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‘Leave this world a little better place’

MHS awards 94 diplomas

The Middlesex High School Class of 2013 celebrate at Saturday’s graduation in the John S. Clements Memorial Gymnasium in Saluda. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

The 94 members of the Middlesex High School Class of 2013 assembled in the John S. Clements Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday, June 15, for the school’s 64th graduation ceremony.

In his commencement address, featured speaker Bradley Bess told the graduates to cherish memories of those with whom they have shared their lives. “Your classmates played a huge role in shaping the person you are today,” said Bess, a 2007 MHS graduate.

The graduates are fortunate to have lived in a community of people who “know and care about each other,” said Bess. “I promise you that as you get older, as some of you move away and go to bigger, busier places, you will realize that you’re lucky to have come from a place like this. Take with you this sense of camaraderie, this sense of community, and take it with you no matter where you go.”

Bess advised the graduates to keep the values that have been instilled in them. “Don’t ever let go of those values. No matter how many times this world seems like a horrible, nasty place, hold on to what you learned here in Middlesex. Hold on to that feeling of community, that desire to lift all boats, not just your own. Keep that sense of responsibility when you see someone in need, not because you owe them or anyone anything, but because it’s who you are. Take that with you out into this world and I guarantee, you can leave anywhere you go a little bit better than it was before you got there, which is something to take great pride in.”

Photos from this years graduation ceremony can be purchased. Have a look at what’s available here and email Tom Chillemi for more information.

Growing up in a small community provides a “comfort zone,” which some graduates will be leaving for the first time, said Bess. Adjusting may be a challenge. “Enjoy the struggle. My mom always told me when things got tough ‘what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.’ ”

Some new opportunities bring intimidating challenges, said Bess. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, learn from them. Challenge yourself and know that no matter how it goes down, you’re going to come out of the other side better.”

Bess told the graduates to “aim to be your best” no matter what they choose to do. “Find what it is, no matter how big or small, that you can do to leave this world a little better for your children. It may not seem huge at the time. It may not make you famous. It may not make you rich. But ladies and gentlemen, if it in any way leaves this world a better place, you have accomplished something that will live much longer than yourself. And that is all we, as human beings, can really hope to do.”

Cum laude graduates (GPA between 3.0-3.59) in the Middlesex High School Class of 2013 include, front from left, Jaqueline Sandate, Sierra Cannon, Amber Mauney, Shelby Rose, Emily Horton, Kabri Young, Christian Hensley and Breanna Tabor; second row, Kelly Revere, Brittany Mauney, Rachel Musick (magna cum laude), Shannon Bristow, Brooke Rowe, Kirsten Cole, Ellen Perry and Molly Perkins; third row, Andrew Dozier, Hunter Davis, Blake Damron, Jeremy Collier, John Purcell IV, Morgan Duke and Rachel Crews; back row, Thomas Major III, Russell Hall, Clayton Hogge, Joshua Raterman and Bryanna Fleming.
Summa cum laude graduates (GPA of 4.0 or better) in the Middlesex High School Class of 2013 include, from left, Allison Payne, Zachary Jones, Bianca Rios, Jacob Lawson, Lilly Crown, Cullen Johnson, Allison Reaves and Aaron Nazrini.
Magna cum laude graduates (GPA of between 3.6-3.99) in the Middlesex High School Class of 2013 include, from left, Rachel Musick, Levi Lott, Nila Robinson, Jack Bayard, Jordan Walton, Nathan Damron and Cristen Donor.

“Take advantage of every day”
Senior class president Lilly Crown told the audience that while graduation brings up memories of the past, it is really a beginning. “The memories and times that I have shared with each of you make me want to smile even in the darkest of moments, and I want for them to have the same effect on you,” she said.

The future is bright with waiting opportunities, said Crown. “I know we will be able to rise above living in the past. We will make dreams, and we will work every day toward accomplishing them. We will take advantage of every day we have so that when we meet again, we will have the most incredible stories and wonderful accomplishments to share with each other. Stories that top even the best memories of carpet talks, socials, Mr. Scanlan’s jokes, senior prom, and even this very graduation. We are a diverse and dynamic group with potential more vast than any of us can even understand. Congratulations my fellow graduates and good luck, even though I doubt any of you will need it.”

“Enjoy every moment”
MHS principal Jeannie Duke strongly urged the graduates to occasionally put down their electronic devices and “enjoy the moment.”

Duke, who noted she was giving them her last quote of the day, said, “I want you to remember to come from behind the screen and live. It does worry me that while everyone is so busy being ‘connected’ we’re becoming disconnected with not only the people around us, but with life in general.”

