Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mount Airy High graduates told ‘be the light’

Mount Airy High School held its commencement ceremony Saturday, sending another class of graduates into the world to chart their path. Principal Jason Dorsett said it was bittersweet that it may be the last time the Class of 2023 are all together in one place.

The graduates marched into the stadium as friends and family clamored to get the best picture. Some graduates were more accommodating of the requests to look toward the camera than others.

Daniel Pitt, senior class vice president, got the affair underway with welcoming comments and introduced student body president Charlotte Hauser to offer a prayer.

The President’s Address was delivered by senior class president Mercer Meadows who brought along a time capsule she and friends buried four years earlier. Finding the time capsule proved challenging but with assistance it was located and retrieved.

Inside she said were items that represented a snapshot of what four teenage girls thought was important at that time. Items like scrunchies, a now moldy friendship bracelet, and a list of the boys who were crush worthy were included – as were letters to their future selves.

She said in her letter to herself she included a list of 15 items she had learned at 15, rather than share those she shared 23 lessons for the Class of 2023.

Some were suggestions like holding the door for the person after you or going dancing in the rain. Others came from a place of emotional depth like telling those you care about you love them and picking up the phone when your mother calls.

“Life is short, share as much love as possible,” she said and offered another lesson that “comparison will kill you.”

“Good things come and go, but at least they come,” Meadows said and added many of the accolades, accomplishments, and awards of high school would soon be left behind.

The graduates need to make their own way forward. “We need good nurses and lawyers. We need good teachers and welders. We need good policemen and good baristas, but first and more importantly we need good humans… Go out into the world and be good humans.”

Class Salutatorian Bryan Castillo said when the pandemic morphed spring break 2020 into an extended summer vacation, he “lost all concept of time.”

Nevertheless, he and his classmates managed through uncertain times, and he said he leaned into the notion “trust in the process.”

That process means after graduation, he and his classmates will be taking different paths forward. The Class of 2023 is sending 30% of its graduates to a four-year college, 49% are going to a two-year or trade school, 19% are entering the workforce, and 2% are joining the armed forces.

Castillo said, “The journey to success may feel or be longer for some of us graduates depending on what we aim to do. We’re all on the road to success: what success is to us.”

“We must trust the plans we have for ourselves will see reality, sometimes it just takes time, luck, or a bit of skill.”

He then echoed a theme from Meadows, “There is no need to compare ourselves to one another when we are all striving for different things. It’s all part of the process.”

Valedictorian Audrey Marion thanked her family, friends, and supporters for their support on the way and said her parents gifted her “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss as a graduation gift.

A thoughtful gift to be sure, she said what made it truly special were then notes inside, “From nearly every one of my teachers, coaches, and administrators from 2010-2023.” Her parents had them sign the book in secret through the years in anticipation of her graduation.

Their words captured a time in her life, and in her address, she related that to how music can do the same. Everyone can relate to music she said and gave a few songs that were the number one songs of a few of the years to mark the passage of time.

She admitted that kindergarteners honestly didn’t understand what Kesha was saying in the song TiK ToK. However, time went on and the kids of her age grew into old souls overnight thanks to Adele. “As 6-year-olds we sang about the scars of past love and reminisced over her we could have it all.”

In 2012 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took a melodic journey to the “Thrift Shop” which she said offered a message about individuality and the need to walk your own path.

From a lighthearted song, Marion extrapolated a lesson and shared it with the Class of 2023. “Oftentimes we stray from our plans or goals because we want to fit in. But in life, like in the song, there are many paths to a final destination.”

“Do not let someone else’s views or plans be the reason that you stop pursuing your own goals and dreams,” she said.

Before Dorsett had the students move their tassels, he reminded them that the crowd in Wallace Shelton Stadium and the Granite Bears community would always have their back.

“They will always be there for you, and you will need them for this next journey, one that will be rewarding but will also be faced with numerous challenges… Once a bear, always a bear.”

“Now you are moving into the adult world. Now you are on the doorstep of your future,” Mount Airy Schools Superintendent Dr. Kim Morrison said. “You have shown that you can overcome challenges, accomplish great things, and stand up proud for what you believe in.”

“The world needs you; it needs you just as you are: change makers, over-comers, hard workers, good friends, great young men and women who want to make a difference.”

“Take the lessons you have learned and all the advice your family has given you and go out and make your own future,” Morrison said. “Influence the world in a positive way and bring light to everyone around you.”



Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: