Liberty County High School graduated 240 seniors Saturday night in a commencement ceremony at Donell Woods Stadium.
“We’ve been working towards this moment for the past 13 years,” class President Nicholas Carter said. “Commencement, by definition, means beginning, so we should think of this moment — this graduation — as the beginning of the next chapter of our lives.”
The ceremony began at
7 p.m. with the graduates processing to their seats as the LCHS band played the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance.” The JROTC color guard then presented the colors, and everyone in the stadium rose to their feet for the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem.
Following Carter’s remarks, salutatorian Jaquan Hutcherson reflected on the accomplishments of his fellow graduates.
“… Even with all the trials we’ve been through in the first three years of high school, somehow we have made it to graduation and managed to accomplish a great deal in our final year,” he said.
According to Hutcherson, 84 graduates completed two or more of the required pathways for graduation. Ninety-six graduates will receive the HOPE Scholarship, and 28 will receive the Zell Miller Scholarship. Five students are receiving athletic scholarships, and a total of 31 scholarships from various community organizations and universities are being awarded to LCHS grads.
Hutcherson also said that eight students completed certified nursing-assistant training, while 163 seniors successfully completed end-of-pathway assessments, and six seniors were inducted into the 1800 Club, which recognizes outstanding SAT and ACT scores.
Following Hutcherson’s address, class valedictorian TJ Standard delivered a challenge to his fellow classmates.
“I hope you have many failures,” Standard said. “I challenge you to fail, because failure is an attempt at success — at least you tried. I hope you have many failures, but even more encounters with success.”
Liberty County School System Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee also offered remarks.
“This is a very proud moment for you, and for those who love you,” Lee said. “It’s a very proud moment for me, because you are my first Liberty County High School graduating class as your superintendent.”
Lee called on the graduates to continue to move forward and not grow complacent.
“I encourage you to be ready for what is to come, and not to be comfortable with what is,” she said. “You can accomplish whatever you set your mind to do. If anyone says you can’t, speak faith into your own destiny.”
LCHS Principal Paula Scott then presented the honors and awards. Forty-one students graduated with honors, and eight received departmental awards, which are voted on by faculty members. In order to receive a departmental award, a student must be enrolled in a Liberty County school for at least two years; maintain an overall grade-point average of 80; take at least three classes within the department; participate in a related club or activity; maintain good attendance; have no major disciplinary infractions; and exhibit excellence in all related coursework.
The departmental awards were presented as follows:
• English award: Coshawn Egan
• Fine-arts award: James Mack
• Mathematics award: Jessica Kohler
• Abraham Williams Memorial Award: Zachary Johnson
• Physical-education award: Jordan Waters
• Science award: TJ Standard
• Social-studies award: Jaquan Hutcherson
• Technical-career award: LaTesha Brandon
Scott then presented the Outstanding Senior Award to Mary Wilson. This award distinguishes the senior who exhibits exemplary leadership and character, as voted on by faculty members. According to Scott, Wilson demonstrated good attitude and outstanding leadership ability through participation in school and community extracurricular activities and showed potential for future success. The award included a check to assist in purchasing college supplies.