479 grads say goodbye to GHS, sort of

by Kim Robins - Posted on Jun 15, 2011 - 03:30 PM

Photo: There were plenty of smiles Saturday as the GHS Class of 2011 gathered to receive their diplomas at William and Mary Hall in Williamsburg. Here, graduates Jason Leigh, Brenden Lenhardt, Gregory Leonard, Jessica Leone, Megan Lewis and Priscilla Johnson entered the arena. Photo by Kim Robins.

There were plenty of smiles Saturday as the GHS Class of 2011 gathered to receive their diplomas at William and Mary Hall in Williamsburg. Here, graduates Jason Leigh, Brenden Lenhardt, Gregory Leonard, Jessica Leone, Megan Lewis and Priscilla Johnson entered the arena. Photo by Kim Robins.

Photo: Graduates Victoria Bridgeman, James Bridgeman and Jessica Chamberlain talked while awaiting the commencement start. Photo by Kim Robins.

Graduates Victoria Bridgeman, James Bridgeman and Jessica Chamberlain talked while awaiting the commencement start. Photo by Kim Robins.

Gloucester High School awarded diplomas to 479 students Saturday during commencement ceremonies that stretched from 10 a.m. to almost 1 p.m. at William and Mary Hall in Williamsburg.

Remembering friends and family you care about was a common theme expressed by the commencement speakers. "Remember to thank friends, teachers and family that have given us that extra encouragement when we needed it most," said class vice president Ashley Worrell.

Valedictorian Jessica Edington, who said she does not like goodbyes, listed 10 reasons why the graduates could not really say goodbye. Among them, the grads can always come back and visit GHS. And, Edington noted, she wasn’t really going anywhere, because she will be attending William and Mary. Another reason she cited, "you will see your friends again. That’s what Facebook and Walmart are for."

"This is not an end to learning. School does not end today," Edington continued. "This is a celebration of your accomplishments. Remember to celebrate. Whatever you do, don’t cry."

After thanking her parents for the sacrifices they made for her, salutatorian Morgan Sadler said "past success does not guarantee future success. Many times we learn the most from our mistakes." Sadler also shared a quote heard often from GHS instructor Ron Flowe, which he calls words of wisdom from his mother-in-law. "I want your best, and a little bit more,’" Sadler said.

"Continue to let your parents know you love them," urged GHS principal Tony Beverage, even though it may not be the popular thing to do. Beverage also told the grads they were ready for the next steps they would take, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Class of 2011, you have been adequately prepared for this day."