Spirits soared for the Class of 2011 Friday evening as the graduates of DCHS bid farewell to the school and each other, closing this chapter of their lives and preparing to embark on new adventures.
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Each of the graduates filed onto the high school football field for the commencement to the playing of "Pomp and Circumstance" by the DCHS band as hundreds of friends and family members looked on. The DCHS Honors Chorus performed "A Whole New World" from "Aladdin" by Alan Menken.
Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition during the program. This year's White Rose Awards went to Ethan Duke and Britney Campbell while the Citizenship Award was presented to Wesley Burchfield.
The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from the class for outstanding achievement and leadership, academics, and other activities. The Citizenship Award is given to the senior who has demonstrated outstanding service, devotion and loyalty to DeKalb County High School. The honors students were also recognized during the program.
A total of 160 students received diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby as their names were called by Principal Kathy Hendrix.
The guest speaker was Jonathan Fontanez, who is the Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12 in the school system.
In her address to the Class, Valedictorian Britney Campbell urged her fellow classmates to keep their eyes on the future. "As each one of us crosses this stage tonight and goes into the world as a high school graduate, we cannot take our eyes off of the future. A very wise chemistry teacher told me this year, "if you're going to be a tree, be the biggest, leafiest tree that stands in the way of everything". I hope each of you take that statement to heart as I did. We have made many accomplishments to this date, and there is no doubt that we will make even more. Among us might be the next doctor to discover a treatment for cancer, the next political leader of our country, or even the next astronaut to make it to the moon. For those who believe that this is the end of the journey, you are wrong. Although this high school journey is ending, an entirely new and even more exciting journey awaits us," said Campbell.
"No one knows exactly where we will go in the future, or how we will get there. As we make our winding maps throughout life, may our paths cross from time to time and may you have success in everything you do. No mater what profession you choose, where you live, or who you choose to spend the rest of your life with, put everything you have into what you are doing and you will receive just as much in return. As you go out into the world, just remember, "Wherever you go, go with your heart," concluded Campbell
Class President Tyler Seymour, in his remarks, quoted Dr. Seuss in saying " You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the one who'll decide where to go," said Seymour.
"We have developed many long-lasting friendships and our high school years will always be a big part of us. Freshmen year, we prayed for this day to be here, and we are finally here. This will be the last time that we will be gathered as the senior class of DCHS. Thirteen years ago we began our journey, a journey in which we overcame obstacles, created friendships, and obtained memories that we will take everywhere we go in life. Class of 2011, I wish you the best of luck in what the future holds for you. Never forget the memories we have created, and the many friendships developed," said Seymour.
Jonathon Fontanez, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12, in his commencement address, admonished the graduates to "Seize the day". "There is a phrase that was originally used in an ancient Latin poem penned by Horace. The phrase is "Carpe Diem" which has been widely translated in modern times as "Seize the day!" There are many interpretations as well as misconceptions about this popular phrase; however, for our conversation this evening I want us to focus on this phrase in the context of making each moment in life count," said Fontanez.
"More specifically, I want us to wrap our minds around the notion of making the most out of each opportunity that comes our way. It has often been my experience in life, and I would dare say the experience of many in this audience tonight, that as life comes at us it is inevitable that opportunity often accompanies it. With each passing stride we take in life we are presented with opportunity. Some opportunities are greater than others and some opportunities we are given are . . . well . . . not so great. But, never-the-less as each opportunity knocks on the door of our life our destiny is forged by what we decide to do with those opportunities," said Fontanez
"Life, with all of its greatness, and wonder, and responsibility, many times presents us with the chance to choose a direction, a pathway if you will, that has the potential to forever altar the course of our future."
"There are no cookie cutter people! We are all different and what worked for one person may not necessarily work for another. I am not suggesting that we should not utilize the wisdom of those who have gone before us; in fact, I believe that it is critical for us to study the ways of and learn from our predecessors. I am saying; however, that we must be rational enough to understand and realize that each person has to eventually find their own way through life and the opportunities it affords to us. The Bible packages this thought in Philippians 2:12 by telling us to: ". . . work out your own salvation ," said Fontanez
"I want to leave you with this final thought; Carpe Diem. Graduates, I challenge you to "seize the day" and to take each opportunity as it comes with wisdom and with prayer and with thought. Let the wisdom that is found in your experience as well as the experience of others be your guide, but in doing so don't let anyone shove you off the trail of life. Stand on your own two feet and be the person that God made you to be! Choose to soar on wings like the eagles, high and free, able to decide what opportunities you will choose. Remember you are not like a chicken that was designed to be stuck on the ground. Soar high and free and seize the day! Congratulations," conducted Fontanez.
