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Long County graduates record number
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Graduates line up to hug the teachers and administrators who had impacted them during high school. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
Long County High School conducted its 2007 graduation ceremony Friday with 102 seniors receiving diplomas at Veterans Stadium.
The class of 2007 was the largest graduating class in the history of the school, and that was obvious as the home bleachers were packed to capacity, and other well-wishers lined the fence and sat across the field in the visitors’ stands.  
Class President Rochelle Foerstel welcomed everyone and shared her thoughts on how the graduates would begin their new journeys the next day with much responsibility and no excuses.
She also expressed gratitude to the teachers who had taught the class, saying, “We are thankful for you telling us what we needed to know, instead of what we wanted to hear.”
In closing, she told the graduates to always have dreams, because, “A person, who can dream, always has hope.”
Salutatorian Anthony Merritt told his classmates they had been given a solid foundation for success, and urged them to, “Be who you are, and not who others want you to be.”
Valedictorian Sarah Leggett quoted the class motto, from Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
She also, retraced each graduate’s path through elementary, middle and high school. She challenged her classmates to harness their talents and told them to never give up pursuing their goals.
Superintendent Dr. Edwin Pope talked about the challenges of achievement. He said the path to excellence was never easy and is always an uphill journey.
He urged the graduates to identify their strengths, nurture them and use them for their pursuit toward excellence.
Pope also told the class to be courageous and cited Jesus Christ as an example of courage, saying He stood by in silence as others made false accusations toward Him.  
“When a person gives his life for a higher call, that is courage,” Pope said.
He told each graduate to think highly of himself and to remember, “That you are a shining star on your family tree.”
Class vice president Greg Holmes gave the class farewell.
With his voice cracking from emotion, he thanked the Blue Tide family for the help and support each student had received during high school.  He gave a special thanks to all the parents, saying, “We are thankful for our parents. Your love is the most precious gift you have given us.”
As Pope and Long County High School Assistant Principal David Edwards presented the diplomas, tears flowed and cameras flashed. Afterward, teachers and administrators lined up, and the class went down the row hugging each one and personally thanking them.
Then it was more tears as parents and friends gathered with their graduates to take even more pictures, give out balloons, flowers and other tokens to remember the night.
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