Graduating seniors said their farewells to DCHS as students during Friday night's commencement.
Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition. This year's White Rose Awards went to Eli Cross and Kayley Caplinger while the Citizenship Award was presented to Luke Green
The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from the class for strong academic performance and exemplary moral character. The award winners are determined by the faculty.
The Citizenship Award, chosen by the faculty, is presented to a student who exemplifies strong academic performance and contribution to DCHS and the community.
The honors, distinction, and top rank students were also recognized during the program.
The 177 graduates received their diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands and posing for pictures with Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and DCHS Principal Dr. Kathy Bryant as their names were called by Assistant Principal Jenny Norris.
In her remarks, Valedictorian Rachel Fuson urged her classmates to “always do your best and never quit regardless of adversity”.
Quoting Inky Johnson, a motivational speaker who once played as a defensive back for the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Fuson said “People quit because they don’t have pride in what they do. People stop because they’re selfish and it’s just about them. Whatever you start, you make sure you finish. And the problem with the world today is people get involved with things and if they don’t like a certain person, they don’t like the process, if it’s not what they thought it was, they quit. The process is more important than the product. It’s about can you take pride in what you do as an individual and every night, can you look in mirror knowing that you gave everything you had to it. We have to get to the point where we’re willing to impose our will on certain things. At a certain point in life, it can’t just be about you, and the moment that we understand that everyday we wake up is a blessing and that life is a gift, and that if you were to check out today, how would you want to be remembered? It’s bigger than you.”
“I believe that this quote by Mr. Inky Johnson encompasses what we need to remember in our everyday lives,” said Fuson.
M2U02433 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
In closing, Fuson added “I’ve been anticipating this day for a very long time, just as everyone else has I’m sure, but I have never liked endings. But endings are always bound to happen, and today is an ending for us. We have to say goodbye to everything we’ve known and everything that is normal to us. But just because we are leaving and saying goodbye, that doesn’t mean we have to forget the people that have made us who we are. They’ll be with us for as long as we are alive. They are our foundation and our compass. They are the angel on our shoulder that will be in our hearts forever,” Fuson said.
MAH00044 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Madison Butler, Class President, admonished her friends to take five minutes to reflect on their high school years but to look ahead and “follow your dreams”. “ Graduates, before you leave tonight I urge you to take just five minutes to say goodbye to this place, because today is the day you leave behind twelve years of comfort to step out into the world and figure out what’s next. Figure out who YOU are, Figure out YOUR plan. Follow YOUR dreams. My favorite quote says, “Ignore what everyone else is doing and achieving- your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself. You are not in competition with anyone else.” Go out into the world and find new adventure. When one ends, move on to another. And remember, its okay to give yourself just five more minutes. But then, move on to greater things,” she said.
The DCHS Band opened the program with Pomp and Circumstance as the graduates filed onto the field.
Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department Honor Guard presented the flags and then Hunter Robinson led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The remainder of the program was as follows:
Invocation by Luke Green, member of the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes)
Alma Mater by the DCHS Band and Chorus
Music by the DCHS Chorus" "How Do I Say Goodbye" written and performed by Erica Birmingham and then "Humble and Kind", McKenna, performed by the Vocal Music II Class accompanied by Brady Driver and Erica Birmingham.
Introduction by Class President Madison Butler
Address to the Class by Valedictorian Rachel Fuson
Recognition of Honors and Distinction students by Guidance Counselor Lori Myrick
Recognition of Top Rank and Service by Guidance Counselor Shelly Painter
Presentation of White Rose and Citizenship Awards by Principal Dr. Kathy Bryant
Presentation of diplomas by Principal Bryant and Director of Schools Patrick Cripps
Benediction by Steven Jennings, FCA member
Recessional by DCHS Band