By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: June 27, 2019 | 9:39 a.m.
SUSSEX – Torrential rain couldn’t dampen the mood of the crowd gathered at the Sussex Central High School Friday night to celebrate Graduation 2019. The ceremony was jubilant and included inspiring words in addresses by present and future leaders of the community.
Following the opening ceremonies and a welcoming address by Class President Yasmeen Jones, Salutatorian Armani Cheilchani and Valedictorian Zhane’ Vaughan shared thoughts on graduation and going into the future. Then Mrs. Jacqueline Elliott introduced the Commencement Speaker, Dr. Melvin T. Stith, Sr.
Sith, a Sussex County native and self-described proud 1964 graduate of SCHS, first talked about his nine siblings, all SCHS graduates, and successful professionals, and indicated that graduation is not the end but a new beginning.
Then the Interim President of Norfolk State University went on to share inspirational thoughts on pillars for a good life. There were a number of memorable quotes from his speech, such as, “Always remember the struggle and sacrifice of those who came before you,” “Do not allow others to define you. Follow your dreams; it is your life,” “Never depart from the core values that have been instilled in you by your parents, teachers and this community,” “Never take yourself too seriously. Laugh and love a lot,” and a quote from Plato, “Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard fight.”
Then Drexes Pierce, Professional School Counselor at Sussex Central High School recognized the winners of a great number of scholarships received by the class of 2019, after which the moment for which every senior and parent had been waiting arrived – time for the seniors to cross the stage one by one to receive their diplomas amidst great celebration.
The Acceptance of the Graduating Class by Superintendent Jarrett and, in particular, the confirmation of the class brought on some of the biggest smiles of the night, with graduating seniors and parents and friends alike enthusiastically applauding.
Following the traditional switching of the tassels, all the seniors took one last walk down the back hall where teachers waited to congratulate and wish them well before they filed into the cafeteria to pick up the actual certificates of graduation. Laughter mingled with tears as they were saying goodbyes to their classmates before heading out to meet their families and friends. It was easy to imagine that many just now were realizing that, as they move on into the next phase of their life’s journey, this might be the last time seeing some of the people with whom they had spent much of the last twelve years.
But smiles returned to the faces as The prevailing mood of hope throughout the graduation ceremony was aptly summarized in the 60th Commencement Exercises program booklet by the words of Class President Yasmeen Jones when she said, “… let us take on each new challenge with confidence, with the necessary tools to overcome obstacles and embrace new horizons.”