Those were the words Sherman High School’s Class of 2013 president Taylor Hendricks said to her classmates as she and her fellow senior class officers performed the ceremonial “changing of the tassels” to signify they were official high school graduates.
Hundreds attended the Sherman Tide’s 85th Commencement Exercise Thursday evening inside the school’s gymnasium. The event was attended by the Boone County Board of Education and Boone County Schools officials as well.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant was the honored guest speaker.
“This is a day you will remember for the rest of your lives,” Tennant said. “I am truly honored to be here as you begin the next chapter of your life.”
Tennant challenged the students to never give up on their dreams and goals. She told them to remember their class motto, “We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
“You, 84 graduates, have enormous potential and are coming into the picture at a time I believe is very exciting, but also at the same time very challenging,” she said. “The new opportunities may be things we haven’t even thought about yet. It’s time to start demanding more and our future depends on it.”
Sherman High Principal Roy Todd Barnette also challenged the graduates.
“One, be the best mom and dad you can,” he said. “Your parents and grandparents are looking at you right now with so much love because they have invested everything in their hearts and minds to get you here.”
Barnette also challenged them to be the best citizen they can.
“This nation faces lots of problems, but it is still the greatest nation on earth,” he said. “I challenge you as adults to vote and be good citizens of this country.”
Sherman’s senior class vice president Tori May adlibbed the most popular speech of the night.
“I forgot my speech,” she said to a laughing crowd. “So I am going to wing it…I’m sorry.”
After humbly making fun of herself being selected “Best of Class” by WSAZ television and going to Charleston for the event, instead of Huntington where it was actually being conducted, she told her fellow classmates that she remembered two important things she wanted to tell them.
“I realized that in life you are going to make lots of mistakes, but it’s those mistakes that can sometimes lead you on the right path,” she explained. “Sometimes the word mistake is used as a synonym for the word failure, but often times it’s our mistakes that teach us the best things in life. So, mistakes are good sometimes because they can help you reach your full potential.”
May then told her classmates to find their passion in life.
“Don’t work for money,” she said. “Don’t work because you want a big house or to look good, work at what will make you happy. When you work at something you’re passionate about you will work hard and be successful. This will make the world a better place for all of us.”
Sherman’s Class of 2013 consisted of 84 graduates, of whom 13 will receive the state’s Promise Scholarship, five will join the military and five will attend college on athletic scholarships. Several students graduated with highest honors, high honors and with honors.