The 50th annual graduation exercises of the Twin Valley Community Local School District saw 62 students take their first steps into the future.
The ceremony, held Thursday, May 29, at the Princeton Pike Church of God in Hamilton, was opened by co-valedictorian Michael Randolph.
“This night is dedicated to the young men and women who have dedicated their time and efforts to their education,” Randolph said. “This night celebrates the strong, brave and persevering students who have given everything they had to better themselves.”
Helen Holman, class of 2014 co-valedictorian, lightened the mood.
“These past few weeks I’ve pondered over what I could possibly say. I asked some friends and family for advice. My mom told me to sing my speech, which I adamantly turned down. Sorry, mom. You don’t want to hear me sing.
“I was also told to do what I want. That doesn’t really help me out much. So I decided to turn to my best friend Google for the answers because let’s be honest — we all know Google helped us with our homework more often than not.
“This time though, Google couldn’t give me any answers or at least not any good ones. And that’s when I realized I have no advice to give. I may be considered a leader in this class and I worked hard to get to the top, but outside of the school system am I really a hard worker? I don’t think I’m qualified to give life advice. I’ve never been employed. I hate working with children. I can’t cook anything but chicken nuggets and my speaking skills are almost non-existent.
“Sometime, I still put my shoe on the wrong foot like I did this morning. I currently do not possess any of the skills to make it in the real world. But I know for a fact that my peers do. My fellow peers have worked countless hours in fast food joints. They know how to fix cars. They have the patience to work with any child and they will go far in life. I think it’s fair enough to say that the Class of 2014 will be a very successful, hardworking group of young adults. I can proudly say that we will go far and to make society a better place.
“Right now, we may all look alike because of our glorified bath robes and square hats, but we are all individuals with very unique futures ahead of us. All of us up here owe our successes to someone sitting in the crowd tonight and I think I should take the time to appreciate all the people who helped me.
“I would like to thank my arms for always being by my side. Also, a big shout out to my legs for supporting me, even though I almost broke my right shin a couple of times in cross country. Finally, I would like to thank my fingers because I can always count on them.
“Of course, I’m just kidding. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to many people. I would name specific people but there are too many to thank.”
Randolph also spoke to his classmates.
“It seems like yesterday we were running around the jungle gym, playing freeze tag, sliding down the slides, trading Pokemon cards and playing Four Square. Fast forward until now and we’re still basically doing the same things. Though freeze tag has been poisoned by cheating, and some of us, including me, get stuck in the slides. The Pokemon cards have faded and Four Square has the liability of knocking some of your teeth out.
“In a sense, it is something we must never lose. We must never lose sight of the good in the world.
“The Class of 2014 is one that cannot be broken. Our relationship with one another is an impenetrable bond that will last for all eternity. Each and every one of these people have been a part of my life and I will cherish all of them forever.
“Thirteen years ago the Class of 2014 stepped into the doors of Twin Valley South. We were eager to learn and we wanted recess. Recess was easy, but teaching over 60 students was the tricky part. The unsung heroes of every school are the teachers. They all work diligently to shape the minds of this great nation’s future generations.
“Thirteen years goes by a lot faster than any of us could have predicted. Four thousand, seven hundred forty-five days we have had to smile and laugh and cry. We cry for the loss of a loved one. We laugh at friends who make our days special, and we smile for the fact that tomorrow is real.
“I would like to leave all the people behind me with some advice,” Randolph said. “Live well. Laugh often and love much.”