Even before 8 a.m., people started arriving on the East Gadsden High School campus. By 8:45 a.m., the gymnasium, the venue for graduation was full and people were directed to go to the overflow room in the cafeteria. That, too, was filling up quickly.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I would ask you to make alittle more room. We have people still standing outside waiting to come in; some have come quite a distance so please let’s try to accommodate,” said Gadsden County School Superintendent Reginald James.
Graduation ceremonies can be loud, but after the EGHS principal asked for the noise to be kept to a minimum so names of all graduates could be heard, things quieted down.
Valedictorian Tiara Stroman said she and many of her classmates have had struggles in their young lives.
“I lost my father when I was 7 years old. It must have been tough on a single parent, and I know that some of you have been through more than I have but we go into the world to determine our future. I challenge you to remember the things you have learned here at East Gadsden,” she said.
She thanked the parents, faculty and staff and said “our success is your success.”
Jy’Shawn O’Neal, salutatorian, echoed Stroman’s words and added a few more. He said while the school and students have had negative comments from others, he is proud to be a member of the first class from EGHS to graduate from the school with a “C” letter grade.
“High school is what you make it, and we have made our last year a great year. Ten years from now when we have our reunion, I expect nothing less than success,” he said.
Valedictorian Stroman and Cierra Mathis also earned their associate’s degrees from Tallahassee Community College and will enter college as juniors.
In his charge to the graduates, James told them they are out of high school but they will not be “grown” until they can provide housing, clothing, food and transportation for themselves and just because high school is over, they should think twice about proclaiming they are adults.
Brianna Gordon was chosen class president; Rajia Christian, vice president; and Ja’Lyn McMillan, secretary.
The class motto is: “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.”