Saturday was a day of transition for nearly 130 Martinsville High School graduates, according to students who spoke during the commencement.
“Today we end the journey (through adolescence) that made us who we are” and start the journey through the rest of their lives, said senior class President Marnié Janie Martin.
That transition will be one of many that the graduates will face in life, said senior Ashleigh Elizabeth Buck.
Some students, Buck said, know what they will be doing next — attending college, entering the military or finding jobs, for instance. Others don’t, she acknowledged.
Pam Heath, superintendent of the Martinsville City Public Schools, expressed confidence that whatever they do, the graduates will be successful.
But it will be up to them to achieve success by using their “awesome, unlimited power” as intelligent people, she noted.
“No one is going to beg you to be phenomenal,” Heath said.
Martin encouraged her classmates to fight when necessary for what they believe is right and push themselves to their limits to achieve success.
In their journeys, she said, “go where there is no path and leave a trail” for others to follow.
With the skills and knowledge they have now and skills they will acquire in the years ahead, “you will invent the future” for themselves as well as all of humanity, Heath told the graduates.
She cautioned, though, that while “talent is natural,” skills take time to develop and “there are no short cuts.”
Buck admitted to feeling a little scared about what the future holds.
Even with such uncertainty, the graduates should never allow themselves to be too frightened to soar like a bumblebee to new heights, Buck said.
However, while they think about the future, they should live for today — “the sweet spot,” she said.
Heath agreed. She surmised that “far too many people in this world are merely surviving” rather than living.
“You will make the world a better place,” Heath told the graduates, adding that they already have made Martinsville a better place by being here.
Martin said it was “an honor and a privilege” to be senior class president. With tears in her eyes, she told her classmates that she loves all of them.
Graduates received their diplomas from MHS Assistant Principals Benny Baliles and Renee Brown.
The Class of 2014 “worked very hard” to graduate, said Principal Angie Weinerth.
Through dual enrollment, 18 graduates earned community college associate degrees as they earned their diplomas, the commencement program showed.
The graduates included 21 on the Superintendent’s List of students with cumulative grade point averages of 4.0 or higher, as well as 31 “Big M honor graduates,” each with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.7, and nine “Big M certificate recipients,” each with a current GPA of at least that.
They also included 29 members of the National Honor Society, 33 members of the National Vocational-Technical Honor Society and 21 members of the BETA Club, which promotes character development, service and leadership along with academic achievement.