The smiles told the story. So did the tears. Havelock High School’s 228 seniors are now graduates.
At this point in their young lives, graduation is the biggest accomplishment most of them have had. I’m sure when they entered the school as freshmen that many didn’t even think about the day four years later when they would no longer be tied to the school. Graduation, after all, is a product of time.
But it is also a product of hard work. High school isn’t easy. It comes along right as teenagers start discovering who they are and who they want to be. Sometimes, those ideals clash with the authority figures in high school.
Teens simply want to skip the middle man, if you will, and get to where they want to be. They don’t want to have to endure another year of high school before they can get out and do what they want to do.
But, it’s all part of the process.
I’m often struck by the students who complain that they will never use algebra in their day-to-day lives once they leave school. They question why they have to take the course and why it matters. Heck, I was probably one of those students myself 30 years ago when I was in high school.
And now that I am far removed from high school, I feel I can tell these students the truth. They are right. They are not going to “need” algebra when they are out of high school. I will admit that I don’t use a lot of algebra in my job. It’s not very often I have to solve for X as a newspaper reporter.
But what the course and others like it did for me was to teach me how to properly think through a complex problem to find the correct solution. It’s not about memorizing the Pythagorean Theorem. It’s about understanding how it is used.
And it is with that knowledge that 228 graduates are now going off into the world.
Of course, this graduation was particularly special for me. My daughter was among the seniors who walked across that stage on a bright, sunny morning at Havelock High.
I have not mentioned my daughter Savannah a lot through the years. I never really thought it was quite fair for me to do so. After all, not every kid’s parent is the editor of the local paper. At times, I have gone out of my way not to mention her participation in things. I didn’t want anyone to say I was showing favoritism toward my daughter.
Still, I’m proud of her accomplishments at Havelock High as a cheerleader, track athlete and swimmer, and as a member in National Honor Society and Student Council, along with various other clubs, in her four years at Havelock High School.
But she was just one person in a big class, a class that accomplished great things. If you want to know how great, just look at all the academic awards and scholarships the Class of 2014 received. During the school’s recent Academic Awards Banquet, Principal Jeff Murphy announced nearly $1.8 million in scholarships for the 228 graduating seniors, about $7,900 in scholarships per student.
One student, Kendall Smith, received an appointment to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Another student, class salutatorian Nadiya Yerich, received East Carolina University’s highest academic scholarship, amounting to a four-year complete academic scholarship to the university. Andrew Gumbel, the class valedictorian, received a full ride Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Scholarship.
Of course, there are all kinds of speeches the graduates hear about what they are leaving behind and what they will face in the future. Some will say the hard work of life is just beginning for these 228 students. And you know what? That is probably going to be the case.
But I hope there’s one thing that they don’t forget as they get to where they are getting to, and that is to have fun. Life is too short not to enjoy it. High school offers some great memories but there is so much more to come.
So here’s to the Class of 2014. Your lives are just beginning. Make the most of it.
Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 444-1999 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.