By Lyndsie Ferrell
DEL NORTE— The Del Norte High School Field House was packed to the brim with doting family and friends of this year’s graduates on Friday, May 25. The room was decorated with the school’s colors of orange and black, showcasing the pride of being a Del Norte Tiger. Twenty students were preparing to walk down the aisle for the last time and be sent off to begin their new lives in various places around the US.
Principal Russell Randolph gave an opening speech and congratulated the 2018 graduates for their success and achievements. He then introduced this year’s salutatorian, AneMarie Thacker, who began her speech with a quote from A Tale of Two Cities. “There are always complicated questions with easy answers and I wish you all the best of luck in the future. We could not have done this without the teachers here at the school and the parents that stood behind us. We may not have always gotten along, but I hope that you continue to succeed. Don’t let people judge you and always be who you are.”
Next, Thacker, accompanied by two other seniors Emily Patton and Khona Shearin performed a song titled Never Grow up while Thacker gracefully played an acoustic guitar. The performance was a hit, while seniors cheered their fellow classmates on. Parents and teachers could be seen throughout the audience becoming emotional over the connotation of the lyrics that fit perfectly with the ceremony about to take place.
After the performance, Valedictorian Ila Jolly took to the stage and addressed her fellow seniors with a speech that spoke about her time as an exchange student in Portugal. She started her address with a few lines in the native tongue, about how everyone she met while visiting the country taught her something new and how important it was to love, laugh and build a bridge between hearts. “No matter where we go in life, when we build a bridge between hearts, we will always be together.”
“The connections we have made will last a lifetime and now it is time to build new bridges with other people,” said Jolly. She continued by thanking all of the teachers that helped the class of 2018 reach graduation and for putting up with all of the changes life can bring. “They were always there for us. They stuck with us through thick and thin, and I want to thank them for putting up with us. The struggle to get here was real, but we did it. Make sure your life has meaning. Be the change, we are the future.”
The evening was full of emotion for all who attended, as students took a moment to thank their family and friends with flowers, followed by student slideshows depicting their growth through the years. Congratulations, class of 2018!