
Taylor Whitley
Trey Whitley
Lilly Whitten
Braxton Williams
Devon Willis
Robert Wyche
Alexander Yarbrough
Judson Yow
Ethan Zimmerman
Bailey Ziobro