Majesta Morris, left, and Katie Mullen are all smiles as they complete a chapter of their life.
There were anxious moments throughout Friday afternoon as Cannon County High School administrators kept close tabs on the severe weather throughout the Mid-State area in an effort to determine whether to hold graduation ceremonies on Fred Schwartz Field or move them inside the gymnasium Friday night.
All school officials had to watch was the weather.
Cannon County seniors were anxious about closing one chapter of their lives and beginning the next.
In the end Mother Nature obliged as 160 Cannon County seniors earned their degree before a standing-room only crowd at Schwartz Field Friday night. Graduates made their way from the school to the football stadium, where they were greeted by hundreds of family members and friends who attended the milestone moment.
The weather - much like the graduates recognized on this night – was never a problem.
“We were watching the weather all day and hoping we would not have to move the event inside the gymnasium because if we did we would lose about 75 percent of our audience,” Cannon County High School Principal Tim Knox said. “We watched it and we tried to wait as long as we could to make a decision. It was all around us but it never hit here.”
In fact, it was a beautiful evening with blue skies, creating the perfect backdrop for an ideal evening. It is fitting that even Mother Nature cooperated with the Cannon County graduation exercises because the Class of 2010 proved to be highly supportive and productive throughout the high school experience.
The hard work and dedication is reflected in the nearly $1 million in scholarship money earned by the Class of 2010.
“It is a great academic class,” Knox said. “This class will receive almost $1 million in scholarship money. They have accomplished a lot and they are great kids. It’s a well-rounded group and we are proud of all of them.
“This is our biggest night of the year. This is why we get into teaching and why we do our jobs. This is the culmination of a long year, but a great year.”
Valadictorian Sabrina Gomar’s marvelous speech was a reminder of the great memories developed during the high school years, but she also reminded her peers not to forget the people who helped push them to reach this point. Gomar urged her fellow classmates to stay on course and continue to make “the right choices.”
“This is the last day we will all be together at the same place at the same time,” Gomar said. “The best memories we most likely will have will include our final days at Cannon County High School. We have work ahead of us but that does not mean we won’t have fun anymore. We will not have our parents or teachers there making sure we are on the right path.”
Sara Bowman, the 2010 Salutarian, drew a rousing ovation from classmates and attendees, as well as moments of laughter as she delivered a strong speech chronicling different aspects of the seniors’ lives and how they reached this point. It was funny, emotional and touching but more than anything, it was memorable.
“When we were freshman all we talked about was graduation and how we couldn’t wait,” Bowman reminded her classmates. “You are going to miss seeing these people you are used to seeing every day. I made some of my best friends and memories at this school. Now it is winding down. We are down to an hour or less.”
It was then Bowman looked at the Class of 2010 and provided perhaps the greatest of all advice, saying, “Let go of your grudges and focus on your favorite high school memories, and remember when you think you have gone as far as you can go then you are only halfway there. As proven by us being here tonight, you can make it!”
Friendships and memories were prevalent themes but as the ceremony unfolded one could easily decipher there is much more to Cannon County’s Class of 2010.
How much more will be determined with what they do with the next chapter of their life. The one that just closed was filled with success at varying levels and areas for the 160 graduates Friday night but as Bowman and Gomar pointed out, “this is just the beginning.”