By Carol McIntire
Carrollton High School Valedictorian Anna Truman and Salutatorian Kady Davis offered classmates advice and lessons during the 134th annual commencement exercises May 27 held in a steamy hot Bell-Herron Middle School gym.
As the two seniors presented their speeches and the heat settled in, the chairs and bleacher section turned into a sea of waving programs as guests attempted to move what little air was in the building their way.
Truman reminisced about her school days, recalling in particular that when it rained while students were on the playground, the teachers would herd them under a little pavilion on the playground.
“Now I don’t know if you have ever seen 100 five-year-olds in a cramped space, but it’s not an easy thing to control,” she said. “So the teachers came up with a brilliant tactic to keep us occupied. They told us if we sang ‘Rain, Rain Go Away’ loud enough and long enough the rain would stop.”
As she was sitting in school reminiscing about those days, she told the 184 graduates of the class of 2016 she didn’t remember one time when the rain didn’t eventually stop.
“It seemed like the song really did work, and all it took to stop a storm was a little bit of patience and a bunch of kids singing a song,” she said.
That memory, she said, helped her realize that as the students go to college, join the work force or the armed services, they are going to encounter a lot of storms.
“But just like when we were kids, we need to remember to step out of the rain for a little bit. We need to dry ourselves off and sing a song to stop the rain, even if it makes no sense to do this. Because logically, no storm can last forever, right? Eventually it will end.”
She told classmates life is full of “eventuallys” and as they leave Carrollton and go on, they need to remember that sometimes all they need to do to get through a storm is to step back, sing a song and believe it will end … “because sometimes believing in that eventually is all you need.”
Davis shared lessons the class can take with them from the Wizard of Oz.
Lesson 1: The yellow brick road isn’t all smooth and straight – you’ll encounter obstacles, roadblocks, hazards and detours. Be persistent.
She encouraged classmates not to be afraid when something new or challenging is thrown in front of them. “When you come to the fork in the road…take it!” she advised. “Challenges teach you to be creative and resourceful…”
Lesson 2: “Wear fabulous shoes!”
“Our shoes have taken us many places in high school. They’ve won championships, marched proudly with the best band around for miles and carried us through the halls of Carrollton High! Fabulous shoes are a must – they complete our attire and make a statement!
Lesson 3: “There are good witches and bad witches – both are your teachers.”
“I’m talking about those who have influenced us along the way. Some people have taught you good things and others have taught you bad things. Know the difference and trust your gut!
Lesson 4: “When you’re scared, hug your dog.”
“I’d be lying if I said I haven’t done this at least a few times and I’m sure going to miss my dog when I go to college and I’m sure some of you will miss yours too.”
Lesson 5:”Courage doesn’t always roar, but it does when it needs to.”
“Courage requires grit, guts and a sense of calm in the storm,” Davis said. She wished those entering the military the best of luck. “I admire your courage!” she said.
Lesson 6: “You have all the brains, courage and heart you need – you may just need someone to remind you once in a while.”
She thanked her family, teachers and staff at CHS for their guidance and support and for reminding students there is so much more to learning than the bookwork.
She led into the final lesson, No. 7, by saying there is no doubt in her mind the community and school prepared students for what comes next.
“Congratulations to all of you on completing this part of your life and good luck with whatever path you choose, and always remember Lesson 7: “There’s no place like home!”
Superintendent Dr. David Quattrochi received a round of applause when he told the crowd he was going to keep his remarks brief due to the heat. He wished the students the best of luck and congratulated them for their accomplishments.
Carrollton High School Principal Dave Davis highlighted statistics about the class of 2016:
*Twenty-two students earned honors diplomas; 10 are Graduates with Distinction and 28 are members of the National Honor Society.
*Maretta Babe achieved 12 years of perfect attendance.
*Sixty-seven students participated in the College Credit Plus program earning 1,005 semester hours of college credit totaling $154,368 in tuition savings.
*Students received community scholarships totaling $234,000.
*The class of 2016 earned an unbelievable $1,506,050 in scholarships.
Davis recognized Robert Bower, Austin Grisez, David Pesta, Trenton Phillips, Damon Pratt, Matthew Schlabach, Robert Taylor, Jr. and Charles Wright, who have enlisted in the armed forces.
“I commend you for this incredible act of ‘paying forward’ s that we all may continue to enjoy the freedoms that are paid for by our military men and women. I am humbled by your sacrifice… I thank you…your community thanks you…and I pray that God will protect you,” he hold the young men.
One hundred sixty nine students received diplomas from Quattrochi, Davis and members of the board of education as they crossed the stage.