Class of 2019 makes its mark at Statesville High
A total of 204 Statesville High School students graduated on Saturday morning inside the school’s gym.
BY KARISSA MILLER
A total of 204 Statesville High School seniors adorned in blue caps and gowns trickled into the gym Saturday to the familiar tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” for the school's 127th annual commencement ceremony.
Nearly 1,400 guests rose from the bleachers to congratulate the class of 2019 on their accomplishments. Dozens more watched remotely in the school auditorium.
Faced with a wet forecast, SHS officials decided to hold commencement exercises indoors.
The ceremony, which was the first graduation commencement under new principal Sheila Jenkins, opened at 8:30 a.m. As students made their way to their seats, cameras flashed and cheers from the audience flooded the gym.
Opening the ceremonies, the Statesville High Army Junior ROTC members presented the colors.
Senior class president Jeremiah Mott welcomed and addressed the audience, stating that “Statesville High School is a school with 127 years of traditions.”
Honor student speaker Makailah White began her speech by thanking the special community of teachers and staff as well as her family for their support.
She spoke about why she plans on attending a college four hours away instead of attending a local college.
“It’s important graduates for you to understand that the easiest route doesn’t always equal the best route,” White said. “If we wish to grow as individuals, we must step outside of our own personal comfort zones.”
“Discomfort equals growth,” she explained, reminding her classmates that “the hard work doesn’t end today. Today is where it begins."
Callie Henline, another honor speaker, explained why, at the age of 15, she chose to leave behind the familiar to attend Statesville High for its dance magnet program.
“My 15-year-old self didn’t take the time to overthink the decision, weigh the pros and cons or ask other for advice,” she explained.
However, as she has gotten older, she admits that she spends way too much time analyzing big decisions and questioning what’s best for her future.
“In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps,” Henline said, paraphrasing Proverbs 16:9 in the Bible during her speech.
“I believe I was placed at SHS for a reason, and it’s important to remember that God has a plan and a purpose for each of us," she said.
Henline said her decision to attend Statesville led to new found friendships and cherished memories.
In closing, she challenged her classmates to “make decisions driven by your passions.”
Jenkins, along with assistant principals Daniel Camp, Stephen Parker and Kathy Walker, presented the seniors with their diplomas.
Also attending graduation ceremonies were Iredell-Statesville Schools District’s Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Melanie Taylor and Board of Education member and former SHS principal Samuel Kennington.
“Just know you’re not alone” were the words that the small ensemble sang as they performed the song “Home” by Phillip Phillips, dedicating it to the class of 2019.
As of June 8, the Class of 2019 earned more than $3 million worth of scholarships.