After four years’ preparation, Bradwell Institute released 407 new graduates into the real world during commencement exercises Saturday evening at Liberty High School’s Donell Woods Stadium.
Following an invocation by senior class President Braylon Hyde, Principal Scott Carrier told the Class of 2012 he understood their mixed emotions — feelings of pride and apprehension. He said they should be proud of their accomplishment but that the apprehension they were feeling about an uncertain future was part of what made life exciting. He thanked BI’s faculty and staff for preparing the graduates to face the real world.
Salutatorian Retha Rowe built on Carrier’s comments, reminding her fellow students the pride they felt should include gratitude to their parents who supported and nurtured them through the years.
Valedictorian Chanelle Craig told her classmates to follow their dreams, whatever they might be. She noted that half her fellow students were planning to continue their education, while others planned to join the military and still others were hoping to go into the workforce.
Hyde expounded on Craig and Rowe’s comments with sermon-like enthusiasm, and then presented Carrier with a “memory plaque” as the senior-class gift.
Carrier, Liberty County Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer and Liberty County Board of Education Chairman Lily Baker presented diplomas to graduates.
As students received their diplomas and marched back to their seats, many waved to loved ones who filled both sides of the stadium. One young lady found it too difficult to walk across the field in high heels and ended up receiving her diploma in her bare feet.
When all students had received their diplomas, Carrier pronounced them graduates, advising them they could move the tassels on their graduation caps from the left to the right. At that moment, hundreds of caps went flying into the air.
“I’m going to a school in Michigan,” said an excited Vincente Van Brussel. “I’m going to learn how to build guitars, but first I’ll have to learn all about lutes. That’s the stringed instrument that the guitar was based on.”
Equally excited to the point of tears, Lena Nicole Porter had to gather her composure to talk about her college plans. The honor student, and Beta Club and National Honor Society member said she graduated with a 94 average.
“I’m going to Young Harris College,” said Porter, who has received a scholarship to attend the private college in Georgia’s mountains. “My family is originally from that part of the state, but I’ve lived here since I was 4.”
Porter, whose favorite subjects are math and science, said she plans to major in elementary education and become a teacher.