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Graduation 2013: BHS graduates get advice for a lifetime
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Da’Shaun Rontae Valentine holds graduation balloons high at Bassett High School on Friday.
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

There are four things to always do throughout life, Bassett High School’s Class of 2013 learned while graduating on Friday night.

One is to always reflect, said graduate Rocky Zebulon Ankeny.

“In kindergarten,” Ankeny said, “graduation seemed like a dream away.”

But 13 years later, that dream was realized, he noted while reflecting on awkward experiences the graduates endured while in school.

For instance, elementary school was when they were “awkwardly cute,” Ankeny said. By middle school, he recalled, they had become “awkwardly awkward” as they went through puberty and matured.

Through it all, they achieved successes and made mistakes that will affect how they handle situations in life, Ankeny said.

“A brand new beginning awaits us,” he said. But as life progresses, “always look back in the mirror. Always remember and never forget.”

Another graduate, Jordan Cole Hancock, told his classmates to always persevere.

Hancock noted they encountered some difficult times over the years, such as when taking exams.

By persevering, he thinks the Class of 2013 is “the toughest class yet” to graduate from Bassett, he said without giving specifics as to why.

He said that God, family members and a strong will helped him persevere.

Yet there is “no single key to perseverance,” Hancock said, mentioning that everyone has their own things that help them keep going in tough times.

Jordan Dalea’ Chandria Ingram recommended that her peers always forgive those who have hurt their feelings or irritated them because forgiveness is “the foundation for happiness and peace.”

It is harder to forgive some people than it is to forgive others, according to Ingram.

But forgiveness is “the most amazing feeling of relief that can flood your heart,” she said.

Ingram added that being able to forgive sets a good example for younger people who admire them.

Blake Jackson Martin told his fellow Bengals to always appreciate other people.

He thanked parents, teachers, coaches, friends and other important people in their lives for their support, encouragement and advice over the years.

“Truly appreciate others and you’ll soon find many others around you,” said Martin.

Do not take life for granted, he cautioned.

“Life is but a gift from God,” Martin said, but “tomorrow is not guaranteed.”

Friday’s graduation ceremony focused on the students’ comments, but BHS Principal Garrett Dillard suggested a few other things to always do in life.

“Always give 100 percent at everything you do,” Dillard said, as well as show compassion for others and be caring, fair and courageous.

And, always fondly remember Bassett High School, he told the graduates.

Dillard noted that 48 percent of the graduates were awarded advanced diplomas, and there were 81 honor graduates in the Class of 2013.

There were 320 graduates altogether.

As the sun set over the BHS football stadium on a windy evening, Dillard and his assistant principals presented the graduates with their diplomas as their names were called. Upon being pronounced graduates, they turned their tassels and later threw their mortar boards into the air.

Dillard congratulated Hancock for achieving perfect attendance every year from kindergarten through 12th grade. That is a total of 2,340 school days, he mentioned.


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