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Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll addresses WGHS Class of 2012

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By Alice Du Pont

Most high school seniors will not remember who the graduation speaker was in a year or less. But students at West Gadsden High School will long remembers that the Florida’s first African-American female Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, was their speaker.

"I don't remember who was the graduation speaker at my high school. All we wanted to do was get out of there, so I won't keep you," Carroll promised.

"Life is much like a highway. It is full of curves, roadblocks and detours. You must plan for the detours. There will be many peaks and valleys . But you have the tools. Your driver license is your education and the vehicle is your brain. "Remember I was here to celebrate this moment in your life, God bless you," Carroll told the seniors who gave her a standing ovation.

Many of the 66 WGHS graduates seemed to be prepared for the future. Four earned AA Degrees from tallahassee Community College because they were duel enrolled. They are: LaKendra Crittenden, (Salutatorian) Sidarius Berrieum, T'Kayla Tarvis and Eric McMillan (Valedictorian). Fourteen have signed with the military, 22 have been accepted in institutions of higher learning and others will enter the workforce.

Salutatorian LaKendra Crittenden told her fellow classmates that the evening was the culmination of 13 years of preparation for some and the beginning of new challengers for others.

"We meet graduation with mixed emotions. yesterday is gone and we're living today which is the beginning of our journey as young women and young men," she said.

Eric McMillan, valedictorian, thanked parents and families of the seniors, whom he said had faith in them.

"I leave behind all fear and doubt. There are two things I'm afraid of and that's God and my mother," he said.

"This evening, the West Gadsden High School family salutes you for all you have accomplished. More importantly, we hope that this graduation has brought about attitudes of success, completion, moving forward, anticipation and excite regarding the future, Celebrate this milestone being mindful that there are others to come. Our school's mission has been accomplished. You will receive a high school diploma and or associate degree, enter into a college or other post-secondary institution, join the workforce and honor enlistment agreements as you enter into a branch of the United States Armed Forces," said Pauline West, WGHS principal

She quoted Stephen R. Covey from "The 7 habits of Highly Effective Teens." 

"Therefore graduates, as you broaden your horizon, be proactive; begin with the end in mind; put first things first; think win-win; seek first to understand, then to be understood; synergize; sharpen the saw; and find you voice and inspire others to find theirs."