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HCHS bids farewell to Class of 2014

South Boston News
Commencement speaker Ethan Rosche gets a shot of himself at the podium. / June 02, 2014

The 386 members of the Class of 2014 at Halifax County High School on Saturday morning received their diplomas from School Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon and School Board Vice Chairman Dick Stoneman amidst great fanfare.

Senior Class President Chase Daniel Wilkerson, son of Ira Wilkerson and Linda Wilkerson, welcomed the packed crowd to the event which began at 9 a.m. JROTC cadets then presented the colors followed by the pledge of allegiance to the flag, led by National Honor Society Vice President Aaron Paul Slabach, son of Gertrude and David Slabach.

Class valedictorian Marian Taylor Strange, daughter of Lisa and Rudyard Strange, salutatorian Krunal Mukesh Patel, son of Mukeshbhai and Rekhaben Patel and Ethan Hunter Rosche, son of Lisa and Dr. William Rosche, presented the three commencement addresses (see separate story on page 2).

The Top Ten members of the Class were recognized and presented with $1,000 scholarships. They are Marion Taylor Strange, No. 1, Krunal Mukesh Patel, No 2, Baylee Layne Caroline Snead, No. 3, Ethan Hunter Rosche, No. 4, Wendy Chen, No. 5, Martina Laura Hernandez, No. 6, Joshua Wayne Irby, No.7, Lauren Nicole Ratliff, No. 8, Gabriel Dominque Medley, No. 9 and Megan Elizabeth Puckett, No. 10.

Students who had earned Associate of Arts and Science degrees were recognized by Dr. Herndon and Dr. Anne Hayes, Assistant to the President of Southside Virginia Community College.

In addition to Wilkerson, other class officers of 2014 were vice president Aaron Paul Slabach, secretary Emma Grace Worsley, sgt. at arms, Mary Allison Popek, treasurer, Imani Chanel Brayboy and historian Shanique Shaquilla Osborne.

Commencement speeches

Marian Taylor Strange

Life is a race. It is a long journey of repetitive turns. You must learn from each lap you complete, and make adjustments accordingly. It takes endurance and determination. It also takes one heck of an attitude to complete.

Many of you may not remember our freshman speech from Mr. Randolph, but one comment he made has been held in my mind for the past four years. We were all trying to talk over him and be as unmannered as possible. When we ceased to quiet down, he made the remark that “the class of 2014 has a ‘show me’ attitude. “Show me’ you are going to take my hat. “Show me; you will write me up for back talking. “Show me’ you will suspend me if I continue to disobey.” He followed these remarks with the statement, “I will show you. I will show you all.”

So throughout our turns here at Halifax County High School, he has continued to show us time and time again that he will not put up with our nonsense. However, he is not the only one that has shown something. We, the class of 2014, have shown him and everyone around us a thing or two.

We showed our friends that we don’t really care what they say behind our back, because we probably said the same thing about them. We showed the dress code we wear what we like and we are not that sorry if you do not approve. We showed our teachers that we love our phones so much that we will not let them leave our hands at any point during the instructional period. We showed our anatomy teacher that we could skin and gut a pig just as fast as the deer we killed last Saturday. We showed our parents that we like to party and we like to sleep until noon the next day to recover. But more importantly we showed our teachers we could complete what was asked of us. We showed our town that we could come together during tragedies and put our faith in the Lord’s hands. We showed our parents we love them, and we want to make them proud. AND FOR GOODNESS SAKES, WE SHOWED MR. RANDOLPH WE COULD COMPLETE THE MISSION!

Now it is time to show ourselves a little something. Romans 12:2 states, “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of the world.” This means do not let the world tell you what you should be. Show yourself you ARE going to become something BIGGER, something BETTER, something that you will look back on one day and say, “Man, I sure showed them.”

2 Corinthians 4: 8-9 states, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but are not destroyed.” This verse is dear to me. It has gotten me where I am today. We must remember that greatness does not come without hardships, difficulties and obstacles. In order to be successful, we must endure the struggles.

That being said, this graduation ceremony is not the end of the race. It is only a mere two-tire and gas pit stop on your way to the finish line. You must face the cautions and bear the smoke and debris head-on along life’s tiresome laps. You may acquire some dents and scraps, but you must show both your fans and your enemies what you are made of. Show them you will make it. Show them you are a winner. Show them you are the best. Just show them. Show me. Show yourselves. Show them all.

Ethan Rosche

Good morning. I’d like to welcome everyone and thank you all for being here. But first let me take a selfie.

Now… thank you to all the parents, teachers administration and faculty of Halifax County High School. It is because of your support and encouragement that we are all here today celebrating this special day.

I’m proud to say we’ve finally made it! We have accomplished the mission successfully. I can tell that you all are ready to get this underway so I will skip to the end of my speech, because let’s face it we all want to get out of this hot gym and get ready for Beach Week.

I’ll spare the whole baby bird with the nest and the worm and whatever speech. It’s trite and just reiterates every grad speech ever given. Jimmy Lovine once said, “That diploma you hold in your hands today is really just your learner’s permit for the rest of the drive through life. Remember, you don’t have to be smarter than the next person, all you have to do is be willing to work harder than the next person.” All of us couldn’t wait until we had our learners permit: it was a mile marker in high school because a short nine months later we got our license, aka freedom! Well today we receive our learner’s permit to continue our journey for the rest of our lives. Some of us will be entering the real world and beginning careers while others are continuing their education to earn a Bachelor’s or even a Master’s degree. Whichever path you have chosen, I encourage all of you to work your hardest and achieve all that you can. Along the way, don’t forget to be open to having new experiences and meeting new people. These next few years will be some of the most memorable of your lives — a time you will look back on fondly, so hang on and enjoy the ride. You don’t need to be top of the class, you don’t need to have straight A’s, you don’t need to study your life away… you simply need to do the best that you can and live the best life you can!

To conclude this speech my fellow graduates, today is our day, we’re off to Great Places, we’re off and away! Up until this point we were children, some more so than others. Some of us had it rough and others had it easier. We all know what it took to get us this far. But this a jumping off point, only the beginning of our journey. We have slowly learned how to make decisions for ourselves, and now we are to the point where each choice we make is all on us. So go out enjoy the summer, preferably no jail time next week if you can help it… make the most of our opportunities and with that I bid you adieu, CLASS OF 2014.

Krunal Patel

We made it! After four years of hard work, we are finally here. This is the day we have been waiting for all year long. We have had a long journey. I remember the first day at this high school when we stepped off the school bus very nervous but also very excited. We had no idea what awaited us. We wandered through the halls looking for classes because we had no idea where they were, but now we know this place like the back of our hand. This is the place where we grew up and became young adults.

We share many memories from these four years. Some of them are good, like the Comet Crazy basketball games and some of them not so much. We will remember the memories we made in this school for a long time. This school has taught us important life lessons in the four years that we’ve been here. It taught us that hard work and dedication pay off. But it also taught us that we need to enjoy the little things. We need to be thankful for everything and everyone we have in our lives. Friends and family are important and we need to show our appreciation for them. Aristotle said. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellency, then is not an act, but a habit.” So I tell you friends, whatever you do, whether it is getting a job, going to college, or going to the military, strive to be excellent every moment of your lives. Change the world by changing yourselves. Don’t forget the lessons learned at this school. And last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to turn up!

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