On Wednesday, June 12 at 6:30, a beautiful evening at Schollenberger Field at Laurel High School, the district administration and school faculty and staff said goodbye to the class of 2019. The ceremony saw 110 members of the class cross the stage to receive their diplomas.
Dr. Stephanie Smith, principal of Laurel High School, opened the ceremony by welcoming the class and their families and thanking them for a job well done.
“After losing my husband in April,” said Smith, “I have reflected back on three things my high school principal Chet Baltz once told me. One, find something to do, two, find something to love, and three, find something to hope for. As you leave here tonight, you are going to find something to do in the world. You will work, go into the military or will find another passion in your life. When you find someone to love, don’t take anything for granted. Enjoy each day. There will be tough days and easy days, but that person will become your best friend. Don’t lose sight of that. Finally, everyone will tell you the adult world is not easy or fair. It will get better as you work toward a goal. Do your best at finding all of these goals and become all you can by dreaming.”
Laurel’s superintendent, Dr. Shawn Larrimore addressed the class with a passionate speech.
“In all of your school years you have been asked nearly a million questions,” Larrimore said. “In your career you will be asked many more. I will ask one more as the capstone to your education here at Laurel High School. Before I ask the question, I have a small story. In English class you always read stories about a hero’s journey. Many popular stories have many events where a hero is called to action. The hero always encounters a problem and they must take action. The hero must answer the call. Will the hero save the world? Consider this as your first act of your career. The final question I have for you is ‘will you answer the call?’ We will need a Bulldog to answer the call. Will you answer the call? When adversity calls, answer the call, be a Bulldog and go and conquer the world.”
Class Valedictorian Brendyn Vanderslice then spoke to the class. “My Poppy taught me passion and kindness. Be nice to people. Little acts of kindness can go a long way. I had a close friend die which taught me not to take life for granted, just like my Poppy told me. Go do something good. I have learned so much during my time here at Laurel High School. I want to thank my family, classmates and teachers for everything. Bye bye school, hello real world.”
Class Salutatorian Lyncie Etienne explained to the class how honored she was to be standing on the stage as the salutatorian. “I am so honored to be standing before you tonight. We have met many challenges as a class and are looking forward to new experiences. I want to help people in the world. I once met a man who told me to open a soup kitchen to help people. I will always remember him. Aim high; after tonight life begins. Make a positive difference. Use your voice and use your feet to follow the right path. Always remember where you came from Laurel grads.”
The class gift to the school was presented by Leah Darling, class president and Kassie Carey, class vice president. The class gave the school four gifts: new bulletin boards, $500 to the class of 2020, $250 to the incoming freshman class to help them get started and $200 to the junior class for next year’s prom.