Marking a milestone

-A A +A
By Robert Allen

The last strain of “Pomp and Circumstance” has played for Gadsden County’s 2014 high school seniors. This past week tassels were turned for the members of four graduating classes now ready to explore the next chapter in their lives.


East Gadsden 

High School

East Gadsden High School’s class of 2014 commenced at 9 a.m. on May 24. The school’s gymnasium reached capacity for the ceremony. Both sets of bleachers, floors seats and standing room were all filled. An additional crowd observed the ceremony from the cafeteria via video monitor. 

“Despite all we’ve learned, we still haven’t learned much at all,” said Meaghan Sapp, EGHS’s valedictorian, in her address. “We have so much more to explore about life, about work and about relationships.”

Reginald James, superintendent of Gadsden County schools, spoke at both public high schools’ commencements. At East Gadsden he reminded the students from where all blessings come — and asked the graduates to never forget the power of prayer. He also encouraged them to actively build futures. He told them if opportunity does not knock they should tear down the doors. 

James also warned the graduates against feeling too big just yet, lest they go home and tell their parents they’re all grown adults. The superintendent said “grown” is when you pay your own way in life — and he tried to impress upon the graduates the price their parents had paid to get them this far. His reminder was met with cheers and applause from the audience. 

James told graduates they have to now choose to do something. He told them high school is a foundation for a future, not an ending. He warned the graduates to make sure they know where they want to go — or they won’t want to be where they eventually 

find themselves. 

West Gadsden 

High School

West Gadsden High School’s class of 2014 commenced at 6 p.m. on May 23. 

Their gymnasium also reached capacity. A crowd formed outside the gymnasium and when people left during the ceremony, they were told they could not be guaranteed re-admittance. 

Walter McNeil, chief of the Quincy Police Department, spoke at the West Gadsden commencement. He acknowledged the difficulties in the years ahead for the new graduates — and he urged them to avoid self-defeat before even having a chance to face these challenges. Punctuated by applause from the bleachers, he asked the class of 2014 to vow they would never spend a moment in jail. He also asked them to make sure they don’t become parents before they are prepared. 

The chief reminded the graduates worthy pursuits are seldom easy. He told them they would have to go out and “tackle” life. 

Ashley Grimes, WGHS’s valedictorian, called attention in her speech to the painfully finite period of time she and her classmates each have in life — and spurred them to do the most and best they can with it. 

Tallavana Christian School

Tallavana Christian School had their commencement at 6 p.m. on May 22 at Centenary United Methodist Church in Quincy. The ceremony combined the school’s graduation and baccalaureate event. 

“We are about to face the real world,” said Tayler Stephens, Tallavana’s valedictorian. “Now is the time to put everything we have learned into practice.”

Stephens, noticeably moved by the occasion, asked her classmates to recognize the value of the time they spent growing together at school and at home. 

“Let nothing we have learned and experienced be wasted,” said Stephens. ‘Take every precious moment we have had and treasure it.”

Robert F. Munroe Day School

Robert F. Munroe Day School held their commencement at 7:30 p.m. on May 22 at the Leaf Theatre in Quincy. The 12 graduates sat in a row across the stage as they received various academic and extra-curricular honors for their performance at RFM. 

Blake Norman, RFM’s valedictorian, told the audience there was no sadness in this particular goodbye because he and his classmates were eager and excited to move on.