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GRADUATION ‘21: ‘We will shape the world for generations to come’

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    The Jones County High School Class of 2021 endured a full school year under the COVID-19 pandemic to emerge as socially distanced graduates on Greyhound Field May 25. WENDY VAUGHN/Contributed
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    The Jones County High School graduates of 2021 throw their caps into the air after the ceremony. NATHAN CLARKE/Contributed
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    Valedictorian Daisy Daniels gives her speech to the graduating class of 2021 at the Jones County High School. NATHAN CLARKE/Contributed
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    The graduates line up and walk onto the stage to receive their diplomas from principal Lance Rackley. NATHAN CLARKE/Contributed

The Jones County High School class of 2021 took to the football field on May 25 for their graduation, making memories while receiving proud cheers from the crowd. With tears of joy and goodbye, the seniors moved into their future as their names were called and they left the field one last time.

Colin Hall, the president of the class of 2021, gave the inspirational speech. Hall said in ninth grade he told his classmates they were hope, history and Greyhounds. He said they are bringing hope into the future of the world, will continue to make history and will forever be Greyhounds.

“We are the future, and we will shape the world for generations to come,” he said. “It is our duty to fight for what is right. Right now, there is so much hatred in the world, which is unfortunate. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Salutiorian Kari Brawner said she wasn’t expecting an in-person graduation with an audience. She said even though 13 years has ended for all the graduates, it’s only the beginning for them, because they will be moving on to better things. She said all of their paths will be different.

“I always heard once you leave high school, it’s difficult to keep in touch with all of your friends, but I guess that’s a part of life no matter how sad it may be. The friends we have lost, gained and will gain in the future have shaped us over these years and guided us on paths that have pushed us to where we are, and will continue to shape us over the rest of our lives,” Brawner said.

Gabriella Reese, who gave one of the class orations, said there will be people in their lives who think differently. She said it’s important to keep an open mind as they move forward in life.

“For progress to happen, people need to be open to new ideas. If everyone thought the same way, imagine where the world would be today,” she said. “Perhaps mankind would have never reached the moon. And do you know how many people laughed at the Wright brothers for thinking that humans could fly? To change the world you have to be open to listening to othe people.”

The second graduate to give a class oration, Maggie Glover, said things are changing for the graduating class of 2021 and they should be used to change. She said each year has been harder than the last for the graduates.

“After five long months of summer, it was finally our senior year. Senior year has been completely different from every other year. We have spent this entire year in uncertainty. We missed out on a lot of stuff as a senior class, but finally after four long years we get to end it the way we deserve,” she said.

Valedictorian Daisy Daniels said she was honored to give her speech. She said the classroom is not the be all and end all in determining whether they would succeed or not. She said success isn’t measured by any one category.

“One way I define success is a person who expresses gratitude,” Daniels said. “They understand their success was achieved with the help of many others, so I want to take a moment to thank all the people who have helped me over the years to make it to this point.”

The valedictorian went on to thank the teachers, the counselors and her parents. She said successful people make mistakes, learn from them and adapt from them to persevere. She said bumps on the road make life interesting.

As the speeches ended JCHS Principal Lance Rackley and Jones County School Superintendent Charles Gibson congratulated the senior class. Gibson shook each graduate’s hand and Rackley presented them with their diploma.