The Long County school system entered into a new era back in March when they named David Edwards its new superintendent. On the morning of Saturday, May 18, they ushered in what could be a new tradition when they held their graduation ceremony at 9 a.m.
Thousands of friends, family members, and peers piled into Veterans’ Stadium in Ludowici to witness 196 seniors receive their diplomas as the class of 2019 participated in their commencement Saturday morning. The students, teachers, and guests were welcomed by Class President and 2018-19 Star Student Mykala Jackson as she gave her fellow classmates sound advice for the future.
The welcome was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance by Parliamentarian Jose Boyd before Class Vice President and Salutatorian Mackenzie Pattison took to the podium to address her classmates. She quoted several people throughout her speech, including Steve Carell’s character Michael Scott from the award-winning sitcom “The Office,” one of her favorite shows, and former NFL football coach Vince Lombardi. One of her most memorable lines, however, came from actor Bradley Whitford.
“Take action. Every story you've ever connected with, every leader you've ever admired, every puny little thing that you've ever accomplished is the result of taking action. You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life.”
Pattison then reflected on a few memories, like taking home the fake baby from Early Childhood Education classes and “realizing very quickly that babies can be extremely annoying and needy” or Vice Principal Michael Taylor singing on the announcements in the morning. She also gave a special thank you to her mother, Jackie, who was a beloved member of the Blue Tide nation and passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer last year.
Finally, students made their way across the stage with 42 honor graduates, including Jackson, Pattison, and Valedictorian Bethany Ross, leading the way. After Edwards certified the students for graduation and informed them to turn their tassels, Class Secretary Joshlynn Crews gave one final farewell to her classmates.
In an emotional speech, she reminded students to never stop chasing their dreams and to always keep going. She said she wanted to see if they achieved their goals at their class reunion in the future, including one student becoming a police officer and “helping me get out of my speeding tickets.”
It was an overall great day for the Class of 2019 and they will certainly look to the future as they begin their lives outside of high school, wherever that may take them.