The gymnasium at Bryan County High School was filled to capacity on Saturday as the administration, family and friends of the graduating class of 2007 came to the see the 109 graduating students, 19 with honors, formally receive their high school diplomas.
"I’m happy for them, and I’m happy for this community," said BCHS Principal Harold Roach. "To our graduating seniors who are planning to now enter college and the work force, we feel like we’ve given them the training and the edge that they’ll need to compete."
"Whatever they do, we just want them to be a success, and we feel like we’ve done the best we can do to move them in that direction," Roach continued. "The community has been tremendously supportive, the parents have been supportive, and the kids have worked hard. There have been many components and hard work that came to a head here today. Today is about the kids, and we’re so very proud of them."
"It’s always sad to send another class off, but I enjoyed the time I spent with the class of 2007," said Assistant Principal Rod Bachman. "I have great hopes for their future as they were a great class."
The ceremony opened with honor student and recent STAR student recipient Melody Swicegood leading the pledge of allegiance. This was followed by opening remarks from honor student and recent Governor’s Honors Program attendee Rachel Allen who thanked the parents, teachers, staff, administration, family and friends of the graduating class.
Next up, Lyndsay Anderson and Brittany Creech dueted a tear-jerking rendition of Lee Ann Womack’s "I Hope You Dance" which. Lyrics such as "whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens" seemed to hit an emotional chord with some parents and students, as many were moved to tears.
Valedictorian Meredith Shuman and Salutatorian Joshua Stanfield both gave speeches. Stanfield chose to quote "Oh the Places You’ll Go", from the late Dr. Seuss, to make a statement about the future of he and his fellow graduates.
"We must always remember where we came from and the people and experiences that have made us who we are today," said Stanfield, who starts at UGA in July. "I’m a little nervous about going to college, but I’m excited that I get to start a new part of my life. There are a lot of good memories here at Bryan County High School, and I’m going to miss all my friends."
"Our years at Bryan County has prepared us for the journey we are about to start as adults," said Shuman. "As we embrace our future, some of us will become welders, some teachers, some business leaders. It’s up to each and every one of us what we become, but we will always be Redskins."
The entire Bryan County Board of Education attended the ceremony. They took seats on the stage during the presentation.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sallie Brewer and Chairman Eddie Warren gave out diplomas to students after their individual introductions.
"The high school staff did a wonderful job coordinating the ceremony," Brewer said. "It was an A-plus production. It’s always my pleasure when children culminate thirteen years of schooling in Bryan County. I’m very proud of them."
"I thought it was a very dignified ceremony, and I’ve never seen a more enthusiastic crowd," said BoE Vice-Chairman Frances Meeks. "I feel confident that they are well prepared to take that step to the next level."
See video at www.bryancountynews.net.