To the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” the class of 2019 walked from the stage into their future last Thursday night. Graduation featured guest speakers, award presentations and words of encouragement from classmates.
The graduates are Kyle Brice Cason, Abby Lynne Clemons, Seth Jordan Freeman, Emily Grace Hodge, Bailey Elaine LeGrande, Willem Augustus LeGrande, Shelby Lynn Lindsey, Kaylee Alaine Merry, Matthew Scott Shaver, Caitlyn Marian Thompson, Brailee Caroline Vaughn and Alyssa Cheyanne Woodard.
Dr. Hunter Brown lead the singing of “How Great Thou Art” and the Devotional was by Pastor Mark Briggs of Riverpark Church. Briggs said, “The one thing that will make you successful setting out in life, the one thing I needed most, is faith.” He said to forget about the past, “faith comes to us to learn from our present.”
Briggs told the graduates, “You may make mistakes, but life is all about falling forward. Your faith in God will change everything. Reach forward toward the future.”
Class Valedictorian Bailey LeGrande told graduates, “I am eternally grateful for the support system I found here. I thank God for everything. There were many obstacles, but I would not change a thing. The stumbling blocks became steps.” LeGrande added, “I thank my classmates for my years at Riverdale. You provided great memories and I will cherish these moments.”
Dr. Brown handed out many awards and scholarships. Several individuals presented awards as well. Darlene Dickson presented the Adam Lee Perkins Scholarship to Matthew Shaver. Sheriff Glen Edwards presented the Sheriff’s Scholarship to Bailey LeGrande. American Legion Post Commander Bruce Ray presented Kaylee Alaine Merry and Kyle Brice Cason the American Legion Awards. And the Life Share Blood Scholarship was presented by Abby Lynne Clemons by Philip Maxfield.
Then Dr. Robert Peters called each graduate to the front and presented them their diploma. In his remarks, Dr. Peters told them they had an obligation to salute Hunter Brown for the work he did as senior class sponsor. Peters stated the authority he has to declare them all graduates, concluding with, “You may turn your tassels. I approve. You are graduated.”
The final duty of the Class of 2019 was to pass the torch. This tradition symbolizes the passing of the duties of seniors on to the junior class. As each graduate left the stage, they took a single red rose and presented it to their parents. Then all gathered at the back of the gymnasium to toss their hats into the air.