Lori Myrick, Guidance Counselor, recognized the Honor students. Those earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 are: Britney Campbell, Valedictorian 4.0; Martha Webb, Salutatorian 4.0, Nicholas Hale 4.0, Tia Menix 4.0, Olivia Norton 4.0, Heather Owens 4.0, Camry White 4.0, Clark Adcock, Lauren Adcock, Tyler Caldwell, Logan Clark, Stephanie Davis, Ethan Duke, Christina Hughes, Weston Rhody, Tyler Seymour, Justin Turner, Zackary Vantrease, and Quincie Winchester
Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Jessica Alderman, Elicia Cantrell, Justin Elmore, Katie Frazier, Randall Hansard, Cole Hawker, Rachel Hendrixson, Nioakah Johnson, Tyler Kent, Samantha Lewis, Brittany Malone, and Kristin Mick.
Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Brandon Adcock, Alesha Bass, Keeli Bullard, Wesley Burchfield, Tiffanie Burrage, Jessica Cantrell, Alisha Chapman, Kelly Cubbins, Kylie Dildine, Brady Evans, Dalton Fish, Makenzi Gibson, Kayla Hershman, Jessica Hodges, Whitney Houk, Amanda Hughes, Kayla Judkins, Tarren Kyle, Candance Lester, Mercedes Luna, Justin Moore, Shelby Mulloy, Taylor Poss, and Vickey Vickers.
The program began with Invocation by graduate Wesley Burchfield and ended with a benediction by graduate Ethan Duke, both of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) organization .
Members of the DCHS Class of 2011 receiving diplomas Friday night are:
Jarrett Adams, Brandon Adcock, Clark Adcock, Lauren Adcock, Matthew Adcock, Katelyn Agee, Jessica Alderman, Azalia Arroyo
Caleb Bain, Dalton Bandy, Alesha Bass, Taylor Baumgard, Jessica Billings, Cody Boner, Keri Bowman, Justin Bragg, Natonda Bratcher, Rod Brock, Dillion Brown, Keeli Bullard, Wesley Burchfield, Brandon Burke, Tiffanie Burrage,
Brittany Cade, Tyler Caldwell, Alexander Campbell, Britney Campbell, Chase Cantrell, Elicia Cantrell, Jessica Cantrell, Kaycee Cantrell, Matthew Cantrell, Perri Carter, Alisha Chapman, Logan Clark, Bradley Colburn, Fernanda Cortes, John Counts, Erica Cox, Jacob Cripps, Matthew Crowe, Kelly Cubbins, Josie Culwell, Jacob Cunningham,
Stephanie Davis, Kylie Dildine, Kathy Duggin, Ethan Duke, Natasha Durocher, Cassandra Dyer,
Whitney Easterwood, Justin Elmore, Jason Ervin, Brady Evans,
Keith Ferrell, Makayla Ferrell, Dalton Fish, Justin France, Jonathan Frazee, Dustin Frazier, Katie Frazier, Crystelle Furnival,
Makenzi Gibson, Matthew Giles, Billy Golden, Bobby Goodwin, Christian Greco,
Caleb Haggard, Nicholas Hale, Quentin Hale, Randall Hansard, Cole Hawker, Rachel Hendrixson, Kayla Hershman, Tyler Hicks, Jessica Hodges, Dane Holeton, Whitney Houk, Amanda Hughes, Christina Hughes, Kelley Hunt,
Christopher Johnson, Nioakah Johnson, Kayla Judkins, Kathryn Julien,
Tyler Kent, Kevin Kijanski, Bryan Kilgore, Jessica Knox, Tarren Kyle,
Keith Lafreniere, Jody Lattimore, Cameron Lester, Candace Lester, Samantha Lewis, Mercedes Luna,
Brittany Malone, Arianna Matthews, Shelby Maynard, Amanda McCardell, Charles McCutcheon, Brady McGhee, Tia Menix, Kayla Merriman, Kristin Mick, Justin Moore, Autumn Morris, Shelby Mulloy,
Shelly Newby, Blake Nichols, Karissa Nolton, Olivia Norton,
Heather Page, Kerry Page, Luke Partridge, Martin Perez, Cody Poss, Taylor Poss,
Ethan Ray, Jordan Reeder, Weston Rhody, Kevin Richards, Jennifer Rivera, Jesus Rivera, Ana Rodriguez-Cortes, Ciara Roehner, Dylan Roller, Allen Roysden,
Shane Salley, Tyler Seymour, Kristen Smartt, Brittany Smith, Sara Smith, Zachery Smoot, Chawn Snell, Skyler Songer, Sarah Stevens, Taylor Summers,
Joshua Taylor, Ryan Taylor, Alison Thomas, Devin Thomas, Takeshia Thomason, Hailey Thweatt, Janeth Torres, Nathan Turner, Justin Turner,
Zackary Vantrease, Trenton Vickers, Vickey Vickers,
McCullough Wallace, Martha Webb, Camry White, Michael Whitefield, II, Destry Wiggins, Quncie Winchester,
Mitch Young, and Tiffanie Youngblood