South Iredell grads urged to find inner courage and 'roar'
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BY DEBBIE PAGE
The 53rd class of seniors graduated from South Iredell High School on a gray but dry Saturday morning. Principal Tim Ivey greeted the graduates, telling them, “I am very, very proud of you. I am excited to see what you will do with your futures.”
Ivey pointed out that graduation really was not an ending. “It is the beginning of a new page in a chapter of your lives.”
After receiving excellent preparation at SIHS, he said, “It’s time for you to foster your own legacy.”
Ivey lauded the students’ service, innovation, risk-taking, integrity, and success as they seek out new challenges. He asked them to commit to being risk-takers, to maintaining high ethical standards, to open their eyes to the needs of others, and to serve others.
“Find your inner courage, and when you do, let it roar, Vikings!”
Senior Class Co-President Addison LaBelle explained that the seniors each wore blue and white ribbons to honor the memory “of those who could not be with us today. We will not forget the memories and ties that we had with Cameron (Mousaw), Mr. (John) Jolly, and Matthew (Bailey) as our memories of them will be forever with us.”
LaBelle noted that each of the graduates has overcome difficulties so they could walk proudly across the stage to receive their diplomas. She reflected over their challenges, good times, and growth over their four years at South.
“We will all go many different directions as we leave the parking lot for the last time today, but we will go knowing these past four years will aid us in the struggles ahead.”
“Regardless of where you are going, always do what makes you happy.” She urged to them to pursue their chosen paths with passion.
LaBelle noted a quote in their yearbook from Troutman Mayor Teross Young about the importance of being a lifelong learner. “Keep an open mind and be that life-long learner and grow from your failures. Always remember, you define your own success.”
“Class of 2019, the world is ours -- let’s go and get it!”
Co-President Thomas Meyer applauded seniors’ 85,000 service hours to the school and community. He noted that this year they have learned about love and loss as well as growth, change, and opportunity.
Meyer asked students to “move forward. Stay focused and try to reach your goals, and remember when times are tough, cherish those moments when you are smiling. Even in struggle, part of the joy is overcoming it.”
“Our watch here at South is ending, but our new watch is just beginning.”
Guest speaker Sherry Cash, a 1980 SIHS grad and retired veteran educator with Iredell-Statesville Schools, told seniors to be prepared for change and the challenges of “adulting.”
Cash urged seniors to not let their fears limit their choices and embrace life to its fullest. She also reminded them to be aware of the consequences as they act in their personal and professional lives. “Make it a good day or not -- the choice is yours.”
She also pointed out the importance of personal connections and teamwork throughout her life and career, which helped her grow and learn as a person through generations of relationships. “To climb the ladder of success, we need others to help us along the way.”
“Don’t burn bridges -- you never know when your paths will cross again.”
Cash also stressed the importance of kindness and good manners in their daily interactions. “Kindness is not weakness, and paying it forward takes little effort and makes another person’s day. Find joy in making life better for others.”
Each day is a possibility to reinvent oneself, added Cash. “Love what you do. The only true competition is to continue to improve yourself personally and professionally each and every day. Enjoy what life has to offer.”
Ashlyn Breuer, Trinity Claxton, Carolina Cook, Skylar Foster, Candice Killian, and Shaleigh Short performed the seniors’ graduation song choice, “You Will Be found” from the film “Dear Evan Foster.”
A memorial guard from South’s MJROTC also laid memorial flowers to “represent the loss of school friends and family members who did not finish the journey with us to this special day in our lives,” said Ivey. The blue flowers represent family, the yellow hope, and the white memories.
An emotional Ivey then presented Cameron Mousaw’s diploma to his sister Alexandria and brother Jacob, accompanied by their father.
After presentation of diplomas, the grads tossed their caps and cheered, exiting to celebrate with family and friends.