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'Dream big, find joy' Holmes grads told

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Graduate Kayla Welch returns to her seat after receiving her diploma at John A. Holmes High School's graduation, Saturday evening.

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By Miles Layton
Chowan Herald

Monday, June 11, 2018

EDENTON — The bleachers were packed when Lindsey Huntress Britton gave the valedictorian address on Saturday at the John A. Holmes High School stadium.

"Dream big, be kind and find joy. Our life is not fulfilled and our successes do not stop when we walk across this stage tonight. I do not want this graduation to be our greatest accomplishment. A whole new world is opening up, and I want each and every one of us to thrive."

Dressed in blue graduation robes with gold trim, 143 graduates turned their tassels and were awarded their diplomas. The Class of 2018 earned more than $6.7 million in scholarship opportunities and will be attending colleges and universities across the Tar Heel state.

Salutatorian was Nezvat Winter Duruman.

“I am so honored to speak in front of such an accomplished group. As a class we have much to be measured. Measure our academic success by the six million dollars in scholarships. Measure our athletic ability by the students that are state and regional competitors and champions sitting before us. Even measure our love by the hundreds of people who endured the heat to watch us walk across this stage. But don’t let this be the end.”

JAHHS senior class had much to be proud of during their time at their alma mater with 41 members of the National Honor Society, 30 North Carolina Scholars, a state championship in baseball, a Superior rating for the Aces' Marching Band and the list goes on and on.

“In the near future, you will experience a change in your life,” JAHHS Principal Stephen Wood said. “Change is inevitable. Change happens all the time. Embrace it. Change is what you make of it. Just look at the changes that have happened since you first entered ninth grade. As you stand on the brink of moving to the next chapter in your life, change will once again be inevitable.”

Rachel O'Kelley, JAHHS Teacher of the Year for 2017/18, offered some advice to the students who were about take on the world by talking about Dr. Seuss' children's book, “Oh, the Places You'll Go.”

“There will be many bumps in the road ahead of you, but it is like Dr. Seuss says, 'You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own and you know what you know. And you are the guide who will decide where to go. And will you succeed? Yes. You will indeed. It is 98 and ¼ percent guaranteed. You will move mountains!' I am so proud of you!” she said.

After the fireworks, the “Pomp and Circumstance,” Aces seniors left the field as JAHHS alumni.

“It's taken me four years to get here. Four really hard years; I'm not going to lie but walking across that stage, hearing my named called, it was totally worth it,” said Savannah Webb, who will be attending East Carolina University in the fall.

While Hunter Kite was pursuing his JAHHS diploma, he also earned an Associate in Arts degree from College of The Albemarle.

“I'm just glad it is all over. It's been four years in the making and I'm so glad to see it happen. I'm excited to see what's next,” he said.

A member of the National Honor Society and aspiring to be a pastor, Tyler Vick looked at his diploma and thanked God for his grace.

“I am so grateful to be graduating,” he said.

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