Entering the adult world can be frightening, Brandon Thomas Ford told his fellow graduating seniors at Martinsville High School on Saturday.
But as life goes on, “we can’t stop it,” he admitted.
The knowledge they gained in school gives the graduates an advantage, Ford said, adding that “we know we’ve got what it takes to survive.”
Never take knowledge for granted, he advised his peers.
“I wish you only good things for the future,” city school Superintendent Pam Heath told the 150 graduates gathered in the school auditorium. “You are ready to take on the world.”
Many opportunities await them, Heath said, encouraging the graduates to follow their dreams and pursue careers that will make them happy.
If a person is happy with his jobs, it will not seem like work, Heath said.
“Life is too short to do work that’s not fulfilling to you,” she added.
Heath encouraged graduates to care about other people and practice integrity in whatever they do in life.
“What matters for eternity,” Ford said, “is that you be something special (as a person), not just do something special.”
That is what ultimately must happen if they are to help change the world for the better, he said.
Senior Class President Destiny Keyonna Mitchell told the graduates that their lives basically are just beginning.
Mitchell said she considers graduation to be “not a goodbye” to her friends “but a ‘see you later.’” She said she hopes they all can reunite someday and share their successes.
MHS Principal Aji Dixon presented the graduates their diplomas as they walked across the auditorium stage.
With their diplomas in hand, they received congratulations, hugs and pats on the back from Heath and members of the Martinsville School Board.
Although graduating from high school is an emotional moment, “we’ve finally reached the point in our lives that we’ve all been waiting for,” Mitchell said.
Among the graduates were 29 students who made the Superintendent’s List for having cumulative grade point averages of 4.0 or higher.
Forty-five students were recognized for being “Big M” award recipients. The award recognizes those with GPAs of 3.7 or higher.
The graduates included 41 members of the National Honor Society and 31 members of the National Vocational-Technical Honor Society.
Thirty students earned community college associate’s degrees at the same time they earned their diplomas.