Observing previous senior classes prepare for graduation, the Thomasville High School Class of 2014 valedictorian imagined the journey to commencement would be like running a slow jog.
Valedictorian Rachel Smith thanked her parents for putting up with her panic attacks, rejoicing in her success, comforting her in failure and encouraging her to reach her full potential.
Most teachers, she said “did not think twice” about sacrificing their free time to help students study when the need was present.
Smith, who will attend Georgia Tech, became excited about finishing high school and becoming an adult. Soon, she became overwhelmed by deadlines that had to be met and decisions that had to be made.
“I started questioning if I really want to be an adult yet,” she told 115 classmates, half of whom are honor graduates.
Smith recalled pep rallies, hearing the school band, seeing the dance line, big home football games, involvement in sports and proms.
The Class of 2014 braved tests and filled out college, job and military applications for opportunities after high school, she said.
“And now we are at the cool-down point of this race,” she added.
Graduates, Smith said, “should run the pace that feels right for us as individuals.”
Annalee Jackson, Class of 2014 salutatorian, said it is up to graduates to keep an objective point of view.
”If we work hard, we can create our own futures,” she told fellow graduates.
Jackson said challenges will make graduates appreciate their accomplishments.
The THS Class of 2014 should take advantage of new experiences as graduates embark on the future, Jackson said.
Take advantage of life’s opportunities, challenging or not, Jackson advised classmates, and realize any trivial act could become one of life’s most treasured memories.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.