Newberry High graduates encouraged to find themselves

Govanna Gamez and Maria Espino make sure they are looking their best before the start of Friday night’s graduation ceremony.

Kenley Longshore and Kelsey Underwood pose before the start of the graduation ceremony.

Jose Alvarez and Cesar Sosa couldn’t wait to walk across the stage to graduate from Newberry High School.

Soon-to-be graduates gathered in the cafeteria of Newberry High School as they waited on the ceremony to begin.

NEWBERRY — It took the 140 Newberry High School graduates 13 years of schooling to arrive to the moment but at 8:20 p.m. Friday in the Willie L. Scott Sr. Gymnasium, senior class president Codi Lester ordered her fellow graduates to turn their tassels to their left signifying they were each now an alumnus of NHS.

After spending three years as their principal at the Newberry Middle School, Katrina Singletary followed this year’s graduating class to Newberry High four years ago.

“When it was announced that I would be promoted with you and become your principal at Newberry High School, there was a mixture of relief that you would have a familiar face going with you,” Singletary said. “While some of you moaned and groaned about that familiar face, we continued to grow together as we taught you more about responsibility, how to build good character and to give you the skills that you would need to be able to prosper in college, the military or in the work force.

Singletary told the soon-to-be graduates that what was right was not always popular and what was popular was not always right.

“As Audrey Hepburn said, ‘Nothing is impossible as the word itself says I’m possible,’” Singletary said.

Salutatorian Hetal Patel encouraged her fellow classmates to enjoy this time in their lives — after all, their main goal up until this point had been to graduate from high school.

“If we rushed through everything, we would miss out on the real jewels in life,” Patel said. “Don’t let life pass you by without appreciating what you have: family, love and support.”

Without family, love and support, Patel said they would not have gotten to where they were today. Patel encouraged her classmates by saying whichever way they went and whatever path they may choose next, to be sure to slow down and appreciate what they had around them.

“Remember how hard our families worked to get us through high school successfully. I hope you take time to slow down and enjoy the life that has been given you,” said Patel.

Keeping in mind the love and family support she had been given, valedictorian Bailey Humphries recalled with her classmates a piece of wisdom that her parents had given her in middle school in the form of a quote inscribed on a necklace.

The quote, by E. E. Cummings, reads: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you truly are.”

“None of us will ever know what the future will hold. You can look ahead all you want but all you will see is a giant question mark,” Humphries said. “Each day is full of question marks and we are all courageous enough to live through them.”

Humphries said she did not think anyone was ever done growing or having courage and that they would all forever be growing toward who they truly were, with their main goal to be always trying to reach that person.

“My advice to you is the same as my mother and father’s advice to me,” Humphries said. “Have courage and become who you truly are.”