Duke implored the graduates to “stay connected with life. Take time to smell the salt air, take time to laugh, take time to truly enjoy being with the people you’re with and looking into their eyes, take time to listen and not just hear what others are saying, take time to take a picture in your mind and remember everything that’s happening around you to enjoy the moment.”

Some people rarely disconnect from their electronic devices unless they are required to, Duke added. “Yes, class of 2013, I love you enough to tell you to stop and enjoy the moment. Life is short. Don’t wish you had lived . . . live! Snap pictures in your mind and remember what you’re feeling right at that moment. That’s what life is about. Don’t miss life, embrace it. If you snap a picture of it, great, but don’t be so caught up in taking pictures for your backgrounds that you actually forget what the moment was about to begin with. Enjoy your lives and enjoy every moment!”

The MHS Choir sang “Over the Rainbow.” The MHS Chamber Ensemble performed “Fanfare and Processional” and the recessional music, “Marching Song.”

Nila Robinson sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Lilly Crown and Jacob Lawson received the “Honor Award.”

Christian Hensley and Clayton Hogge were recipients of the “Citizenship Award.”

Three students who attended “Bridging Communities,” the career technical education school in New Kent, were recognized. They include Jimmy Brown, Kirsten Campbell and Levi Short.

Also recognized were Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School students, who took math and science classes at Rappahannock Community College in Glenns and earned college credit for those classes. Wearing the blue and green honor cords representing their dedication and hard work over the last three years were Morgan Duke, Cullen Johnson, Zack Jones, Levi Lott and Allison Reaves.

The senior class gave a standing ovation to Hugh Scanlan, who is retiring after 40 years of teaching English at MHS. Also recognized were retiring teachers Lynn Stahling and Doris Paige, each of whom have taught more than 30 years.

Take a look at this graduation slideshow.

Class of 2013
The MHS Class of 2013 includes: Heather Ann Elizabeth Ashe, Manuel Balderas Jr., Timothy Ray Balderson Jr., Shannon Marie Batley, Jack Bayard, Zachary McComas Belcher, Shannon Nicole Bristow, James Henry Brown, Christopher Sheron Burse, Nicholas Royce Burton, Brenda-Ann Kiersten Campbell, Sierra Danielle Cannon, Chelsia Leigh Chandler, Kaylee Nicole Cockrell, Kirstin Leigh Cole, Jeremy Owen Collier, Rachel Alexandra Crews, Lilly Kathleen Crown, Blake Cullen Damron, Nathan Clay Damron, Carey Cierra Darnell, Hunter Douglas Davis, Anthony Daniel Demaurez, William Gray Dickerson Jr., Walter Jerome Diggs Jr., Cristen Elizabeth Donor, Andrew Vail Dozier, Morgan Paige Duke, Bryanna Arlene Fleming, Gineshia Trachel Gardner, Anthony Malik Green, Robert Matthew Green, Bryant Sanchez Gresham, Breanna Gail Haley, Russell Lee Hall, Shawna Nicole Hallinger, Pamela Christian Hensley, Draven Kennedy Hicks, Justice Lamar Hill, Clayton Nathaniel Hogge, Bryan Lester Holman, Samantha Rae Holmes, Emily Ann Horton, Austin Wayne Hudgins, Alexis Morgan Jackson, Daniel Cullen Johnson, James Zachary Jones, McConnell Austin Kennard, Damian Allen Key, Toni Nicole Kimble, Jacob Christopher Lawson, Sammuel Barron Lawson, Ryheem Lamar Lockley, Bradford Levon Lott, Thomas Malcolm Major III, Peter Douglas Mantell III, Victoria Lynn Marshall, Richard Martin Matte, Amber Dawn Mauney, Brittany Danielle Mauney, Timothy Ryan McQuay, Rachel Ann Musick, Aason Shiva Nazrini, Joseph Matthew Nordan, Zachary Bryce O’Bryan, Ka’Nisha Artice Parrish, Allison Hope Payne, Molly Ann Perkins, Ellen Erica Perry, John Richard Purcell IV, Joshua Paul Raterman, Allison Beverly Reaves, Kelly Elizabeth Revere, Bianca Edith Rios, Nila Shamara Robinson, Shelby Laura Rose, Brooke Nicole Rowe, Vladimir Ivan Rowe, Jacqueline Joanna Sandate, Danielle Whitney-Ski Santos, Levi Zackery Short, Haley Virginia Smallwood, Tiffany Gail Sperlein, Terri Lynn St. John, Breanna Marie Tabor, Monica Lynn Thomas, Keeley Brooke Nelson Vollmer, Taylor DuFief Walden, Jordan Miles Walton, Thomas Kelly Ward, Bradley Carlton Wingfield and Kabri Shane’ Young.

posted 06.19.2013

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