Hundreds of newly minted high school seniors were unleashed into the warm but sunny air in Henry Country on Friday night and Saturday morning.
Carlisle School started the proceedings, and then Bassett High seniors walked into the sunset with their diplomas on Friday.
Saturday morning, Magna Vista and Martinsville high schools completed the festivities. For the record, Patrick High School will have its commencement on Friday night.
About 235 students graduated from Magna Vista High School on Saturday morning. There were 37 honor graduates, which required a 3.8 cumulative grade-point average.
Magna Vista’s band performed during the processional and recessional. Class of 2019 President Madison Grace Stowe presided.
Warrior Singers performed musical selections. JROTC color guard presented the colors.
Class Secretary Carly Kathleen Jackson introduced speaker William Caleb Hubbard, a graduating senior, who spoke about how “Success Is No Accident.”
Class Treasurer Peter A. Nguyen introduced speaker Cinthia Garcia Corona, an honor graduate, who spoke about “Be a Warrior for the World.”
Principal Charles Byrd said that members of the class have been awarded $2,516,926 thus far in scholarships, tuition assistance and other financial support. He urged the graduates to work hard, have a purpose and passion, and to believe in themselves.
At Martinsville High School, Senior Class President Taylar Brown and Priyanshi Patel, senior representative, addressed the class and audience.
Among the other speakers were Superintendent Zeb Talley and Principal Aji Dixon.
The Martinsville High School band and the MHS gospel choir performed for the area’s only indoor ceremony.
Carlisle school celebrated its graduates and its 50th year during ceremonies at the school Friday night. The school saw 28 seniors walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, 18 of which graduated with honors after achieving a cumulative high school grade-point average of 3.67 or higher.
Laura Elizabeth Painter gave the valedictory address, talking about her memories from her 13 years at Carlisle, where she started midway through kindergarten.
The speaker was 2007 graduate Dr. Manas Nigam, a senior resident in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Nigam is an active volunteer, providing medical care around the world. Following his address, he was named the school's distinguished alumni.
Nigam's younger brother, Krutik Nigam, was the Class of 2019's salutatorian, and led the opening Pledge of Allegiance and prayer.
Bassett High School also held its graduation Friday night, with members of the Henry County School Board on hand to challenge the students. Superintendent Sandy Strayer helped present the diplomas.
A symbolic moment was when the school’s senior ranking teacher, Brad Whiting, carried in the mace, a symbol of academic authority and intellect, leading a processional of faculty, dignitaries and students across the football field to their seats.
Another was at the end, when the celebrating graduates threw their mortar-board hats into the air against the backdrop of sunset.